by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
blame, scam, victims


Just Because Craigslist Is Used In A Scam, Doesn't Make People Craigslist Victims

from the blame-the-scammer,-not-the-platform dept

It's amazing how often Craigslist gets blamed for stuff that it didn't do. The latest, as sent in by an anonymous reader, is that a scammer used Craigslist to rent the same house out to at least 20 different people. The guy who owned the house put up ads on Craigslist, saying the house would be available May 1, and then collected first and last month's rent from at least 20 people. Those 20 people and their families discovered the situation as they showed up to the house on May 1. Clearly, these folks are the victim of a scammer (most likely the guy who owned the house). But the local newspaper, the Pasadena Star News refers to them as "Craigslist victims" as if it's the fault of Craigslist. It makes you wonder, if the same scam had been done via a classified ad in the Pasadena Star News, would the headline have read: "Number of Pasadena Star News victims increases"? Somehow, I doubt it.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Dan, May 7th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    It's also important to note that craigslist is eating into one of the large revenue streams for newspapers. What incentive to they have to not blame craigslist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Evil Mike, May 7th, 2008 @ 7:56am


    That reminds me of a (true!) story where several people lost alot of money on a "BFE Travel" company in Arizona...

    This speaks of the need for (ye aulde) "letter of credit" - a document which authorized payment for something upon one or more conditions. It could have been written on a conditional indicating successful habitation of said residence...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Heywood Jablowme, May 7th, 2008 @ 7:59am


    Journalistic integrity should be a good enough reason. But expecting that is being optimistic to the point of foolishness on our part.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2008 @ 8:18am

    Re: BFE Travel

    BFE = Butt F@$k Egypt Travel... lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Overcast, May 7th, 2008 @ 8:18am

    What he couldn't have done the same thing advertising in the paper?

    Explain please, I don't understand why the classifieds in the paper would have offered more protection - has there never been a scam ran in the new paper classifieds?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Amaress, May 7th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    There's would have been an article if it happened in their classifieds.

    In their paper anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    I'd hate to say it, but expecting integrity is being optimistic.

    That said, this is either a failure in journalistic integrity at the "Pasadena Star News" or simply incompetent journalism.

    I vote the latter-- it's the simplier explaination. Expecting competence is also optimistic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    TW Burger, May 7th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Craigs List is Blamed for Everything

    Craig's List is blamed for all of the things (scams, porn, prostitution, curb side car dealers, fake money order over payments, etcetera) that have been advertised in newspapers since newspapers have existed. The reason CL gets blamed is that the newspapers have an incentive to attack CL due to the revenue it has taken from them.

    Open any major city newspaper and you will find ads for "massage parlors", ads with 800 numbers on how to make millions in real estate, ads with several cars and a cell number, ads with claims you too can work from home and make $1200 to $2000 a week answering email.

    The newspapers know about these rip offs but take the money and remain silent. At least with CL other users can warn you if an ad is hinky.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    troye, May 7th, 2008 @ 9:42am

    Pfft, only stupid people would read such article and blame Craigslist.

    The rest of us know that there are plenty of idiot journalists out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, May 7th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Another victim of newspaper shorthand

    I think this just a case of excessive headline abbreviation. It's pretty clear from actually reading the article that no one is blaming Craigslist, and the headline is supposed to be a shortened form of "Number of people known to have been affected by scam whose most novel feature is that it happened via Craigslist increases".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Al D., May 7th, 2008 @ 11:02am

    man, just last month i responded to a personal massage ad on CL and teh stupid 'hooker' took my money without exchanging services for me. idk man....on top of that she had some dude with her that broke into my car. you try telling your insurance agent how your car got broken into. all those places are the same, / CL whatever....

    i blame them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Jack, May 7th, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Craigslist is part of Ebay

    So it is "Ebay's victims"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Porkster, May 7th, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    No care no responsibility

    So there is no moral responsibility for Craigslist, as long as CL makes money they shouldn't care what there site is used for.
    Lets hide behind legislation!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Brandon, May 8th, 2008 @ 8:36am

    Reference Point

    This reminds me of the horrific murders in California in the '90s that the media began referring to as the Yosemite Murders, even though none of them happened inside Yosemite National Park. It was the closest point of reference that people across the country would have knowledge of and unfortunately, that's what the media loves to use. If it's something you've never heard of, you don't care. But if you know what it is, suddenly you have interest. Granted the Yosemite Murders didn't actually blame the park for the murders so it's not quite the same thing, but visitation did drop off quite a bit at the park for the few months after the murders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Robbed and Fooled w/ Sophistication, May 21st, 2008 @ 7:51am

    What can we do?

    I got lured from craigslist to ebay. I received vehicle protection program forms/instructions from this person online, which ebay says are fake. I was told I would have 7 days to review the purchase before my money was released to the seller. Money sent via moneygram and everybody is saying "oh well, sorry." I know there is something I can do, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    John doe, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    Craigslist should do more tohelp people not get scammed?????????

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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