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Beware of Craiglist Scams

Updated on October 4, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Before retiring, Jack worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


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


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


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


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