Saturday, April 18, 2015

Seller Beware!! My Craigslist Experience: Scammers to the Left of Me, Scammers to the Right

I had never used Craigslist much for many reasons. One of them was the site is way too busy for me but the main reason was that I had heard it is full of scammers and crooks. Well I found out first hand that is true.

I decided to finally give Craigslist a chance and posted a couple of my sons guitars there to sell. I listed them a bit higher than I would accept because it is always best to work down, you can never work your way up.

My first sale experience was with a guitar I had listed for $300.00. I had an offer for $200.00 which I accepted. Then the buyer sent a message stating that she had other items she needed to purchase in my area and would be sending me a check for above my asking price if I would give that money to her "mover" when the guitar was picked up.  She said that she would pay me $100.00 for my trouble. I knew this was a scam but I played it out.  I waited patiently for the check she sent me knowing it would not be worth the paper it was printed on.

The day after the first sale I was excited when I received a message from a buyer wishing to purchase one of the guitars. I was asking $1200.00 and they offered $1000.00. I told them that I would accept that offer. So then they went on to tell me that they had sent me payment through Paypal and I needed to go to the link they provided and accept their offer. I was excited since it was Paypal but leery because they also said that there were other items they wanted to buy and added an extra $100.00 for my trouble if I would get money to their "mover" for them. Well, it all sounded fishy to me so I went to my Paypal account, not their link which did look legitimate. I did not find their deposit in my account. I let them know that I did not find the deposit when I went to Paypal directly. Surprise, I never heard from them again.

I did decide to click on the scammers Paypal link and it looked just like Paypal. That was as far as I went though because I knew it was a scam. The link to log in was there too and I am sure if I had put in my log in information they would have had it and would have hacked my Paypal account.

So back to the first buyer. I received a check via UPS two day mail for $2500.00 made out on an Insurance company account. That was of course another red flag! I played along though, I took the check to the bank and they told me just what I thought, it was not worth anything. They took a copy of the check to have on file.

I sent an e-mail the "buyer" and told her the check was not good. I never did get a response regarding my message but she did send me an e-mail asking me if I had gotten the check and then explained that she needed me to deposit the check, keep the amount for the guitar and an extra $100.00 for my trouble and then send the rest via Western Union to an address she provided.  Well at this point I replied again telling her that my bank would not even allow me to deposit the check because it was no good. I told her if she would send me a good check I would sent money to her "mover" once the check cleared my bank.

I did not hear anything back to so figured this was all over until I got a threatening e-mail telling me that she knows where I live and many other things. I told her I still had the check and she replied asking to see a copy of the check. I scanned it, covering up my address, and sent her a copy. That was the last I heard from her.

In the mean time I received another similar offer on one of the guitars. Fed up with the scams on Craigslist and the fact that they don't really protect against this type of thing, I removed all items and will never deal with that site again in any way, shape or form. If the people running the site were more diligent at having rules on the site this type of thing might not happen. I've never had an issue such as this on eBay.

Not too long after the threatening letter my bank called me asking for all information I had on this scam.  I gladly gave it to them. I have it all gathered together and plan to turn it over to authorities once I figure out who I need to turn it over to.

Seller beware of Craigslist and beware of anyone who wants you to deposit money and then send them money via Western Union. It is a scam!