Consumer Report: Avoiding Craigslist scams - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Consumer Report: Avoiding Craigslist scams

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WKOW -- Buying something online from a person or company you don't know can be risky, so officials remind people to be cautious.

Postal inspectors say as more and more people shop online, scams are growing.

"The mindset of the scammer in this case is they want money and they don't care what it takes to get it.  It's a very emotionless crime that - they're just very greedy," says Gil Webb, a U.S. postal inspector.

John, who only wants to be identified by his first name, is one of 15 people scammed by one suspect selling items on Craigslist.

"I thought maybe he's not trying to scam me and just fell on hard times," John says. "I felt like someone broke into my house and robbed my house."

John lost $1,300 trying to buy motorcycle parts on Craigslist. The seller asked to be paid by money order, but never sent the parts. 

Eventually, the seller was arrested and is in jail. John also sued the seller and was awarded more than $4,000 in the case.

Authorities recommend people buying online should create a paper trail for any purchases, so documentation is available in the event of any scams. Also, try to meet or talk to the seller by phone, rather than just communicate by email.

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