Craigslist fraud continues to plague online buyers and law enforcement in the Phoenix area, according to local authorities.
Crime might not be the first thing that comes to mind when pulling up Craigslist on the computer.
Josh Burton, an ASU student, fell victim to Craigslist fraud when he tried selling bedroom furniture three weeks ago.
Within 20 minutes of posting the ad on Craigslist, Burton received about a dozen texts from numbers that he later found out were fraudulent.
The scammers insisted that Burton send over his PayPal information and promised that they would pay for the shipping cost of the furniture.
The following morning Burton checked his account to find out that the scammers did not pay for the shipping cost and stole money from his account.
“It was embarrassing, because I told all my family ‘I’m selling all this stuff, Craigslist is awesome!'” Barton said. “Then I was like ‘I lost a lot of money, guys.’”
Officer James Holmes with the Phoenix Police Department said the department limited with what it can do when a consumer falls victim to this type of fraud.
“It’s a gamble, and it’s very hard for us to track that, resources are just too thin,” Holmes said. “Unless we have someone where there are multiple victims, then we have an opportunity to track a person down if we can.”
Phoenix police urges consumers to make deals locally, but to do so in numbers. Phoenix police stresses the importance of meeting in a public place and with at least one other person present.
“It’s incredibly dangerous, again you don’t know who you’re talking to, you don’t know who you’re meeting” Holmes said.
Craigslist didn’t respond to requests for comment. But, the following phrase: “Avoid scams, deal locally, beware of wiring (E.G. Western Union), cashier checks, money orders, shipping,” is explicitly stated at the bottom of its webpage.
The website also had a page dedicated to safety tips to assist consumers with fraud recognition.