Craigslist and Caveat Emptor

By Brian P. Battaglia, Esq. of Brian Battaglia Law

Consumers should be very careful when considering the purchase of items, including tickets from online sites such as Backpage or Craigslist.  There have been many reported stories in the press concerning incidents involving scammers who take advantage of people who want to make a purchase after seeing an ad on such sites. For example, news reports of these scams include car sales gone bad, apartments or homes for rent or sale that are scams and ticket sale scams.  In order to protect yourself from online scammers, consumers should take precautions that include the following common sense considerations:

  1. Don’t provide personal information such as social security numbers or other data. This could lead to your identity being stolen.
  2. Don’t just send money to an account, contact the person by phone and ask questions to see if you can confirm the validity and bona fides of the person and the item(s) being sold.
  3. Try to avoid meeting, but if you decide that you must do so, please note that some Law Enforcement agencies have notified the public that the meetings can take place at the law enforcement agencies property. Also, public places where there are people may be an alternative, but remember you should never meet the seller or buyer alone! There are may stories in the news where buyers were robbed or worse. Also, there have been reports were the buyer was the scammer or criminal that ended up robbing the seller!
  4. Also, do not fall for the old trick that you will need to “hurry up” to purchase the item because the seller has many other people showing an interest in the item. This could be a “red flag” and you may want to do more investigating!
  5. Many fraud prevention sites, and Craigslist as well advise that you should never wire or send money via a Moneygram, etc.
  6. Consider using sites such as Paypal as a way to carry out transactions.
  7. Remember, “Caveat Emptor” or “Buyer Beware” and use common sense at all times.

Always be careful when dealing with anyone online or through an online ad. No item is worth risking your money or safety.

Brian Battaglia Law has handled many complex fraud cases and is available to assist you and answer your questions concerning cases involving fraud. You may reach Brian Battaglia Law at 727-327-4222.

2429 Central Avenue, Suite 211, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

PLEASE NOTE: This article does not constitute the giving of legal advice but is for educational purposes only. A lawyer should be consulted for your specific legal problem or issue.