Online scammers...

Scamming and spamming… the scourge of the 21st century.

I’m currently offering a monitor on craigslist. So far I have had three inquiries. Each one offered to buy the monitor sight unseen for the asking price (and sometimes more) via money order.

Every e-mail from craigslist includes this header:

What is the first scam they mention? People who offer to pay for the item sight unseen via money order.

It’s clear that these are not automated responses. Who the fuck does this shit? Is this a productive way to spend one’s time, trolling craigslist and attempting to bilk people out of their goods? I imagine some people must bite… but whom?

Oh, and if I get one more e-mail asking me to verify my account information WITH SPELLING ERRORS in it…

So, if I send you an e-mail without spelling errors, you’d spill your account info? :smiley:

I’m trying to sell three things on Craigslist right now - a home theater speaker setup and some other consumer goods - and I’ve gotten nothing but a torrent of ridiculous scam e-mails like that.

My friend recently listed and sold her car within HOURS on Craigslist - why do I keep getting targeted with this bullshit?

People have been getting scammed throughout history, not JUST in the 21st century. What you are describing is just one of the latest ways scam artists are trying to separate people from their hard earned cash.

I agree that spam today is what junk mail used to be in the 70’s.

I can guarantee that if a new cool way to communicate was invented, there will be somone out there that will attempt to use it to scam people.

If you want to relieve your frustration, why not wave your three foot long penis in the direction of that Nigerian banker who’s offering you a good deal on some penny stocks?

It’s got to be a variation of the cashier check scam.

I have sold hundreds of items on eBay, sight unseen, to buyers who paid with money orders, and have never been “scammed”. What is the risk here?

I tried to sell a car on a year or so ago and got offered one of these. Here’s how it worked (although I’m sure there are many flavors of it out there).

I’m selling a car for $18K. A guy offers to buy it, but he wants to give me a money order for $24K with the stipulation that I give him a check for $6K in return. He never shows up for the car, cashes my check, and I learn that his check is worthless. Luckily for me, I didn’t fall for it but I’m sure lots of others have.

But that is different; overpayment and a request for reimbursement would be the tipoff. But the OP seems to believe that merely conducting a sale sight unseen with a money order is risky. It is not.

Umm…besides being a nice guy (and essentially lubing up and bending over)…why would you do this?


Well, actually, there’s the risk that you deliver your merchandise, and then afterwards hear from your bank that the money order was fake and the bank is going to take the money back out of your account.

Typically, there are more clues in those craigslist responses than just the money order (or cashier’s check) bit – that the OP didn’t mention.

I’ve listed things on craigslist, too, and I’ve seen plenty of the same scam attempts. Other “tells” include:

  • the response looking like it would work for any item you might be selling. For example, they don’t reference what you are listing (“I would like to buy the computer monitor you listed – how big is it?”), they just say “I would like to purchase your item”.

  • request from a foreign country, wanting you to ship your item, even if the cost of shipping would be much more than the actual cost of the item being sold, like in the case of a computer monitor, or an old computer (like an old Pentium 1 machine).

  • request for shipping an item, even if the ad is posted for a certain city and specifies “local buyers only – will not ship”. (I’ve listed a computer or two this way, and had the same scam e-mail responses).

You wouldn’t. From my Snopes link:

Can’t you just wait til the money order has cleared before sending the goods? I would have thought that would be standard procedure.

Ahhh right, I just checked the Snopes link - your own bank frees the funds in 3-5 days, then the issuing bank can take 2 weeks or more to clear the check, and if it’s a forgery then your own bank doesn’t receive the money they already told you you had and you just spent.

Well that makes sense. Argh.

Some make it their hobby to bait the scammers. If a fake check is sent in payment for a dozen laptops or cell phones, the baiter will ship out (COD) something like a washer, dryer or simply 80lbs. of broken electronic gear.

Simpler baits involve extended correspondence with various scammers, with the intent of wasting their time.

To make you feel better: one of the best scam-baiting stories of all time.

Why do phishing scams always have stuff like this:

When you view the properties of the email, while the real thing looks much more like straight text?

I have to admit I’m a little put out by the craigslist scammers. They never e-mail back once I’ve called their bluff.

Last scammer claimed to be a doctor looking for a gift for her son. She was too busy with work to come and look at the monitor, but she was too happy to send a postal order and have me mail it to her…

Wouldn’t a postal money order be fine? They can only be purchased with cash from a post office. As long as its not a counterfeit money order which a post office can probably tell you in about 30 seconds.