The holidays are upon us and many of us are looking to make a few extra bucks to have for the holidays. But it’s tough to locate a job that you can do without interfering with your steady, full-time job. So, you turn to Craigslist. Now, I’m not saying that Craigslist is full of scammers but the odds are better than even that if the scammers are out there you will find them on Craigslist. You can find legitimate positions that do pay you but you have to be on the lookout for the barracudas. I came across a couple of them myself. Most times when they reply and it comes off as a scam I just trash the e-mail. I don’t see any point in reporting anything to Craigslist because their management has a hands-off approach whenit comes to their website. They prefer to pass all of that responsibility onto their User Community, which each user has their own personal agenda/bias when it comes to policing Craigslist. They receive no training or instructions and their attitude is that they are God-like and beyond reproach. You would need to threaten legal action in order for Craigslist management to get involved, as did a few local law enforcement agencies in the country when they wanted Craigslist to take a more active approach to monitor pedophile activity/ads on Craigslist. But that a topic for another time, I digress.
I came across 2 ads that, on the surface, seemed to be legit.
- The ad stated that they had 2 positions open to help with shipping and receiving activity. Hmm, why would scammers limit the number of people they are looking for? Again, the ad reads like the work would be local. Yes, it is local…from your home. When you reply asking for more details you get an e-mail telling you how their business has grown and that they need help in handling their customers’ orders. That the job entails receiving packages, combining them by final destination, shipping them, collecting payments and then forward the net amount (net amount being the full payment less your “commission”) to an address that they will give you. And guess how the payments are to be made? Yep, wire transfer. The one things that is a sure sign of a scam/con…wire transfer. They will always give you reasons why they cannot collect payments directly – payment gateways have not been set up in their country, there is restrictive limit in regards to payments through Internet payment companies (i.e.PayPal). And payments via wire transfer are ALWAYS a RED FLAG.
- The second one I came across was another one that started out as a legitimate position and had all indications that it was local. The position was a warehouse loader/unloader. The ad made it sound as if the person offering the position needed someone to be available to be at the warehouse for cases where the hirer was not available and was required to be elsewhere. Well, within about 4 e-mail exchanges the position went from a warehouse loader/unloader, to personal assistant/warehouse manager (that sounded like you were to represent the hirer when he wasn’t there and to run some errands for them), to finally being a money forwarder. The last e-mail I received from this scammer detailed how he would send me a check for $1880, that I would deduct $400 plus $50 bonus and take the balance it and wire (there’s that wire transfer again) it to an name and location he gave me. Well, I did receive a USPS Express Mail envelope with a check for $1880 in it. The only problem is that he (BTW, his name is John Rush and uses the e-mail address email@example.com) made 2 mistakes, at least, but 2 nonetheless:
- He wasn’t dealing with a brain-dead person. Wire transfers are ALWAYS a red flag.
- He used the United States Postal Service to deliver his check (which was probably not legitimate).
The check and all relevant information is now in the hands of the local police department.
I can’t stress this enough, Not all ads on Craigslist are scams but you need to know what to look for regarding red flags. Proceed cautiously in dealing when dealing with anyone placing ads there. If you’re looking for extra income and they are not willing to give you a specific location and name of the business or contact phone number, these are major reasons to stop and rethink the whole situation. And if there is any wire transfers pertaining to payment involved…definitely a scam.
But always be on the lookout for scams, especially Work-At-Home Scams.