Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Scam Artists In My Internet!

The shame! Yesterday morning I put our sofa, chair-and-a-half, ottoman and two sets of slipcovers for it for sale on craigslist. Within an hour I got an email from harry_flex07@yahoo.com:

"Hello,how are you doing today?i will like to know if the item is avialable for sale.

And it is right below the big header that craigslist puts on all email sent through their system:

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

Well, there are a lot of scam flags in the email (generic message, no mention of name of actual item, bad spelling and grammar--and what's up with that? Why do most of the scam/spam emails you get have horrible spelling and grammar? Is it because they are written by non-native speakers of English or just by criminal anti-masterminds?), but I reply anyway:

"Hi Harry,

Yes, the items are all still for sale--we just listed them today.


Now I shouldn't have put my name in the message, but there might have been a chance the message was legitimate (and pigs will fly out my...).

So I get a reply this morning:

"Hello i really appreciate your response to my earlier mail.like i said i will like to buy this item am okay with the price of $1580,i will add $50 for you to withdraw the advert from craigslist. I will also like you to know that i will be paying via cashiers check or money orders .I will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check or money orders.
1.Your full name
2.Your mailing address be it residential or postal address
3.Your phone number.
I will like you to know that you will not be responsible for
shipping i will have my shippers come over as soon as you have cashed the cashiers check or money orders.
Have a nice day.

I snort into my coffee as I read his email. Yeah, right. He will pay me for the privilege of owning my used sofa. So I write back:

"Hi Harry,

Thanks for the reply. Sadly, the terms are unacceptable (see the craigslist advisory). Geez, Harry, do you think I'm a moron? Have a nice day!"

Now I wait for the American Kidney Fund to come and get all the VHS tapes, old PC software (including over 20 classic games like Quake, Neverwinter Nights, Thief and Max Payne), J's too-small clothes and shoes (I can't say "old" because I still have a lot of clothes from my graduate school days in the late 80's...), a 100 cd changer, a joystick, the ruthlessly-culled tupperware, books, blocks, Duplo... you get the picture.


Bill Paley said...

My God! A Craigslist bonanza!

Anonymous said...

I just got the same emails, from someone using a name with the initials T.H. They looked suspicious, but I wasn't quite sure because there are many non-native english speakers near me, so I googled and yahoo!ed some of the phrases from the email to see if anything comes up. Your blog was the only hit! I'm glad you wrote about it.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I just got the same message, pretty much verbatim. I'm considering giving them the IC3 hotline number as the contact number.