Craigslist: Where the capitalists and scambags come together
The wife and I are moving the family to a smaller (though cooler) house in January, so we've been selling quite a bit of furniture on Craigslist. In less than 48 hours, we've sold three items. Awesome.
But I also received this email in response to two of our listings, from "Mr James Ben" at firstname.lastname@example.org:
"Could you kindly get back to me, if this item is still available for sale, As i am interested in buying
I replied that, yes, they were still available. Then again came two identical emails, this time from "Mr J Benson" at email@example.com:
"Thanks for the prompt response. I have instructed my
account officer to mail (overnight) a certified
check, while you hold this item for me. Let me know
when you receive the check and I will have my mover
will come pick up at your place. Please forward me
the following info so I can issue your check . . .
1.Your full name
2.Your mailing address(Physical as Ups does not deliver to P.O.Box}
3.Your phone number.
** Please note that I will overnight the payment,and
you should receive it tomorrow. I appreciate you
holding this for me. Please delete the posting as I
am definitely buying it from you and it would be sad
for me to have the payment in the mail only to be
informed of the its sale also am deaf and will like to be contacted via
In case you couldn't tell from the fishy smell wafting from this post, this is a scam. How does it work? Here's what happened to one woman in Hawaii: "The buyer agreed to purchase the furniture for $230. She said she would send a check for $2,452 and asked the seller to deposit the check in the bank, deduct $230 and then send back the balance via Western Union. She said she would send a male friend to Western Union to pick up the check because she couldn’t leave the house. The seller agreed with the arrangement. After sending a check for the balance through Western Union, she learned that the original check was bogus."
I received a similar "offer" from another person, regarding something else we were selling.
Craigslist is a great place to buy and sell used stuff, and to interact with criminals -- something few of us get to do on a regular basis. Fascinating.
Robert Brokamp is the senior advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service.