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Don't fall for the "free" puppy on Craigslist

Posted by: Alejandra Matos under Scams Updated: November 18, 2013 - 2:48 PM

Don’t be fooled by ads that sounds too good to be true on sites like Craigslist or Ebay, said Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office in her monthly consumer warning.

Personally, I love Craigslist. Every apartment I have lived in was found on Craigslist, and I bought a pretty cheap Nintendo DS on the site about a month ago.

But I also almost feel for a few scams. About a year ago, I really wanted a Maltese puppy and a woman on Craigslist claimed she was giving one away because she was moving, and her new landlord did not allow pets. All she asked was that I pay the cost of shipping the dog from California to my home in Texas.

She asked that I wire the money to her, and of course, that’s when I grew suspicious, especially since the money was headed to a country in Africa. Thankfully, that’s where our “business” ended.

Swanson warned that is one of the most common ways people get scammed on sites like Craigslist.

“Citizens who are asked to wire or otherwise submit payment to a party in another country who they do not know should exercise great caution, as this is a primary red flag for potential Internet classified scam,” Swanson said in her warning.

Other red flags, according to Swanson:

  • People who want to pay more than you are asking or who want to sell an item at a really low price.
  • Cashier's checks, which can be used to pay you, are not the same as cash. “Counterfeit checks can look very authentic," Swanson said.
  • Beware of any links that are sent to you that appear to be an internet payment service, such as PayPal.

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