Craigslist email scams come in many shapes and forms, but in general, a Craigslist email scammer is known to do at least one of the following things:
● Ask for your real email address for any reason at all.
● Insist on communicating by email only (using either your Craigslist email or your real email).
● Send you fake purchase protection emails that appear to be from Craigslist itself.
Asking for your real email address
Scammers might ask you for your real email address for any of the following reasons:
The scammer claims they want to send payment via PayPal. Scammers posing as buyers might try to talk you into accepting online payments, such as those via PayPal.
Once you give your PayPal email address to the scammer, however, they can easily send you a fake PayPal confirmation email to make you think that they paid when they really didn’t.
The scammer claims they use a third-party to securely handle the payment. Similar to the PayPal scenario above, a scammer (posing as either a buyer or a seller) might ask for your real address so that they can send a fake email that appears to come from an official third party.
These types of emails typically are cleverly designed to look like they offer a guarantee on your transaction, certify the seller, or inform you that the payment will be securely handled by the third party.
The scammer intends to send you multiple scam and spam messages. A scammer who asks for your real email address might be creating a list of victims they’re targeting to hack their personal information.
They could be planning to send you phishing scams, money or lottery scams, survey scams or even social network scams.
Insisting on communicating entirely by email
Scammers might insist on talking exclusively by email for any of the following reasons:
The scammer can’t speak to you by phone or meet up in person. Many Craigslist scammers operate overseas and don’t speak English as their first language, which is why they prefer to do everything via email. If they’re posing as a seller, they almost definitely don’t have the item you’re trying to buy and are just trying to get your money.
The scammer is following a script and has an elaborate personal story to share. Scammers use scripts so that they can scam multiple people. If they’re posing as a buyer, they might refer to “the item” instead of saying what the item actually is.
Since English is typically not most scammers’ first language and they operate around the world, it’s very common for them to misspell words or use improper grammar. And finally, to back up why they can’t meet up or need payment immediately, they’ll describe in detail all the problems they’re currently facing/have faced in order to get you to sympathize with them.
The scammer is looking to pressure you to make a payment, or wants to send a cashier’s check. Using their elaborate story, the scammer who’s posing as a seller might ask you to make a deposit via a third party such as PayPal, Western Union, MoneyGram, an escrow service, or something else.
They might even convince you to make multiple payments over a period of time, looking to extract as much money from you as possible before you realize you’re not getting what you’re paying for.
On the other hand, the scammer who’s posing as a buyer might offer to send a cashier’s check, which will likely be discovered as fraudulent days or weeks later.
Beware of anyone who tells you they’re in the military. This is a strong sign of a scam.
Sending fake purchase protection emails
Scammers have been known to send protection plan emails that appear to be from Craigslist. Of course, Craigslist doesn’t back any transactions that occur through its site, so any emails you receive claiming to verify or protect your purchases via Craigslist are completely fake.
The most important thing you can do to avoid getting involved in a Craigslist email scam is to never give away your real email address to anyone you’re speaking to from Craigslist.