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IMPD: Craigslist scammers hitting hard during the holidays

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By: James Gherardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 10, 2014) – Police are warning consumers to be on the lookout this holiday season. Craigslist scams are more common than you may think.

“You’re looking at fraudulent crimes, obviously folks that represent one thing, but that presents something else and then you’re looking at a little bit more violent crimes, robbery,” said Kendale Adams with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Craigslist itself has a list of scam examples right on their site, including everything from the seller requesting a wire payment, to partial payment up front.

But there are some simple tips and tricks to make sure you don’t fall victim to an online scammer.

“If the deal is too good to be true, certainly, that’s a red flag; if they’re telling you to meet them in an apartment complex late at night that should be a red flag,” said Adams.

“Try to have them meet at a local spot actually like a Kroger or McDonald's, a gas station,” said one man who frequently makes Craigslist purchases.

The first tip police provide is to never make a purchase at a person’s home.  Police encourage users to agree to meet in a public place, during the day.

“We did it during the day, I had my wife with me, I wouldn’t send her by herself,” said another man.

Their second tip is to go to a purchase with a buddy. Police say you are a lot less likely to be a victim if your scammer knows you’re not alone.

“I call and make sure, have them send me pictures via text,” said another man.

Their third tip is that those pretty pictures on your computer screen aren’t necessarily what are waiting for you when you arrive.  They suggest having your seller send pictures in a text message and if it takes them too long, you know something’s up.

“I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world but I mean you do have to keep up your guard, you never know who you’re dealing with,” said a Craigslist customer.