I’ve made a lot of money over the years selling on Craigslist. But there’s also a down side. I’ve had many people try to scam me. All they did was try. Scam me? It’ll never happen. Hopefully after reading this, it’ll never happen to you.
The oldest Craigslist scam in the book
If you walk from one end of Snake Island to the other, barefooted, you know what’s going to happen. List a high priced item on Craigslist, such as, antique furniture or jewelry, and it’s very similar.
You’ll get about four emails for each high priced item you list, from someone who’s too busy to come pick it up. Of course, with a high priced item, they don’t want you to mail it. And if it’s a large item, you can’t ship it because it’s too expensive.
Once a scammer wets his appetite, he will text you and email you, by getting your information from Craigslist.
So, they say, “The price is OK. I’m going to send you a check for the price, plus the moving expense. When you deposit the check, pay the movers, take your price, and keep a little extra for holding the item for me.” Then they ask for your address.
I usually ignore these, but last month, I decided to follow through on one of these to see what would happen. I knew it was a scam, but I wanted to get a little more insight on how they operate, and learn something I could share with my readers. I listed this antique kitchen dinette set for $650.
Then, I gave a person who called herself (or himself) Lauren Gary the address of my office, which is public knowledge. I traced the email address to a small town in Minnesota.
Three weeks later (on Christmas Eve, in fact), I received a check for $1,800, through UPS, which I had no intention of depositing to my account. There was no cover letter – just a check. The check was supposedly written by Christian Heritage School, in Trumbull, CT., and was drawn on People’s United Bank. I knew the check was probably worthless, but I decided to call the bank in Trumbull and check it out anyway. The School and the Bank were real. The routing number on the check was correct. The account number on the check was phony.
I saw all I wanted to see, and decided to just ignore it. Two weeks later, I received a threatening email from one Lauren Gary. Here’s the email, and my response.
Just to be on the safe side, to create a trail, I filed a police report. You can say this was a CYA move. I don’t think I’ll be needing it, because I’ve not heard anything else from the mysterious Ms. Gary. But it’s nice to have just in case.
Why people get scammed
This was not the first time someone has tried this on me. I’ve had hundreds try it over the last few years. The only reason I played along with it this time is because I’ve never actually seen how they operate, except my emails. I’d like to think of this as an educational experience.
The only reason people are victims to scam artists is because they don’t know someone is trying to scam them. If you know it’s a scam, I’d like to say that there’s no way they can scam you. But there are a few people who will still fall victim to this, because they are stupid.
PLEASE, don’t be stupid. You’re better than this. When doing business on Craigslist, or anywhere online, please be careful.
Also, be careful on Social Media. It’s are full of scammers. Facebook has it’s share of scammers, because nothing is secret on this site. I’ve had a few try to scam me on LinkedIn. You’re not as likely to run into a scammer on Twitter and Pinterest, because of the way the sites are managed. There are two Social Media Sites you should stay completely away from, Tagged, and Hi5. These are loaded with scammers, just like Snake Island is loaded with snakes.
The sharks, catfish and scammers are out there, and they’re a dime a dozen. Be careful.