Last year when we started listing some antique pieces for sale on Craigslist I learned about a common scam out there. Within a short time after placing my ads I’d get several emails that all went something like this:
I would like to buy your item so please consider it sold and remove the ad. I would have loved to meet you in person but presently I am out of town for business. I will like to proceed with payment cashier’s check which you will receive in 4-6 business days. I will include an additional $20 for the delay. Please send me your full name, address and phone numbers so that I may have the payment sent to you. I will have my business associate contact you to pick up the item as soon as you’ve cashed the check.
I’ll be awaiting your info.
I quickly learned that you can generally avoid this whole ridiculous situation by simply not having an email to respond to and requiring actual buyers to phone instead. Placing “cash only” in your ad also lets scammers know you are not going to accept their phony payment method.
Recently I placed an ad on Craigslist for a dresser and forgot to check the box so there would be no email option. This time the email I got was one I just had to share. First, I got the initial “feeler” email asking if the item was still available. I went ahead and answered that it was available, fully expecting this to be the scam I suspected. Sure enough it was and here’s the actual email I received.
I appreciate your response to my inquiry. Am interested in buying it from you. I would love to come and check it myself but I just got married and am presently on a honeymoon trip to Hawaii with my husband.Pls do withdraw ,with immediate effect, the advert from Web as i dont mind adding $50 for you to do that, so i can be rest assured that the item is held for me. I should believe it is in good condition as stated. I will be making the payment via a Certified Check, which my secretary will mail across to you. I'll be picking the item from you with the aid of my mover. My Mover will be coming to pick it from you once the Certified Check has been cashed.
Pls I will need both your full name and physical address to issue out the payment. waiting to hear from you soon.
So here’s my response:
Congrats on your recent marriage! I think it’s awesome that you’re spending your Hawaiian Honeymoon looking for used furniture on Craigslist. I also went to Hawaii on my Honeymoon and I too couldn’t wait to whip out my laptop and peruse the Craigslist ads back home. The hubby complained a little but I told him to pipe down because I was going to find us some good deals! I’ve been saving him money in this marriage ever since. But I digress. I’m impressed that you have both a secretary and a mover to handle the transaction and the pick-up and delivery of a $200 used dresser. However, I have a better idea. Tomorrow at exactly 9:01 pm place an empty fast food bag containing $200 in small bills in the dumpster behind the Safeway. Then, just three minutes after my associate picks up the fast food bag, my mover will pull up in an unmarked white van, the back doors will swing open and my mover will shove the dresser down a ramp. It’ll be rolling pretty fast, so be ready at the bottom of the ramp to catch it before my driver starts to peel out. Also, if you see any other unmarked vans pull up and aren’t sure which one contains your item, the secret phrase will be; “The pink pig squeals at noon.” Any questions?