Craigslist PayPal Scam
I’m replying to your post on craigslist for your listed item,is it still up for sale?
Let me know.
This legitimate-looking email came from Sara Jason <skittysara2 [at] gmail [dot] com>. Generic enough — nothing to be concerned about. I replied: “Yes.”
Good day ,
I’m much interested in buying it, I want it for my cousin.. So am willing to offer you $420 plus shipping via USPS (EMS) express mail to him, he schools in a missionary in Nigeria and I’m presently out of town a the moment so you’ll arrange for the shipping handling..Get back to me as soon as you can so I can arrange to send the money through my paypal account,so send me your paypal account address so i can send you the money there… I’ll wait your reply.
I just came across the site FakeChecks.org.
They have videos where a guy tries to pull Internet scams in real life. They’re ridiculous, and he does it in such a way that it’s obviously fake.
The goal of the site is to prevent these scams from tricking people. But I think these videos are actually a disservice, because of the exaggerated way they are done. People fall for these scams because they seem reasonable. The scammers often won’t contact you not unsolicited, but rather in response to something you have for sale, on Craigslist for example. In the videos, the guy posing as a scammer approaches people out of nowhere, a complete stranger, and makes very little attempt to establish a connection beforehand. And the offer itself is just ridiculous. $70,000 when people are buying fruits at a grocery stand? For a car, maybe. Or a house. But not in that context.
Sure, the videos are meant to be ridiculous. They’re meant to showcase the absurdity of it. But based on these videos, people will think that the scams are easy to identify. It’s easy to think that you need only be careful of obviously fake checks of ridiculous amounts.
The scammers will choose smaller amounts. It is still easily worth it to them.
In these countries, people earn less than $200 a month at a full-time job. Spending lots of time on an elaborate scam is easily within reason for them.
And, of course, these things don’t happen in real life. They happen online. So when this guy tries using Internet scams in real life, it’s obvious they won’t work (although they do work in just 1 rare instance). There are real-life scammers, too. But they adapt to the situation.
People are spending more and more time online. And people are being born every day, unaware of the risks and the scams. They don’t teach this in school. Common sense is not common.
The online scams are far trickier than the real-life ones.
If you post an ad on Craigslist, there are lots of legitimate people who may contact you.
But there are also lots of scammers, too.
Use Craigslist for any significant period of time, and you will definitely get an email from a scammer. Guaranteed. No question about it. Scammers blanket email everyone who lists something of any significant value (more than $100) on Craigslist.
I got a fake money order from someone on Craigslist, who asked me to wire some portion of the money back to him. I didn’t even bother depositing the money order (or cashier’s check), because I knew it had to be fake.
But you cannot tell by its appearance.
It exactly duplicates a legitimate cashier’s check.
Physically, there is no difference whatsoever.
The bank can’t even tell. In fact, the check will “clear”. But that does not mean it was good.
Weeks or months later, the bank will discover it was a bad check, and take the money back.
In the case of “Sara”, above, it’s a PayPal scam.
If you accept, you’ll receive a legitimate-looking email from “PayPal” saying that the funds have been received and secured, and they are waiting for you in escrow. You just need to verify your account info (or some personal info) to receive them. A bit of a twist, and no fake check involved this time. But still a scam, this time of a type that would be classified as a phishing scam.
There are some good parts to the FakeChecks.org site, like the Victim Interviews. Some of them are actually quite interesting. If you don’t already consider yourself an expert on Internet scams, they’re definitely worth a watch.