Friday, July 18, 2008

Beware of the Craigslist Scammers

Thom and I got our first dose of wise-the-hell-up this week. We have been trying to literally give away this wheelchair ramp to no avail. We have called everyone and their non-profit brother to donate it to a needy individual and we haven't been able to get any takers. In our desperation to ditch the thing, we posted it on craigslist this past weekend just to sell it and get it over with.

I got several responses - one from a man who was extremely interested immediately (we were asking $500 for it based on others for sale on the list). He wanted a photo, which I found odd since there were already two on the ad. Then he wrote back saying he wanted it, that he was going to send us a check, and that he would arrange for it be picked up - all very plausible. It's 26 feet long and quite a monster - if the guy's in a wheelchair, he couldn't pick it up, right? I say, sure, here's our address and phone number to arrange for it to be picked up.

Then I get this email from him:

"Yeah i got your information..i will like to inform you that my assistant have mailed the payment to the address you gave me..So when you get it just take it to your bank and have it cashed then you will deduct your money and you will send the remaining balance to my shipper because the payment is made in excess just to make sure it covers shippment. I will provide you my shipping company info immediately you notify me that you've recieved the payment so that you can send the balance to them via money gram transfer..they will come over to your place with thier shipping truck to pick-up the item immediately they recieve the balance from you. Let me know if you're alright with this and i promise you will get the payment soonest.
Thanks for your understanding and patience."

I know, I know - it probably seems glaringly obvious to you that this was a scam but not only did he sound like he had a disability, he also didn't appear to speak English all that well (by the way, my 5th Grade Spelling Bee Championship implores that I mention that this is the exact email copied and pasted above - I would never use that grammar nor spell that atrociously). On top of all of this, this was our first time trying to sell something on craigslist and we were just plain naive about the whole thing.

After much hemming and hawing and multiple emails between Thom and me about this situation, I finally checked on craigslist and found this to be a very common scam that we very nearly fell for. I'm still waiting for this "check" to show up; it should be interesting. In the meantime, I contacted the Federal Trade Commission and reported it and forwarded his email (not that it was a real name or email address) but I feel better nonetheless.

So...anyone need a wheelchair ramp?

1 comment:

minhus said...

As if the Craigslist no shows weren't bad enough! I've never gotten a scammer, but I do always get a million people who are DYING to have whatever is for sale, then when I say ok it's yours, when do you want to pick it up they totally change their tune. Craigslist makes me batty.