Do scammers respond on Craigslist?

I just advertised a boat on CL. My first response was from someone with an Indian name. I’m sure there are paddlers with Indian names, but one question was do I have PayPal.
My scam alert went off.
I responded NO and haven’t heard anything else.

I have encountered scammers. A fairly typical scenario:

  • the scammer cannot come to see your item (not currently in area etc.)
  • but has a non-existent agent who will supposedly pick the product up
  • may ask some reassuring questions about your product
  • will arrange to pay through pay pal, western union, certified check etc.
  • will overpay, but before you see his/her cash
  • will need to be reimbursed for the overpaid difference e.g. via pay pal
  • will get your cash, but you’ll never see his/hers

I am sure there are variations. Like you I have failed to cooperate.

I’ve seen them all but not for awhile. The PayPal question was one I didn’t remember.

There are a variety of scams on Craigs List, e-bay too. The CL search engines such as Tempest allow easy searches across the entire US, so sometimes you will get an out-of-state inquiry, some legit and some not. But I use Tempest too, and if I see something I want, I will offer to pay shipping and pay with PayPal, or offer a deposit with the rest in cash at pick-up (just to make sure its there when I come to get it!). Pay Pal is a pretty sure thing, hard to incorporate as part of a scam. If I pay a CL seller with Paypal, the risk is on me, because I don’t have the associated e-bay money-back promise. I wouldn’t immediately dismiss a buyer just because he wants to use Paypal (unless of course they are asking for money from YOU), especially if it is a really unique boat you are selling; sometimes local interest just isn’t there.

Indians paddle canoes not kayaks. No offense meant.

I recently had same experience selling a nice Bell.

Looks nice. Price is fine. Will send you a certified check. Will send someone to pick up. Deaf so only able to text. Live in Texas (far far away). Texted follow up questions from 3 different phone numbers before giving up.


I haven’t heard back so we’ll see.

Friend recently had same experience selling an appliance on CList. Buyer within minutes of posting; sending certified check for more than amount; was to give excess cash to “agent” who would pick up item. Smelled like a scam and was.

In a related matter, how do people sell here? I have a couple of items of gear I’d like to list, but have no idea of the protocol, especially with an out of area sale. Does a seller usually require a money order or certified check? Have never sold anything online and have no idea what I should be doing.

The rule of thumb is cash only, and pick up the boat. The person who bought the last one I sold drove here (SC) from Philly , spent the night somewhere, showed up at 8am, inspected the boat, handed me the cash and headed out as soon as we had it strapped down
It was not an inexpensive boat.

I’ve paid for out of town Craigslist purchases with PayPal a few times.

2 common scam tip-offs are asking seller to respond back through address they provide because they are at work, flip phone does not work, etc. Other is referring to kayak, canoe as “the item” and agreeing to buy at asking price without asking any pertinent questions. I sell plenty on CL using good pictures, clear description, not shipping and accepting cash at pick-up. And negotiating only in person and not via text. I have quit responding to many inquiries or simply refer them back to the ad to see what color the yellow kayak is.

You will not see these types of scams sending you money through Western Union or PayPal, as those are scam-proof. PayPal protects you as a buyer, but Western Union does not, so don’t use it to send anyone money unless you know them. Cashiers checks are easily forged, so do not accept them unless they’re drawn on a local bank where you can go and verify the authenticity of the check.

If you pay for an item using PayPal don’t use the friends and family option, has less fees but doesn’t offer protection

@Rookie said:
"Friend recently had same experience selling an appliance on CList. Buyer within minutes of posting; sending certified check for more than amount; was to give excess cash to “agent” who would pick up item. "

If the buyer has an agent, the agent can bring the cash. Money (cash) talks BS walks.

What about mailable items offered on the classifieds here, where the prospective purchaser lives in another state or city?

I have sold small and ship-able stuff from here. I have taken personal check with no issues and PayPal for payment. Boats are in person and for cash.

Google “Craigslist Paypal scam.” I posted a vehicle for sale on Craigslist, and within an hour I got an e-mail from a guy who was willing to pay my full asking price for the vehicle, but couldn’t come inspect it because he was in the military in a remote posting, and he wanted to pay via Paypal, and if I didn’t have a Paypal account he’d tell me how to set one up, etc. etc. etc. It was like he had Googled “Craigslist Paypal scam” and thought “Hey, I can do that!” I blew him off, and ended up selling the vehicle within a couple of days to a local buyer who inspected the vehicle and had me come to his bank, where a loan officer handed me a check.

The bottom line on Craigslist is, only do cash and carry transactions with people you can meet face to face.

When I buy a boat, I pay with cash.
When I sell a boat, buyer pays in cash.
No checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, credit cards, Monopoly money, or Paypal.

If you agree on a price, then show up and want to bargain some more; you’ll soon be standing there, talking to yourself. I don’t need the money, and don’t let people waste my time.

Never been scammed yet.

It’s a shame that the perceptions of the various methods of payment are so misunderstood. It isn’t the method of payment that makes the scammer, its the criminal intention. I had a friend once that parted with a great boat, only to be left standing with a handful of exceptional but counterfeit $100 bills. Not to mention the folks you hear about in the news that show up to buy something with cash only to be robbed. Cash doesn’t make you immune from scammers, only common sense and diligence.

I have bought and sold a dozen or more kayaks via CL and in only one case did I get a scammer as described above.
All others were cash-in-hand. If I cannot hand over the cash, I cannot afford the boat. If they cannot do the same, I ask them to go to the bank and will happily tell them the nearest cash-machine. Even if my bank swears that the check I am accepting is valid and good and all… if a year later they find it was counterfit, “I” am liable for the amount on the check and any collection fees. So cash only either way!

BUT, I have never cheated or been cheated, though in one recent boat, the low price made me wonder if it was hot. I never found any ‘lost kayak’ ad and a trip down the Colorado in a windy-day showed me why it was so cheap… the rear hatch leaked… a lot!!! I had to remove, clean and reseat the hatch set to solve the problem.