Scammers Targeting Craigslist Users
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
Craigslist scams are in full force. Fox news reports scams targeting online car buyers. The crooks spend about a hundred dollars on a junk car and get a title. Then they steal a similar car and advertise it for sale on Craigslist. This is a form of auto identity theft too. They then take the VIN plate or vehicle identification number plate out of the junk car and put it inside the stolen car.
Meanwhile Fox News also reports adoptive parents are being scammed on Craigslist . A mother from Massachusetts was horrified when she saw an ad on Craigslist of her 7-month-old son up for adoption! Reports said that someone alerted the mother to her son’s photo on Craigslist.
The baby involved in this online adoption scam is named Jake. The ad, which involved his photo, said: “A CUTE BABY BOY READY FOR ADOPTION. HE IS VERY HEALTHY”. When the mother responded to the ad, she got a response saying her son was in an orphanage.
The mother said the photo was taken from her family’s blog. Ive said in the past when posting to social media sites don’t give away specifics. Don’t post your address, date of birth, kids’ names, pets’ names, phone numbers, or any account numbers or financial information of any kind. You really shouldn’t even post childrens’ photos online.
The mother said her son wasn’t being harmed, but felt he was violated. She alerted the FBI and the scammer had also been removed on Yahoo.
I spoke with Jeffrey A. Kasky, Esq., renowned adoption expert from OneWorldAdoption.com. He said “Families who hope to adopt a child are frequently medically unable to have children for themselves. As such, they look at adoption opportunities from an emotional rather than a logical perspective, and are therefore more vulnerable to scams. What would tug at your heartstrings more than thinking that this beautiful little boy was stuck in an orphanage halfway around the world? “All you have to do is wire us $300 now, then more and more and more, and he can be yours…….”
Scammers are lower than that black smelly stuff in a sewer.
No matter what you are selling or buying you must know who you are dealing with on Craigslist. When we were young, our parents told us not to talk to strangers. Strangers are not yet part of our trusted circle. So don’t trust them! There’s no benefit to paranoia, but being a little guarded can prevent you from stumbling into a vulnerable situation. Since predators use online classifieds to lure unsuspecting victims, you should find out as much as possible about strangers who contact you, or when you contact them. Use Google or iSearch.com to investigate names and email addresses and phone numbers.
Whenever possible, deal locally. People who cannot meet you in your town are more likely to be scammers. And even when you do meet in person, you should be wary.
Never engage in online transactions involving credit cards, cashier’s checks, money orders, personal checks, Western Union, MoneyGram or cash, that require you to send money to a stranger in response to money they have sent you. This is an advance fee scam.
I- ID pre meeting. Get their name and cell phone number so you can use free iSearch.com and look for their name in social networks. If you see anything suspicious then cancel or check further Intelius.com
N- Never meet in private. Meet at a public location that involves lots of other people. The more eyeballs the better.
T- Trust your gut, and don’t discount any troubling feelings you might have about your meeting. If anything seems wrong, then it IS wrong. Cancel if necessary.
E- Enlist a friend Whenever possible, bring along a someone. There is strength in numbers. Predators thrive on isolation. By paring up, you reduce the chances of being attacked.
L- Look street smart. Don’t wear expensive jewelry nor provocative clothes. Scarves and loose fitting clothing give attackers something to grab. Wear shoes you can run and kick in
I- Intelius can help Using a product like Intelius.com allows you to do a criminal check before meeting.
U Unaware creates risk. Unfortunately there is risk in meeting someone you don’t know. Being guarded can keep you from getting into a vulnerable situation.
S- Stay in communication Make it known to your spouse or a friend where you are going and when you will be back. Have them on your cell phone while you are meeting.
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing all kinds of scams on TBS Movie and a Makeover