Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We’ve always had really great luck selling (and buying) on craigslist. I’ve really never dealt with attempted fraud on there, although I know it’s rampant. As a “buy local” marketplace, it works very, very well – but when the buyers are not local it must be a free-for-all for scammers. Craigslist just cautions BUYER BEWARE/SELLER BEWARE and BUY LOCAL. It doesn’t have tools in place to help keep buyers and sellers safer like eBay does. I put this oil painting up for sale, something I painted in the 1970s, based on this old 1951 cigarette ad on the right with Joan Crawford. Got interested responses right off the bat, making me really happy, so I sent them my phone number. Nobody called, but I got these emails from the same people the next day:
Hello I really appreciate your response to my email.I want you to consider it sold, pls do withdraw the advert from craigslist to avoid disturbance from another buyer.I want you to know that i will be paying via bank certified check .I will like you to provide me with the following.information to facilitate the mailing of the check to you .

1.....Full name to write on the check
2.....Full Physical address to post the check (NOT P.O BOX)
3.....City, State and Zip Code
4.....Home & Cell Phone to contact you

*** Note that the payment will be shipped to your address via UPS NEXT DAY SERVICE and I will like you to know that you will not be responsible for shipping i will have my mover come over as soon as you have cashed the check** Thanks i can trust you on this so we can move forward from here. Regards

Thanks for getting back to me. I'm currently in UK and want to ship the item down here. There won't be any problem with the shipment 'cos my shipping broker will handle all necessary things,I will like to know the current condition and will appreciate it if you can send me some recent pictures Let me know.


Hi are you having any troubles?

I did some research using teh google. The first response is the same as one I saw someone reporting on a forum somewhere, discussing this type of scam - verbatim! Well, it seemed pretty much like a form letter. The second one is more chit-chatty, and I was tempted to pursue it maybe as long as the buyer would use Paypal. The wise MrB counseled against going to step 2 even with that one, mainly because it (like the first response) mentions a shipping broker/mover.

Now, apparently what happens is that the buyer sends a (fake) cashier's check - a very trusted form of exchange - but a couple of weeks later in this case, the bank wants you to make the check good. When the buyer offers to use PayPal, they send you a fake PayPal email receipt (at least in this case you can check your PayPal account to see if the money is there or if a transaction has happened, but apparently many people don't go that extra step of checking it), and if you click through the receipt and enter your login info, then you've been scammed that way.

The shipping broker fraud kicks in when the seller pays you x-amount over the cost of the item for shipping, then you pay the shipper that amount when they come and pick it up. Since they have paid you with bogus money and you have paid the shipping with real money, you've lost that money AND your item.

That third response I got was just weird. I'm not touching it. I edited my ad to say that I would only sell local for cash - but am about to pull the thing off there and go with eBay... maybe eBay sell local. I'd hate to package up a 3-ft oil painting. What a pain in the butt.


WeezieLou said...

wow. good to know, but sorry for your experience! i also use craigslist a lot, but primarily to announce an online support group i participate in. it reaches a lot of people - oh, i LOVE the painting.

Blueberry said...

Thank you!
I think I am going to try eBay. They have a sell local option.

Th' Rev said...

very nice rendering Blue...