Buying Things From Craigslist? Be Sure to Double Check They’re Not Stolen

Consumers and business owners take a risk buying electronics and other expensive items from Craigslist. Unfortunately, while there are incredible deals, there are also sellers trying to sell stolen merchandise. But how do you know the difference between a legitimate seller and a scammer? Discover how to double-check to try to ensure items purchased from Craigslist are not stolen.

Look for Clues in the Ad

Ads for stolen merchandise often read differently from those placed for items the seller owns or has the rights to sell. The wording might be overly enthusiastic about enticing buyers into feeling good about the item. Sometimes stock photos are used rather than actual images of the item itself. Another indication of possible stolen merchandise is the phone number being spelled out rather than appearing in numbers. If consumers miss these signs and wind up buying stolen merchandise, they should consult with a criminal defense attorney in Springfield MO.

Consider the Price

If the item’s price is too good to be true, usually that means the situation is shady. While sellers want to price items competitively, a meager price could mean the merchandise is stolen. Pricing the items lower than usual means they sell faster, reducing the seller’s risk of getting caught. While everyone wants to get a great deal, it’s not a good deal if the things turn out to be stolen merchandise.

Ask Questions

When in doubt, always check it out further. Ask questions about the item to determine what the seller knows about its history. For example, inquire about when the item was purchased and where the seller bought it. Also, find out about its past use or a new item and why the seller is getting rid of it. If the seller cannot answer most of these questions, it could mean the things were stolen rather than obtained honestly for distribution through Craigslist.

Check the Numbers

Companies and consumers purchasing big-ticket items, such as electronics and computers, should check the serial numbers to verify the items were not stolen. Ask the sellers to provide the serial numbers for reference. If the seller does not want to provide the serial numbers, don’t make the purchase. If the serial numbers don’t check out, avoid making purchases from a potentially dishonest seller. Instead, check with the manufacturer’s customer service department to determine if serial numbers are legitimate.

Be Careful

Consider the way the seller wants to do business. If they want to meet in a questionable area,put safety first. Always meet in a public place, such as the office, where people see the interaction. Also, be careful if the seller asks for untraceable funds and never send money to someone you don’t know. If a purchase is made from a Craigslist seller, make sure to get a receipt to verify the transaction. Never leave money around and always try to have others present when meeting a seller from Craigslist.

Many people successfully purchase merchandise from Craiglist every But, unfortunately, others wind up getting scammed by dishonest sellers. Keep these tips in mind when purchasing items from Craigslist sellers to avoid getting scammed. A little caution goes a long way when it comes to making purchases from Craigslist. If you do get scammed, consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately to find out your rights.


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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