Am I about to get scammed on craigslist?

I put a fairly expensive watch up for sale on craigslist recently, and I just got an email from a buyer who seems very eager.

He’s asking if I would accept payment via paypal.

He also lives 2000 miles away, and is offering more money than I asked in the ad…both of which raise red flags in my head.

But if I don’t give him any personal info (other than my paypal account name/email), and money appears in my account…could anything go wrong?

I’ve never sold anything on craigslist to a buyer that wasn’t local and didn’t pay in cash.

More often than not, if you have to ask if you’re being scammed on Craigslist, you probably are.

What, exactly did the email say when the person contacted you? Did they refer to what you were selling specifically, or did they use general terms (“your item,” “the listing,” etc.)? Is the watch particularly rare, or could they find it easily elsewhere, on eBay or something?

It’s possible that they will try to send you to a phishing website that looks like Paypal. It’s also possible that they will try to dispute the transaction after they’ve already received the item, saying they never got it.

I’d rather play it safe if I were in your position. A polite email letting them know that you’d rather sell it to a local buyer should work.

Everything could go wrong. If it involves craigslist, it probably involves a scam.

Craigslist offers these tips:

There’s a number of ways that PayPal can take back your money. Either the sender’s account is stolen (the phished accounts have to go somewhere!), or the sender’s account is real and he’ll scam you through dispute resolution (rare and cruel, but it happens).

Tell him Western Union or get lost.

There’s a lot of scams on craigslist (much more than Ebay) because there are just no security mechanisms whatsofuckingever.

Don’t give him your paypal information directly. Use Paypal to send him a payment request.

Insure the package and make sure it’s signed for.

But, if you’re not comfortable with the deal, don’t make it.

If all I give him is my paypal id (which is the same as my email address) it’s hard to see how any identity theft or phishing could be involved. I know I’m logging on to the real paypal. But whether the funds placed there are legit and stay in the acct…apparently that remains to be seen.

He does refer to “the item”.

What really struck me as odd…the shipping address is a tiny town where 30% of the population is under the poverty line. Not the usual market for $2000 watches.

It’s a scam. Don’t do it.

Offer to cut the cost to what you posted if he picks up the item in person.

Insist you will only deal with cash.

Watch him disappear.

It’s a scam; no question. Insist on cash before you hand the item over, period. More so since it is a big-ticket item.

I’m so glad I have you guys [sniff].

This is a well-known scam – absolutely, do not do it. Anytime someone offers you more money than you are asking, that’s an automatic no-go.