Lame Craigslist Scammers

On Friday, I posted a Craigslist ad for a bedroom set. I received the following, nearly identical responses:

From the Reverend George Matthew (Reverend - nice touch!)

Thanks for the prompt response (I had responded to a normal looking email saying the furniture was still for sale) i have instructed my account officer to mailing (overnight) a certified check,while you hold on my behalf. Once you receive this, my mover will come pick up at your place.I will be needing the following information to issue out
the payment . . .

1.Your full name
2.Your mailing address(Physical)
3.Your phone number.

** Please note that the payment will be overnight to your address and it will be delivered within 2 days.I have taken a close look at the AD and am satisfied.I appreciates you saving this for me.Kindly delete the posting as am definitely buying it from you and it would be sad for me to have the payment in the mail only to be informed of the its sale**

From Nathan Bennett

Thanks for your reply concerning my inquiry (I had responded to a normal looking email saying the furniture was still for sale),am quite comfortable with the condition of the item since i won’t be making any repairs on it,i will like to offer you $550,please let me know if you will accept payment with money order as it’s the only way i can pay you at the moment.I would have loved to come take a look at it but i am presently out of town,send me some pictures.I hope it is in good condition,kindly reply with your name, phone # and mailing address where payment will be sent.I will let you know how i intend to pick it up.

As soon as you have your money in hand we can talk about the picking up of the item ok.I would like you to take the posting off craigslist today.

Expecting to hear from you soon.

From Marry Jones (

Hello how are you today i set my eye on your item I want to know why you are selling this item and if really it is in good condition .I will like to make a quick purchase on the item cos i am sending to a friend as a xmas gift,he is really going to love it.My method of payment is via Cashier’s Check or Money Order .If ok by you kindly get back to me with your full name and address of where you want the money to be mailed out to so i can proceed with payment immdaitely.I will take all the shipping responsibilities and i will like the item to be shipped by shipper once my payment is confirmed.So you wont need to pay any shipping cost cos all the shipping cost will be billed to my account.So once the payment has been approved my shipper will get back to on line so that he ll take care of it when recieved the payment.plz get back to me with your full name and address for payment.NB:and your best price and your phone numb

There are 5 other nearly identical emails! I know this is a common scam, but it is the first time I have experienced it. They are just so identical and creepy! Part of me wants to at least inconvenience them by making them send checks but they probably just print them at their desk and then drop them in the mail at the end of their driveway.

This is such a terrible scam since people have no way to get their money back after they deposit these bad checks. Definitely definitely take a moment to give your less net-savvy friends/family a heads-up about this scam.

This is my first pit thread, sorry for the lack of bad language - I am definitely thinking it!!! Scamming people is ALWAYS wrong, but it feels even more evil over the holidays.

I’m a bit lost on this. How does this scam work? It sounds like they give you a bad check, and they get…used furniture? I though scammers were all about the cash - sending you a check for $x more than the agreed upon price, you give the extra to a ‘friend’ of theirs that they owe money to, check comes back as forged…or would all that come in the next email, after they send the bad check?

That’s precisely it - they don’t get anything - as you say, they send a forged money order for a little more than the agreed price, regardless of the actual price mentioned in the email. The vendor is supposed to deposit it, send the balance somewhere, then later the money order bounces. The vendor never shifts their stuff, but is out of pocket by the balance.

I suspect there’s are lots of bots, or Nigerian data entry clerks, that send these emails out by rote.

Sorry, I should have explained it a little better. The scammer doesn’t want the item for sale at all, and will make no real attempt to get it. As Jjimm states, what the scammer wants is to send me a certified check. By accident, the check will be for MORE than the original amount. I will be asked to deposit the check and send the overage back. The check will be fake and will bounce and I will be out all of the money.

See here:

I spent most of the last month trying to sell my bed on Craigslist. I had several flakes, a few honest people who showed up and tried it out but didn’t like it, and one of the same creepy e-mails you got. The writer never actually mentioned the word “bed,” only that he wanted “my item,” and that I should remove it from Craigslist immediately.

He was also going enlist a shipping service to pick it up, since he lived in WA. I asked why he would go to the trouble of buying a gently-used bed from someone in Florida, to have it shipped across the country – a new bed up there would probably cost the same, or even less.

Well, I never heard back from that scammer, and eventually I sold the bed for just a bit less than my original asking price. I’m not surprised at all that scam seems so widespread, but I wonder who would actually fall for it when you consider all the red flags.

The scammer only needs to reach one person who’s even dumber than they are.

Perhaps the best thing to do with these guys is to appear to have taken the hook and let them send their fake payments, then do nothing, or say it didn’t arrive and let them send another - make them waste a bit of money on stamps. If everyone did it, scamming would be less profitable and less attractive, perhaps.

Don’t fuck with unscrupulous people who know where you live. It’s a good rule to live by.

I’ve considered getting a PO box for just that reason.

Or just make an address up, who cares if the mail gets sent back or not.

I did get a PO Box just for that reason. They’re surprisingly inexpensive.

I’ve always thought that if everyone made a point of responding to those fake PayPal/bank/ebay account requests, it would make it a lot harder for scammers to find real victims. I’d be happy to fill in fake names, addresses, and account numbers if I thought it would reduce the number of people who tried to bilk people out of their money. At least it would make thieves work harder for their stolen money.

“Scambaiting” to the rescue!

A lot of people think that money orders are foolproof. There may be things about the transaction that make them uncomfortable, and they would pass if the guy was sending a check. But it’s a money order. They come from banks. They’re pre-paid. You can always trust a money order.

And then they find that you can’t. But they don’t find out right away. The bank seems to take it and everything seems to be fine. It can be weeks later that the money is pulled back out of their account.

One of the old red flags was sending you the money “overnight.” For years overnight ment Fed Ex.

That way when the check or money order bounced the party wouldn’t be liable for mail fraud.

Er- you know better than that Mangetout.

If you’re going to bait the scammers, it’s best to do so anonymously. Use fake names, drop boxes and the assistance of the scambating community.

The solution is to invade Nigeria.

Send them their change in Monopoly money. I think it’s best to let them waste their postage and ink and send you their checks. If enough people did that it might make the scam a bit less lucrative.

I get these all the time. I responded to the first one, as it sounded almost legitimate even though the English was fractured somewhat. Once I stated that the check would have to clear my bank (10-15 days), I heard no more from them. I just ignore them now, or report them.

Worse than these, I got one once from somebody who cursed at me and railed at me about what a fuckhead I am and sneered about what crap I was selling (it was home-stereo equipment), simply because I made a statement about scammers in the ad. It took a lot of effort not to respond to that one.

Friendly warning:

The bank may claim that your check has cleared, when in fact it has not.

If you ask a Rep, “Has my check cleared?”, they may interpret that to mean, “Is the hold time over?” Even if you ask the question 3 times.

The hold time may be over (3 days) but that doesn’t mean that the check isn’t fraudulent.

In cases of fraud, the depositor will be liable for the funds, even if the international check bounces a month later.