BEND, Ore. - Buying things off Craigslist is just a click away, but many people on the High Desert have learned the hard way that there are plenty of scammers on the Website.
Craigslist has been around since 1996. Each year, it seems to get more popular.
People can find everything from roommates, to couches, to cars.
With the growth in popularity, has come a spike in scams. Some of them even deadly.
Experts warn you to be extra-cautious when buying items off Craigslist or eBay.
"For example, robbery by appointment," said Bend attorney Foster Glass. "You should bring several people with you -- at least a couple of people. And maybe you should put your money somewhere just cautiously, so it's not right in your pocket. And if you ask: Did you bring the money? Well maybe you shouldn't bring the money."
Another big scam item on Craigslist is cars.
Mechanics recommend to take the time before you buy the car and have it inspected by a mechanic.
"We see this quite often in our business," said Jerry Young, mechanic at Young's Ole Volks Home. "We get the after-sale regrets. I don't know how many times people brought in cars and we told them, 'Absolutely you don't buy this car unless you can knock the price down to a point where you feel like it's feasible.'"
Another tip: Don't get rushed into a sale.
If someone tells you that you have to act now or the item is being sold, you probably want to let it go.
Next to all the horror stories of Craigslist scams are the success stories. People find items for great deals. Experts just warn you to inform yourself before you buy things off Craigslist.
Here are a few helpful links.
Craigslist has a list of things you can do to avoid getting scammed: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams
If you already have been scammed, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Here is a quick checklist:
- Get their name and phone number ahead of time
- Never meet in private
- Trust your gut - if something feels wrong it probably is (and if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is)
- Leave expensive-looking clothing and accessories at home
- Tell someone you know where you are going and make sure to keep a cell phone with you
- Don't wire money
- Don't carry a lot of cash on you