There is a lot of talk here from time to time about Craig's List, so I
thought I would try to sell a couple of items on it. Listed the items with
no trouble each one about $300 or so. Got four replies to the two items,
one was legit but decided he didn't want it, the other three were strange.
Two had the same line, I want your item, I will send a check to you by UPS
courier, take your money and send rest to my shipper so he can pick up item,
e-mail me when you get check. Three checks came each for $2900 by UPS
courier (about $30 each to send) one had a mailing address to send the money
to, the other two had no information at all, of course all three checks were
phony. What gets me is that I told the two that contacted me that I would
accept a check but only for the amount of purchase and shipping was up to
them, they sent $2900 checks anyway. The third one didn't contact me or send
instructions or tell me what they were trying to buy, just spent 30 odd
bucks to send me a bogus check. Who is getting scammed here and by whom? I
took one of the checks to my bank and they took one look at it and said they
wouldn't even cash it for me. So who is losing money on this?
In my opinion, craigslist is just like the paper classifieds. Cash
only and you have to pick it up (or we'll arrange something). No
I've sold a few things through craigslist, and stocked about 1/2 my
shop through it. Table saw, Horizontal bandsaw, Thickness planer.
Drill press was through a flea market. All cash, both sides of the
transaction. Cleans up a few of the trust issues if you show up with
your pickup and a fist full of dollars.
I prefer to play mind games with them. Becomes a matter of how long
for them to give up.
The "Huld foor pickup" routine just screws with their tiny little
minds for awhile.
Becomes a matter of how long they want to suffer.
You are, by the people who sent you the checks.
You would be, if you had fallen for the scam. The way it normally is played is
that they ask you to refund the "overpayment" by Western Union, and email them
the security code to retrieve the money -- which they can do from anywhere in
the world (most likely Nigeria). Once you send the money, it's gone. Then the
check turns out to be bogus (of course), and you're stuck.
Google "419 scam" for more information. Also see www.419eater.com and
www.bustedupcowgirl.com for some pretty funny stories of people who have
turned the tables on the scammers.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
These scammers also do fake Post Office money orders that look good enough
that they fool people into sending goods and forwarding part of the money to
a "shipper" or whoever, of course when the check or money order turns out to
be fake they get stuck for the item they sent plus the money they forwarded.
Obviously one of the warning signs is when someone wants to send you more
than the purchase price so you can forward money to someone else. Somebody
suggested they have a way to defraud UPS as well, it's quite possible that
they're using someone else's account to sent the checks overnight, they
don't want to give their victims time to think about what's going on. These
days it isn't just buyer beware, sellers have to be careful too.
Maybe criminals are creatures of habit like the rest of us and this is one
scammer using various accounts to try to defraud you and he just got
careless in between scamming dozens of other people this week. Or maybe
experience has taught himm that's just the right amount of money to hook the
greatest number of suckers, who knows? Glad you didn't get burned, I'm
amazed at how many people fall for such scams.
They expect you to send them 'change', that is the difference between
the amount of their check and the purchase price and shipping costs.
Then their check will bounce. Bank checks, can 'bounce' after they
appear to have cleared, which is how that scam works.
Since you didn't fall for it, THEY lost money.
Good for you!
They didn't get scammed, they shot themselves in the foot because
OP didn't take the bait.
OTOH, this does suggest a way to screw them, by posting ads to
Craig's list etc with adds for things only a scammer would offer
I have sold a few things this year on Craigs List. Rule #1 for me is
Local Only, I want to see who I'm dealing with. Rule #2 is Cash Only,
for the reason you just described - if you fall for the bad check
scheme, they get your item and your money.
Play by those 2 rules on Craigs List, and you'll avoid most problems.
Those are the same rules I use. This year I've sold a truck and
bought a chipper/shredder via Craig's list with no problems at all.
Amazing what face-to-face and cash can accomplish ;-)
I also picked up a 24" snow thrower with electric start on the free
section - not much call for those things in Atlanta, but my son-in-law
(n the DC area) was excited when I took it to him.
Problem is, in Houston "face to face" may well mean you'll be looking down
the barrel of a $2 pistola ... and, they now know where your tools are.
I check out Houston's CL on a daily basis and I suspect that a perceptible
amount of what's sold here is hotter than said pistola ... you can almost
tell by what passes for "ingles" in some of the ads.
Since both items were of a largish nature and not readily shippable for the
average Joe, I did get a little concerned when one of the "buyers" wanted
it shipped to California from Kentucky. Just didn't seem like a good buy
for him to me.
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