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How to Avoid Being Scammed When Buying Tech Off Craigslist

Everybody loves to get a bargain on their technology, and there are few better places to go for a bargain (or to sell) than Craigslist. However, though there are plenty of genuine sellers selling genuine products on the site, it is a bit of a haven for would-be scammers to try and con buyers out of their money in exchange for goods that aren’t quite what they claim they are. Before you buy some goods off Craigslist, make sure you’re doing the following things.

Ask Questions and Ask for Photos:
The listing description should give a lot of details about the product you’re thinking about buying, but who knows if this wasn’t copied and pasted from somewhere else? To begin with, try copying the description into Google and see if it has been posted elsewhere; it’ll be a big red flag if it has. If it hasn’t been posted elsewhere, ask questions about the item. If they’re a genuine seller, they’ll be happy to take the time to answer your queries. Also, ask for as many photos as possible. If they’re only using stock images and are reluctant to send you their own photos, it’s probably because the product doesn’t exist.

Checking It’s Genuine:
Some items are prone to be cloned, and the listing might be a product, but not a genuine product. In other cases, it’ll be a stolen product. This often happens with Apple products (since they’re the most expensive on the market). If you’re buying an iPhone, check the listed item against the iPhone blacklist; it’ll tell you if the seller has the right to sell the phone. If you’re buying an Apple laptop, you’ll want to check the serial number.

Make Sure It’s Worth It:
There are good deals on Craigslist, but they’re not always that good. For example, if a product is listed on Craigslist that offers a saving of, say, only 20% off the retail price, it’s probably not worth taking the chance. When you buy new, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’re buying a genuine product and that it has a warranty, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, if someone is listing a product for a price that seems too good to be true, then, well, you know the probably is too good to be true!

If everything checks out and you think you’ll want to buy, it’s essential that you make the transaction in person (somewhere safe, of course) rather than sending them the money and waiting for the product to arrive (it might never arrive). If they’re selling a dud, they’ll avoid meeting up in person. If they do agree, you can always make the meeting point the official store for that product (like the Apple store for a Macbook), as this way you’ll be able to get verified immediately.

Common Sense:
Ultimately, the best defense will be your own common sense. Go into any potential with a degree of skepticism, and you’ll be on the right track to avoid being scammed.


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