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Beware of Craiglist Scams

Updated on October 4, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

Recently, I decided to put a few items on craiglist. I was in the process of cleaning up my garage and basement. The items are large and bulk and does not fit well to sell on eBay. I figure a local person might be able to use these items and will be happy to pick them up and avoid the shipping cost.

- Oct. 2018

Background

Shortly after I posted the two items, I received a text message from a women who claim her husband is interested in both items. No details but just the instruction for me to contact him via his email account.

I had no reason to suspect any problem and proceeded to email the husband informing the details of my item. He immediately replied and notified me he is interested in buying both item at the asking price and would add an additional amount to cover a holding charge. He would send me a check over night and later would arrange for a shipper to pick up the item. He wanted me to take down the posting so that no other people can bid on them.

All seem reasonable request at first...until I received the check. It came by FedEx with no information inside except for a check issued by a person with a name unknown to me and an amount that is $1500 over my asking price. The check is from TD Bank with a print “Official Check” on top. I have never heard of this designation. I was expecting a certified check or a bank check.

In addition, the envelop has the name of a shipping company with a phone number. I google the number and found a bunch of postings about a fraud scheme very similar to my situation.

I immediately called my local police department and the officer informed me that this is a well known scam. He instructed me to throw away the check and don’t bother depositing it.

The scam works like this. You deposit the check and the bank withhold your account balance until the check clears. After a week, the check will bounce. Meanwhile, the buyer would contact me to send cash or credit payment to the movers who supposedly will be coming to pick up the items he purchased. This of course was a dummy company setup by the scammer. They have no intention of coming to pick up your item. They just want the shipping cost which in this case is $1500.

The moral of the story, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I reported this incident to Craiglist. I am not sure what they can do about this except to inform the general public.

Here is the Exact Check

Shipping Label

Summary

It is a shame that this is allowed to happen on the internet. With freedom and convenience comes fraud and scams. This guy just wasted a few hours of my time. Some others may not be so lucky. Beware!

By the way, the name he gave in his email is Joan Soriano. I looked it up and he is a well known singer from the carribean, obviously a false name.

I think a lesson can be learned here for Google and other social media giants. You can do all of us a great service by spending your vast resources to combat against identity theft and validating true identities on the web. It should not be so easy for anyone to sign-up for an email account and mis-represent himself. A proof of some sort will go a long way to stop identity theft and scams lime this.

© 2018 Jack Lee

Comments

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      10 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jack......Craigslist scams have existed as long as Craigslist has. It's just one more added to the numerous ways the sleaze of the world spend their time & criminal behavior, to rip off others.

      You can find endless information on line regarding these scams, not only written by victims of these scams who learned the hard way, but also by law enforcement and Craigslist themselves, warning the public of the existence of these dastardly plots.

      You were right to be immediately suspicious. In hindsight, I'm sure you could see how obvious the dangers of this ploy was.

      At the end of the day, "we," the average unsuspecting public, can never be cautious and alert enough to protect ourselves whenever money is to be exchanged.

      I do wonder how Craigslist has been allowed to continue to exist, despite the thousands of illegal and harmful activities reported.

      Depending on what we are buying or selling, it appears it is best to deal within our local vicinity.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      10 months ago

      Something about Craig's List scares me. Now I know I was right to be leery.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      10 months ago from now on

      Yeah, I’ve used it a lot.

      I’d get these check scams (which invariably come from a phone number outside the state you are in) and lead them on, then when they ask where to send the check I give them name of FBI agent in charge of an FBI office and that office’s address leaving out any reference to govt or FBI.

      Then later they contact me asking to send a check and I email them back with this message.

      This is the FBI. Your building is surrounded, come out the front door with your hands up!

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      10 months ago from Yorktown NY

      T, thanks for info. I am not a regular craiglist user. Now I know better.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      10 months ago from now on

      Jack there is a list of craigslist scams and craigslist warns you here:

      https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

      And then there is this:

      https://www.fraudguides.com/internet/craigslist/

      If you want to incorporate that info into your article just delete my comment.

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