I personally had two craiglist scams attempted on me last week via a PayPal email scam and cashier’s check scam. The background story is I just purchased a new car (fist pump!) and attempted to sell my old car on craiglist. I posted it and received two fishy emails, which common sense screamed SCAM however I played things out for the sake of education and my blog readers.
Scam 1: I received an email asking about the car. After some basic emails the person said they will take it. I ask about seeing it and get back “I need a favor, I got a message from the pick up agent H/Q in the US that I need to pay a commission of about $900 before the pickup. It’s a private shipper agent, which can only take western union. All I need from you is to include fees and assure me that you can help me wire the agent. There isn’t any western unions around here or I would do it”. I say fine and the person asks for my paypal email. I tell him it’s my gmail and 30 minutes later I get the email below. His Canadian address made me laugh (not shown).
So here is the scam. First off, the email just stinks. Paypal wouldn’t say things like “don’t worry about things just go ahead and WIRE MONEY”. The email address looks legit however spoofed (I wish I had my ironport setup to verify the sender’s location). I logged into my paypal and found zero dollars and no history of the transaction. I called paypal and confirmed they never deal with western union and my account doesn’t show the history of the transaction. I forwarded the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and asked the guy “why is paypal not showing the funds in my account?”. No reply … busted!
To summarize the scam, the target was $900 dollars. The scam artist attempted to convince me that I had money held by paypal that would be released once I wired the commission to a bogus private shipper. The real buyer of my car told me his friend had the exact same scam attempted when he posted his iphone. Email is easy to spoof so be careful!
SCAM 2: This scam was for more money and more elaborate. The same scenario happened however the email used VERY poor English. The person was also from Canada and didn’t need to see the car. This time I’m told the person represents an agent who was already paid by his client $5,000 more than my asking price. He offers to pay via cashier’s check, which I’m asked to wire the difference plus another $900.00 for shipping costs. I say fine mail me the check and receive a check 10 days later. The letter was post marked from Spain and contained an Utal Community Credit Union check. How AWESOME is this? I’m suppose to believe a Canadian went to Utal to get a cashier’s check and while on vacation in Spain mail it to me? Hmmm. I ask about things and later told the shipping agent is in Spain. Ok so a Canadian is contracting a Spanish shipping company to pick up my US car? Hmmm?
So the target here is $5,900.00 dollars. The scam artist hopes I cash the check and after it clears, mail him the difference before it bounces. Most likely it would take a week or so to get flagged, which is enough time for the victim to mail out the $5,900.00. I called the Utal Credit Union hotline and confirmed it was fake.
Don’t trust people on craiglist. There are many scam artists fishing for suckers