Craigslist question: Am I just paranoid or do you see a red flag from this buyer?

44 replies
I haven't sold anything on Craigslist before and have heard about the scams. I also looked at some of the scam email messages posted at CL. Do you guys see any red flags below? What worries me is I see some of the same language in this email as the ones that Craigs lists shows. However, they aren't paying with a money order. I'm probably just being paranoid and brain dead in my old age. :-)

Hello,

Thanks for the swift response, just to let you know that am okay with the condition and price of the item, am ready for its purchase and my form of payment will be by sending you Check via UPS next day delivery.
I'll be responsible for the pick-up and the pick up money will be included in your payment to avoid delay and to enable pick up company to schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your location after check has been cashed,as i have other properties to be moved alongside with yours.

I would have really love to come for the viewing but due to my work frame that might not be possible,but if you have the pics,might want to have a good look. Please do get back to me with your full name and address including your cell and land number so i can make out payment.

Regards.
#buyer #craigslist #flag #paranoid #question #red
  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Hi Tim,

    Long time no see.

    Lol I wouldn't accept payment that way with anyone I didn't know. That's one red flag right there for me.


    Mary
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Hi Mary

      How come? Duh. :-)

      Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

      Hi Tim,

      Long time no see.

      Lol I wouldn't accept payment that way with anyone I didn't know. That's one red flag right there for me.


      Mary
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    ROTFLMBO!

    You know why.

    Seriously, there are actually a couple of things in that quote that can set off red flags if people take the time to notice.

    The main one as I mentioned earlier was the biggie for me. It sounded like one of those spam mails I get quite often in my inbox lol.

    You know the ones that say they'll ship you xxxxxxxx.xx by Fedex. Uhu ...


    Mary
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      lol. But they say I can cash the check first and then make arrangments to ship it. What would the scam be?

      Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

      ROTFLMBO!

      You know why.

      Seriously, there are actually a couple of things in that quote that can set off red flags if people take the time to notice.

      The main one as I mentioned earlier was the biggie for me. It sounded like one of those spam mails I get quite often in my inbox lol.

      You know the ones that say they'll ship you xxxxxxxx.xx by Fedex. Uhu ...


      Mary
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      • Profile picture of the author Ebbi
        Originally Posted by TimPhelan View Post

        lol. But they say I can cash the check first and then make arrangments to ship it. What would the scam be?
        Can't really see what your bothered with if your allowed to cash the
        check first and then make arrangements to ship it!

        I believe you answered your own question there... Make him send the
        check and cash it, if everything goes well send him the item.

        I would say you have a 100% guarantee that you won't lose any money
        and you won't lose your item

        Ebbi
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by TimPhelan View Post

        lol. But they say I can cash the check first and then make arrangments to ship it. What would the scam be?
        WHY would they Allow you to cash the check first? That would EASILY take 10 days to 32 days! MAYBE even 47 days! Are you safe even THEN!?!?!? I had a GOOD check declined after almost SIXTY days! (BTW, MY definition of cashing the check is to get cash for the CHECK!(That is from THEIR bank) Banks generally pay you based on the PROMISE that the check is good. If it isn't good, they will LATER debit your account.) The wording indicates they are foreign, so a full transaction would take LONGER!

        What *I* would do, worst case, is ask for COD! HOPEFULLY, the shipper will guarantee payment. THEY should appreciate that, because THEN they don't even have to wait the 2 days.

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Allen
    Stay clear of responses like that Tim!

    It's got "scam' written all over it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ArTsYwRiTeR
    Well, a lot of scam posting on CL so be careful on every transaction.
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  • Profile picture of the author Emailrevealer
    Its a scam. A very common one. The check is fake. You deposit it, a portion clears , you send the item then the bank tells you the check is fake and they want their money back.

    This is a classic CL scam.
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    • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
      Originally Posted by Emailrevealer View Post

      Its a scam. A very common one. The check is fake. You deposit it, a portion clears , you send the item then the bank tells you the check is fake and they want their money back.

      This is a classic CL scam.

      That's it exactly!

      I think a number of people don't know about this scam, particularly if they are new online users.


      Tim,

      Look at the comment above.


      Mary
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  • Profile picture of the author obiswill
    I think you're over thinking it. Once you receive the check you have 2 immediate things you can do for due diligence.

    1. Contact the issuing bank and verify the account info and funds availability.
    2. If that checks out, deposit the check and wait for the check to clear.

    Someone trying to defraud you won't pass both of those test.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ebbi
      Originally Posted by obiswill View Post

      I think you're over thinking it. Once you receive the check you have 2 immediate things you can do for due diligence.

      1. Contact the issuing bank and verify the account info and funds availability.
      2. If that checks out, deposit the check and wait for the check to clear.

      Someone trying to defraud you won't pass both of those test.
      Good point Oviswill!
      If I were you I would go for it and see if it's a scam or not!
      Just for the fun of it, just do it safely and use the advice you got
      here to help you along the way!

      Both me and Oviswill talk about ways to protect your self but then
      someone comments on that his is a scam and you jump on it!

      I think you have kinda already made up your mind on this one

      Personally I would give this a shot just for the fun of it and if it's solid
      you actually make money from it!

      Ebbi
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  • Profile picture of the author Pete Egeler
    Biggest scam in the world.. "You can cash the check first".

    If you have a regular bank account, the bank will give you the money at once. The problem comes 10 days or so after you've shipped, and your bank suddenly lets you know that the "check" was made of solid rubber.

    Personally, I'd think twice about dealing with this individual.

    Pete
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      OK, there's the scam. Thanks Pete and also everyone else who answered.

      Originally Posted by Pete Egeler View Post

      Biggest scam in the world.. "You can cash the check first".

      If you have a regular bank account, the bank will give you the money at once. The problem comes 10 days or so after you've shipped, and your bank suddenly lets you know that the "check" was made of solid rubber.

      Personally, I'd think twice about dealing with this individual.

      Pete
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      • Profile picture of the author Money on the Side
        Here's the scam...

        You agree to sell the item...which, by the way, they don't want at all in the first place.

        They then send you a check, which is usually from a big U.S. company that they say is a partner with them. But...the check you received is for a few hundred or a few thousand more than your selling price.

        They ask that you cash the check, take your proceeds, and send them the rest (along with the item).

        The check will pass because it willbe from a good account (like Home Depot, Wal Mart, etc). The bank will give you the money because the account is good.

        A few weeks down the road, the big company will notify the bank that the check was bad...and the bank will be coming to you (and calling the police for the forged check you uttered). And, you will be on the hook for everything.


        Originally Posted by TimPhelan View Post

        OK, there's the scam. Thanks Pete and also everyone else who answered.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ebbi
          Originally Posted by killercopy View Post

          Here's the scam...

          You agree to sell the item...which, by the way, they don't want at all in the first place.

          They then send you a check, which is usually from a big U.S. company that they say is a partner with them. But...the check you received is for a few hundred or a few thousand more than your selling price.

          They ask that you cash the check, take your proceeds, and send them the rest (along with the item).

          The check will pass because it willbe from a good account (like Home Depot, Wal Mart, etc). The bank will give you the money because the account is good.

          A few weeks down the road, the big company will notify the bank that the check was bad...and the bank will be coming to you (and calling the police for the forged check you uttered). And, you will be on the hook for everything.
          I would think there's a way to see if the check is good or not!
          Can't the bank or just 'you' call the bank that's controlling the
          bank account and see if it all works out?

          I can't believe that in 2008 something like this can be done!!!
          If so, maybe it's something Mr. Obama should get his hands on

          Ebbi
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  • Profile picture of the author ifarzoo
    yea, i would keep my hands of it
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Sol
    Even if the check clears - you might find out, a week later that it was fake...

    Anyways, when I have to deal with these things, I tell them to send a check, I throw it away, write them an email that I never received it, they send another one... I throw it away once again and block their email address
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    looks fishy. What amount we're dealing here with?

    ADD: Don't even touch this with a long pole, as others said...SCAM <--- all over it
    (Looks like you're selling a house or something...)
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      $500.

      I didn't mean to discount those who suggested to try it. I just got a weird feeling about the email. I also did a reverse email lookup and found that the state of the owner of the address is in Virginia. I live in California. They also didn't leave a name. All together, it looks bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author ndev2k
    On the face of this it looks a pretty good deal. But then you have to think to yourself why would anyone who hasn't even seen the item want to pay for it in full and pay shipping without even asking any questions.

    If it were myself selling the item the first thing I would do would be to send a polite thanks but no thanks and see if you receive any reply. The fact that they ask for full address and phone numbers could mean they may be attempting some ID Theft which would then probably cause you more problems than a rubber check.

    Stay well clear.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Originally Posted by ndev2k View Post

      On the face of this it looks a pretty good deal. But then you have to think to yourself why would anyone who hasn't even seen the item want to pay for it in full and pay shipping without even asking any questions.

      If it were myself selling the item the first thing I would do would be to send a polite thanks but no thanks and see if you receive any reply. The fact that they ask for full address and phone numbers could mean they may be attempting some ID Theft which would then probably cause you more problems than a rubber check.

      Stay well clear.
      Yeh, that thought crossed my mind also. I see red flags all over the place now. Thanks guys.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
        Hi Tim and everyone,

        Thank you for your explanation of the background of this check scam maneuver. I lost $1050 USD on a manner like this, so I'll don't accept pay by check in the future, because I want to avoid the headache what entails this.

        Cheers,

        Sandor
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  • Profile picture of the author Dixiebelle
    Why don't you use the most simple method of all - ask for a cashier's check for the exact amount, and tell him you will ship the item C.O.D.

    Before you deposit it, ask the teller at your bank to call the other bank and make sure it is not forged. Then deposit it. That way the bank cannot come back to you if they made the mistake.

    Then ship the item C.O.D. The buyer will pay the charges when it arrives, since you have already collected his money.

    Problem solved.

    Dixie
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  • Profile picture of the author Jessica Lynn
    Everytime my boyfriend lists a high ticket item on CL he gets this email or a variation of it.

    If I were you I wouldn't even bother responding to this "buyer".
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  • Profile picture of the author Emailrevealer
    Hey Killer the "overpayment/ partial refund scam" is a bit different.
    This one is just a counterfeit check that uses a real account # that the Nigerian got from the standard 419 scam where they ask for your bank account because they want to send you 10 million dollars.

    BTW these scams are still called nigerian scams but I investigate these email scams all the time and more and more they trace back to people in the states .
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  • Profile picture of the author rafnie
    I've bought and sold on Craigslist and I only accepted cash only. That would save you some headache in case checks bounces. Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author agoodsaid
    Yep it's a no go -- make them Paypal the check and once it clears there you'll know you're okay (I say that and something makes me now want to go check Paypal's policies -- arrgghh). 'Spect they'll have a reason they can't do that too though ;-)

    Like the thread - you probably just saved lots of people from getting ripped off.

    Andrea
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Originally Posted by agoodsaid View Post

      Like the thread - you probably just saved lots of people from getting ripped off.

      Andrea
      I hope it did/does.

      BTW, here's the craigslist page on scams with their email examples:

      craigslist | about > scams
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott_Thomas
    Definitely a SCAM! First clue is the odd language that is used and reference to "the item" instead of what you are specifically selling. Also, why would someone send a check overnight via UPS? Regarding the check, the hope is they get whatever they need from you (which could be your product, your identity, etc.) while the check is in the clearing stage. When you cash/deposit the "check" you may think everything is fine. But, it may take several days for the check to actually clear and if it doesn't you get penalized!

    If it looks wierd and you get a gut feeling about a response, go with your gut and move along to a real buyer.

    Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author greenovni
    Scam- They will send you a fake Versa check that you will cash (probably for a larger amount)

    Then tell you that it was a mistake, to send them the item and the overpay...

    A few weeks later, you receive a letter from your bank telling you that the check was fake/bounced and your account will be overdrawn for the amount of the check.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Just use some common sense. Who is buying a fairly high-ticket item from someone they don't know on Craigslist, without wanting to see it or talk to you about it, without asking any questions, being willing to send payment and trust you? Plus it says "the item" rather than whatever the thing actually is.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Yeh, I agree.
      Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

      Just use some common sense. Who is buying a fairly high-ticket item from someone they don't know on Craigslist, without wanting to see it or talk to you about it, without asking any questions, being willing to send payment and trust you? Plus it says "the item" rather than whatever the thing actually is.
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    • Profile picture of the author TE2
      Tim,

      As many have stated, it's a Scam. You'll be on the hook for the funds once the bank determines later that it was a bad check.

      Tell them you want the fund via Western Union. I am sure the scammer will immediately come up with a reason they can't use WU to pay.

      Don't provide any personal information to them - Be careful,

      John
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      • Profile picture of the author Emailrevealer
        Originally Posted by TE2 View Post

        Tim,

        As many have stated, it's a Scam. You'll be on the hook for the funds once the bank determines later that it was a bad check.

        Tell them you want the fund via Western Union. I am sure the scammer will immediately come up with a reason they can't use WU to pay.

        Don't provide any personal information to them - Be careful,

        John
        I can tell you exactly what they will say.
        If you ask for WU they will say that CL recommends not to use WU because that's a sign of a scam. They will then accuse you of trying to scam them and offer to send the check again.
        Try it you'll see.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Originally Posted by proapc View Post

      I use Escrow.com ...problems solved.
      That's a thought. However, all things considered, I'm not going to even bother replying. It looks pretty obvious to me now that it isn't legit. It should have sooner but I think I just wanted to sell this item.
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    • Profile picture of the author robseko
      Originally Posted by proapc View Post

      I use Escrow.com ...problems solved.
      Most online escrow sites are *fraudulent*, operated by scammers. Check the escrow site that it is really Escrow.com before you enter the transaction.
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  • Profile picture of the author sannyman
    Dear Tim, dear all,

    If you allow me, please let me give you a (proven) advice, but before going forward, let me tell you a short story. One year and a half ago, I was looking for a 7" / 1 DIN in car GPS,TV,DVD,Radio. The only one that was an "open box" item at a bargain price, I found it on ebay. The problem was that the seller was living in Dubai, EAD and of course he was asking for ALL the money in advance.
    Unfortunately, the transaction was not qualifying for escrow.com, so I had to make a real market research in order to get the best prices for the escrow service.
    So the answer was moneybookers.com. I've dealt with the seller and he accepted to be paid this way. So, I made the payment, specifying the value for the item AND the value for the shipping. Moneybookers allowed the seller to get the shipping fees and blocked the rest of it. On my side, I had up to 7 days to inspect the item and either return or accept it.
    Finally I accepted it because it was OK and only after that the seller got his money.
    Everything went smooth and actually we are now friends...
    So, as a general rule, if the seller will accept the escrow service, definitely it is not a scam.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nelson
    You are NOT paranoid. Anytime someone contacts you on CL and refers to what you're selling as "the item," it's a scam! If it is legit, you always get emails where the prospective buyer mentions what the item is directly.
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  • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
    I get the feeling 'suspect' from that email because of the method of payment. if someone can send you a check then they could get a cashiers check just as easily. Also, not to be biased, but broken English emails have often been big scams in the past.
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  • Profile picture of the author mymarketingsecret
    It is a scam seen these type of responses before do not go ahead with this you will be sorry later.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobsstuff
    I get this same email on physical products on craigslist. Not quite identical wording, but almost.
    My reply is ALWAYS, come on by with CASH and it is yours.
    On ebay I expect to ship proudcts. On Craigslist, I expect people to put cash in my hand
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    Bob Hale
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