Craigslist Scam

The scam: There’s nothing better than hitting the open road on a beautiful motorcycle, unless it’s on a hot ride that you snagged at a bargain price. That was the offer facing Jim, a local reader of We’ve Got Your Back. Being a smart guy, Jim dug into the details and sniffed out a scam.

How it works: Jim cruised onto Craigslist, the free online classified ad site, and came across an offer for a lightly used Harley Davidson for less than $3,000. The alleged seller claimed to be a cruise ship worker who would naturally be out of town frequently. Jim writes that he saw ”red flags” in her e-mail, including the sales price, which seemed to be $7,000 to $10,000 too low. He also was concerned about the seller’s location in Florida and her willingness to ship the bike at no charge, when it would cost hundreds of dollars. Further, Jim was concerned about not being able to buy the bike with cash, as he had suggested.

What to do: Easy online research would show you that two people reported being ripped off by this same scam with exactly the same wording, except that the bike was with a shipping company in Stockton, Calif. Jim said he soon saw another posting on Craigslist by yet another victim. Use your common sense, he advises. If you see a bike that should go for three to four times the selling price, something is wrong. Use only secure methods to make online transactions, such as PayPal.

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