Possible Scam: "Free Firewood" ?

Yeah, I know, how can ‘Free Firewood’ ever be a scam?

It starts with an ad on FB in a group that sells things.
The Ad: " $0… ‘Free Firewood’."

The account that places the ad wont have a persons face, but some kind of artwork.
It will have made maybe 3 posts and it might have maybe 3 posts on its stream from people/ FB accounts that also have only about 3 posts… and all out of state.
Its a dead wall after that for all of them, like these accounts just sprang up from the earth.

The ad may or may not list a picture of the wood… and the account will list a town where the poster is from, but no address at all about where the wood actually is.

When you contact them about the free firewood, they’ll have a stock story ready for you. And then they’ll start Phishing.
Who are you? What’s your name?
Where do you live? Where are you coming from?
Do you have tools you can bring? Is it a Really Good chainsaw? (“because the wood sections are big.” )
What kind of truck do you have that it can carry this much wood?
Is it new? Is it reliable?


Now, you won’t want to give out this information at first… and they’ll stop responding to you for a while to try to force you to give them more and more information if you want the “Free Firewood”.
If they want to prod you a little, another FB account (with only 2-3 posts on it) will leave a message below yours and say, “interested”, which will garner an immediate reply.

Finally, a day or maybe two days before a large snow storm is expected, they’ll cough up the address, leaving you a window of at best One Day to drive to that town and get some wood and they will want to know what time you’ll arrive.
Lets throw into the mix that its one of those towns out on the sticks that doesn’t have its own police force and where the Staties might arrive an hour after you call them. Also that the group it was posted too was 3 Counties to the East of them
(about an hour and twenty minutes drive away) and was Not cross posted.

I’m thinking that this is a variation on the Craigslist Scam where a team of guys are waiting to rob you, take your tools and your truck and everything you have when you drive up.
It might even be that a team of guys is waiting in a van by a Dunkin Donuts shop near where YOU live… waiting for the time you said you’d arrive in out in the sticks… to go to Your house and to clean You out.

Something doesn’t seem right here, this seems fishy.

Would you give out all your personal info & try to go get the firewood?

“If it looks too good to be true, it usually is.”

I know nothing about FB, but that seems like a lot of trouble to go through.

Around these parts, you get all kind of idiots who will post “Free Fire Wood” on Craigslist, and you click the picture, and it’s a small pile of twigs or a broken up pallet or some shit, and they say, “Must take all and not leave a mess”. :rolleyes:

Right. You want me to come clean your yard for free.

This is fire wood: https://reno.craigslist.org/zip/5992176441.html

This is garbage: https://reno.craigslist.org/zip/5965192912.html

(Both these ads are current today. I’m calling about the Cottonwood. We’ll see how this goes…)

I’d say that in the interest in science, it’s your duty to go through with it and report back to us on how this scam works. But you’re a valuable poster and I don’t wish any harm to befall you, so don’t do it.

I don’t know what the exact scam is, but I certainly would not give any info or make any attempt to get the firewood.

Sounds pretty sketchy to me.

Most of the “Free Firewood” posts I see are someone that has a tree that they want cut down for free, and it’s usually something like willow or spruce that you would never want to burn.

Just give them fake info if you’re interested.

I’ve seen “free firewood” offered before, but not like this. Usually it’s more of a “come get this shit out of my yard, oh by the way it burns” than a literal scam/mugging setup.

Yeah, it seemed sketchy.

Sounds like those old lonely hearts ads: “Lonely farmer seeks woman with farming experience and own tractor with a view to marriage. Please send photo of tractor.”

Around here, free firewood means they had a tree or trees fall (or felled) on their property and if you show up with a chainsaw, you can have it. We had several ratty pine trees taken down and someone actually showed up and took all the pine - they were renters, so they didn’t care about what they burned… We also had a huge oak taken down, and we were going to let the wood lie back in the woods, but a neighbor saw it and asked if he could take it. So he brought a trailer and cut up and removed a metric assload of good firewood. Win-win.

But I have seen some ads that seem like “Come clear this wood out of my yard and don’t make a mess.” Never anything scammy, tho. Weird.


“Please send photo of wood” :eek:

Please fight my ignorance: What is wrong with spruce or willow firewood? Creosote?

Classic example of TANSTAAFL! There’s definitely a cost here. I wouldn’t be in any hurry to volunteer to be the guinea pig to find out.

Back when I had a woodburning stove and not much money, I’d have jumped at the one you’re describing as garbage - it’s a mess, for sure, but it’s fuel.

I’d actually be a bit suspicious of the cottonwood - They’ll deliver it free within 20 miles? Some people are just nice, but what’s in it for them here? I guess if their only other option is paying to dispose of it, that might make sense.

Tell them you have to borrow the truck from your buddy (a cop, of course, which you’ll casually throw in there). You and him can be there tomorrow afternoon to haul it off.

Wild guess here, but would spruce burn too quickly, and willow be too wet?

See here for a list of firewoods. You are right on willow. I’m not sure about the aversion to spruce.

Hanlon’s razor here, dude. The vast majority of people posting things on Craigslist/FB (doubly so with “free” anything) are absolute dipshits (or just crazy). It’s part of the price you pay.

Willow will indeed be very wet, even after it dries it doesn’t put out much heat. Kind of flakes away like you are burning a wet roll of paper towels. The heat you will get out of it is not worth the time and effort you will put in.

Spruce is very pitchy, OK for a while but a chimney fire just waiting to happen. Usually knotty and hard to split too. I take a few sticks from an old spruce stump with me when I go camping, for fire starter.

Burn hardwood.

Not a bad idea but remember: they only tell you where the address of the wood is after they know “where are you from”.

In other words, if you bring a cop with you, maybe it will just be a house with no one home and no wood in the yard… and a van that starts up and drives off down the street when you park.
Meanwhile, back at your place, a white van pulls up… someone pops the lock on one of the doors, and “workers” start to tag team pull valuables out of you house.
“Isn’t that nice! The neighbors are having some work done…” :smack:

I’m pretty sure that this isn’t these Grifters first rodeo…

What time?