How To Avoid Scams On Craigslist If You’re A Seller

Craigslist Scam EmailSelling on Craigslist has taught me one thing:

There’s lots of scammers out there.

I haven’t fallen for any scams while selling yet, and I think it’s because I stick to a couple pretty solid rules:

  • Only sell locally, don’t mail anything unless you can be absolutely sure that you absolutely know and trust the buyer personally.
  • When selling, make the buyer meet you and pay in cash.
  • Meet in a public place that you as the seller dictates – do not meet at your home.
  • Don’t accept any form of payment except for cash. This is debatable, but sticking to my guns on this has helped me a lot.
  • If a buyer won’t talk to you on the phone, that is pretty suspicious. For that reason, it can help to only post your phone number on listings rather than an email address.

Also, if you post anything for sale on Craigslist, you’ll probably get one or more of these:

Thanks you for the response according to the description,am okay with
the price and the condition pasted on cl. I am ready to make instant
purchase.My mode of payment would be in CERTIFIED CHECK and i will
arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check, because that
is the only inconvenient means for me and due to my work frame i can
not be able to get there and i promise everything will go smoothly.I
really wish to be there to check out the item but i don’t have chance
cause am very busy person (US MARINE). Concerning the pick up, i will
arrange for it after you receive the payment and it clears… Pls get
back to me with below info so that i can proceed with the payment
immediately if you are selling to me.
Full Name:
Address: Not P.O.BOX
State:Postal Code:
Total amount for the item
Phone Number: That i can send text
And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
and i will let you know when its mailed out. Thanks and i hope we
handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you. i will add
an additional $50 so that you can hold it for me till the check reach
Best Regards

This was sent from some guy claiming to be named Micheal Gonzalez with an email address of

I get one or more of these for nearly anything I post on Craiglist for sale that is worth over $100.

When I first got messages like that, I would reply with only my phone number and tell them to call. They would never call. Then I wised up and now scam messages are pretty obvious.

A couple things to notice about that message:

  • They don’t mention the product I’m selling, their product reference is very ambiguous
  • They mention they are too busy to meet in person but can send somebody else
  • They offer extra money
  • Even though they want my address and contact info, they don’t offer up any sort of address or contact info for themselves

In addition, a bank will often cash the cashiers check initially but then soon after you will be contacted by the bank once the find out the check didn’t really clear and is a fake.

If you’re going to sell on Craigslist, be careful, scammers are going after sellers as well as buyers.


  1. I just got an Email, same person micheal Gonzalez. and like you said he was offering me more money than usual. Here is his e- mail:

    Thank you for your timely response, the house is a two bedroom
    unfurnished apartment.. My Financier in the states will be responsible
    for handling the payment. I will be arriving to the states by AUGUST
    30th…I will like you to know you will be responsible for general
    cleaning of hallways (dusting, vacuuming and mopping), doors,
    windows,pick up trash in common areas, sweeping and changing light
    bulbs etc.I am a consultant currently working with WORLD HEALTH
    ORGANIZATION (W.H.O), so I want you to know that my client will be
    sending you the payment in form of cashiers check, which you will get
    soonest,because i don’t want any  delay about this cleaning , i want
    the house to look as clean as possible..I will be paying you $350 if
    you are willing to help in cleaning the house.More so, i will need
    your reputable trust and favor ,i have made arrangements with a
    painter to paint the rooms for me prior to my arrival So my client
    will be sending you a check of ($2500) so you will take out $350 plus
    extra $50 for yourself and send the rest $2050 to the painter via
    Money Gram which i will be giving you the painter’s information where
    you will be sending the money to as soon as i get it from her and the
    tracking # for the check from my client,,You may be wondering why the
    painter money is much , Just that he will be buying some items which
    he will use in painting the house,like the paints brush and so on  …
    So i will want you to email me your full name and address for the
    check to be mail out to you asap,please do email me your full correct
    address and don’t send a P.O box , so that the payment wont get lost
    First name……..
    Last name………
    Address Line 1….
    Zip/Postal code…………..
    Home phone……………….
    Cell phone………………….
    Current  position in Occupation………..

    Hope all this arrangement is Okay with You , if so do email back as
    soon as possible so that i can make the arrangement for the check
    asap, don’t make any mistake when sending your details because i don’t
    want the payment to get lost. The Keys to the house and the address is
    already with the painter and she will update you as soon as the funds
    are sent to her, I will really appreciate your effort and i strongly
    believe you will enjoy working with me..

    Thanks and God Bless


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