Two craiglist Scams: PayPal Email Scam / Cashier’s Check Scam

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).
paypal scamSo 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 [email protected] 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?email scam

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

8 thoughts on “Two craiglist Scams: PayPal Email Scam / Cashier’s Check Scam”

  1. Thanks for the info. I just received a check last friday for 3,800 more than what I was selling on the free Penny Saver online ads. I am going to take it to my bank tomorrow and have them verify it. But the story is the same…the guy wanting to buy a diningroom set without even seeing it and then sending me so much money with instructions on wiring so much money to the shipper and then the remaining to another place. I am sure now it is a fraud but am so disappointed.
    I’ll just call the local auction house where they send someone over, look at what you have and offer cash and take it that day!

    Thanks so much for your post, cause now I know it is a scam.

  2. What if you receive payment by credit card over paypal and then put it directly in your bank account and it turns out the credit card is stolen? I’m selling a wedding dress on Craigslist right now and I’ve gotten similar emails to those listed above but offering to pay with credit card. Will I be responsible to pay back the person they may have stolen the credit card number from? Also gotten the scammy emails about cashier’s checks too, but I recognized them as scams Ruhr away.

    1. Hi Gracle,

      Not completely sure how that works. Credit card companies take on risk via providing insurance to the users so you would either keep the cash and the company would consider it a loss OR they would ask for the money back. My guess is you would be charged back the amount they paid you so I wouldn’t do it. My advice would be to call the credit card company to verify the card before accepting the transaction. I did that with the cashiers checks and found every bank to be very helpful identifying what was fake. Plus you could ask about what would happen if the card is fake. Good luck.

  3. Yeah, I tried to sell a car on Craigslist, and a couple hours after I published the post, I got an email that said something like this: “Hello, my name is “whoever”. I saw your Craigslist post about (the car’s year, make, and model), and I want to assure you that I’m happy with the price and everything about your car works fine for me. I am a U.S. Marine. We have a limited phone access, but we do have Internet access to talk to our family and take care of personal things, so I can’t come to purchase the car in person. I can transfer the money through paypal. If you don’t have paypal, it’s easy to set up, just click here( puts a link that says” And then says that he has a couple more questions about my car, but the weird thing is that all the questions he asked were about what I have already posted on Craigslist. Of course it was more official and twice as long as what I’ve written, but it was almost exactly like this. I mean, u can still trust people on Craigslist, but those scams are pretty easy to see. Some actual buyers something’s use emails, but u can know that they’re actual buyers because their messages aren’t long( usually a couple of sentences), and they usually ask to meet up and see the car.

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