A Craigslist Scam Hits Home

When it comes to selling (or buying) on Craigslist, I am personally finding that it is an environment where scams are very common; however, using some common sense to sidestep these scams will keep you out of the midst of a troubling situation.

Recently a friend of mine posted a high valued item on Craigslist and within hours he received the response reflected below. Ultimately his common sense kicked in and he had me take a look at it. I immediately knew it was a scam.

The Scam (or the Bait)

Hello,

I really appreciate your response to my email, i am completely satisfied with the advert and do consider it sold to me, i agreed with the price but i need you to withdraw the advert from Craigslist to avoid disturbance. I would love to come and check it myself but I am getting married next week and am very busy at the moment. but youdon’t need to bother yourself with the Shipment, I’ll be responsible with the pick up, I’ll send a Certified check to you which you can Easily Cash in your Bank or any Cashing Store around you. my secretary will mail across to you IMMEDIATELY.and after my check have been Cleared in your bank then i will arrange for the pick up. The check will be delivered to you via United Parcel Service (UPS), or FEDEX. Kindly provide me the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check to your location.

1. Full name to write on the check
2. Full Physical address to post the check
3. City, State and Zip Code
4. Cell Phone to contact you

*** Note that the payment will be shipped to your address via
UPS/FEDEX SERVICE. and i will make arrangements for the Pick up as
Soon as you have my Check Cashed ***

NOTE: { UPS / FEDEX do not Deliver to P.O Box }
Hope to read from you soon..
Thanks

HOW THE SCAM WORKS

What these crooks do is send you a certified check for more money than what the item was listed for; then, they will follow-up with another email indicating that the “Secretary” made a mistake in the check amount. They will then instruct you cash the certified check at your local bank, purchase a bank money order for the difference and have you send the money order back to them. The crook will further sweeten the pot by telling you to keep a couple hundred dollars for the trouble they caused you.

WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN SCAMMED

Well, let me tell you, if you follow this through with these instructions, your troubles are only beginning. The certified check they sent you will be completely FAKE and the crook knows that many banks will not question the integrity of the certified check and will cash it. The crook will take the bank money order you sent them and immediately cash it and run. And get this, you the innocent party could ultimately face some jail time for bank fraud; however, most banks and law enforcement are NOW aware of these scams.

REPORTING THE SCAM

The problem is that this crime is such an overwhelming problem, law enforcement does not have the time to expend in tracking down these crooks who can be as far away as Nigeria. Craigslist, does however have a page up [CLICK HERE] with links to various Federal (and Canadian) agencies where you can try and make your case.

COMMON SENSE RULES TO SIDESTEP THESE SCAMS

DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist.

NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.

FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.

CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”

NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.

DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN – in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.

DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.

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20 thoughts on “A Craigslist Scam Hits Home

Add yours

  1. Always deal with local people when using Craig’s List.
    Never give out any info including phone numbers.
    Just use good common sense.
    Ask yourself if you would respond to something that way. If not,
    then why would someone else?

    Like

  2. Classical Nigerian 419 scam, the grammar is bad and the rambling goes on and on, I am still surprised at how many people fall victim to such scams like this.

    Like

    1. A. Phillips,

      You just pointed out the classic signs of these scams (i.e. bad grammar, ramblin text, spelling errors, etc…). I think the thing that really jumps out at me is that no where is there any mention of the item they desire to purchase.

      As always, thank you for dropping by.

      Rick

      Like

    1. Buck,

      How are you doing? Well, you are not blogging! You are responding and commenting to an article on a blog. There are literally thousands and thousands and thousands of blogs. Check out wordpress.com and you will see what I mean. I’ve been blogging (writing tech articles and interests) for 3 years. It has taken me that long to build up the readership. Glad you dropped by…

      Rick

      Like

  3. I had a client whose check failed to arrive because of her transfer service so I asked her to send it via Western Union. That’s when I learned that WU is not trusted in Australia -she told me – so we used PayPal instead.

    Be careful Rick. Some people might not understand when you say ‘anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.’ Some folks like me innocently do that. But I know that’s not what you meant of course and your warning is with good intent.

    Like

    1. Hi Pochp,

      No intent here on my part to slight anyone; however, when I see a “template” response such as reflected in the article (especially in a Craigslist classified), I am running away and I am running away fast.

      As always, thank you…

      Rick

      Like

      1. Guy,

        I was making fun of “grammar” in general and my earlier response back to you was about as bad as it gets (when it comes to grammar). I had to go back and re-edit my response. Guess it is an age thing!

        Rick

        Like

  4. Scary how scammers are getting more and more creative these days. But I always go by with the saying ” If its too good to be true, its too good to be true”

    Like

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