Avoiding CraigsList Scammers

Recently, I’ve taken to checking out the Craig’s List car sales listings (in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area). It’s been a lot of fun learning about the different makes and models, their reliability, durability, and resale value. One thing that hasn’t been fun, however, has been the constant presence of scammers on the site. That’s why the purpose of this post is to educate you on how to spot and avoid a scam (as a buyer) on Craig’s List (as well as on eBay). I’ll be covering some different incarnations of the most common type of scam, including what to look for.

The Basics of a Scam
The scam I’ll be covering is fairly basic. It involves the buyer (you) looking for a large ticket item and the seller (scammer) selling it for very low price. When you communicate with the scammer to tell him you’re interested, he tells you that he’s had to move out of the country (usually because of work) and because of one reason or another (usually “taxes and emissions”) he can’t keep the car and he’s willing to sell it at a loss, even going so far as to pay for the shipping. Note that during this time, the scammer rarely discloses his name and is never, for one reason or another, able (or willing) to meet face to face.

Scam Type #1
The first incarnation of this scam is the simplest one, and is the most common. It involves the seller being out of state, selling the car for ultra-cheap, willing to pay the shipping, and usually includes a link to some phony escrow service. Example:

Myself:

Dear sir;

I am writing response to your advertisement of a Gold 2002 Honda Accord LX with 64,000 miles for $3990 (http://miami.craigslist.org/car/208969432.html). I am interested in the vehicle and would like to make an appointment with you to view it. I am located in Plantation, just north of 595 and University.

Thank you,
Norbert Cartagena

Note that in either the advertisement or response, the seller should be the one providing the phone number. It is not uncouth to ask. You may also provide your phone number, but that opens up an entire set of security concerns I’d rather not address here. Here was his response:

From Matt McQuinn [mattiqn@gmail.com]

Hello. The car has a clear title (NOT SALVAGED). It runs great and looks great, no problems at all. It is currently located in New Providence, NJ.
I have divorced my wife a while ago and because we couldn’t agree on the assets we had obtained during our marriage, we are selling out most of them. In order for this to be done, I have entrusted Vehicle Globe to handle the deal for me. The price for the car is $3990 shipping included.
So if you want to make the deal, register at www.vhglobe.com, in order for you to get a 5-day inspection period prior buying the car.

Sincerely,
Matt McQuinn

A few observations: First, scammers will always email from a free email provider. That way it’s almost impossible to track them, unless there’s a warrant out for them (and solicitation with intent to defraud should be enough to get the FBI on their case). Second, notice the construct of the situation: it’s common to all scams. The guy is getting rid of the car that cheap because [X] reason. He’s “unable” to meet because he’s out of the state (you could always offer to fly there, and I’ll discuss what happens if you do that later.) In this one, the scammer has either chosen an existing escrow service he’s familiar with or he’s built the page himself. In either case, he’s already raised a number of flags, including:

  • Ultra-low cost
  • inability to meet face to face
  • solicitation for an escrow service (a non-traceable method of cash payment) — Prior to even inspection! (that’s a bonus flag)

Now, a quick visit to the escrow page (vhglobe.com) reveals a rather nice, professional Web page. If this guy’s a scammer, at least he knows a little bit about Web design. To verify the validity of the page, I go to GoDaddy.com and run a search on the page. Turns out VHGlobe.com is taken, but on further inspection it looks like the page has been registered by a company called “Domains by Proxy”, located in Arizona, so there’s no way I’d be able to know who really owns the page, how long they’ve owned it or how I could track them down. Not the kind of people I want to do business with, would you?

Anyway, with alarms going off all over the place, this is one of the most basic and common scams. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most effective. Finally, here’s another scam of the same type:

From Lynda Star [Star.Lynda@gmail.com]

Hello
I have been promoted at my work and they sent me to Toronto,Canada,the car is with me.
The car has a clean title it is in very good mechanical and physical condition. And it’s an american car.
I have tryed to register it here but the fees are to expensive and it isn’t a very good deal for me. [Those wacky Canadians and their envionmental laws… I hear Sweden’s got the same problem – G]
So i have decided to sell it to US, I need a very fast and clean sale because I decided to buy another car here and I need to secure the downpaymnet for the other car, this is why the car’s price is so low I want to be sure that I sell it fast.
Being a new employee here,I have to dedicate myself to work and i do
not have a lot of time to meet every client, [Inability/Unwillingness to meet – G] so i decided to use an escrow company,and they will take care of the transaction. [Oh, how original. – G]
If you are interested in buing the car, please register to www.autosellworld.com and send me your username so i can start the deal, for the car to be shipped to you to have it inspected, after both of us agree the terms.
After you register I will tell you everything about the car and about the deal details.
Thank you

Notice that there’s absolutely no way to even start checking out the car until after you register. Why couldn’t she tell me about the car before I registered? I thought that was just common courtesy? Remember: information is power.

(As a side note: I told this scammer that I would actually be flying into Toronto the next day, so I could see the car in person: no need for shipping or escrow. I even went so far as go do a Google Maps search of the downtown area and tell the scammer the areas I planned to be in. I think that email made its way into a trash bin somewhere because I’ve yet to receive a reply.)

[hmtad name=”120×600 Skyscraper Within Articles” align=”floatleft”]Scam Type #2
This second type of scam is what I’d like to call “truth by proxy”, where a scammer convinces you that his sale is legit because it’s also listed somewhere else. In this case, it was also listed on eBay. This was one of the first scams I ran into, which threw me for a bit of a loop until I dropped by the eBay forums for some help. Let’s watch!

Myself

I’m interested in the vehicle advertised. I would like to know the following:

1) VIN number
2) Where are you located? I would be interested in viewing this vehicle as soon as is convenient.

You may reach me via email or contact my at my cell phone.

Thank you,
Norbert Cartagena

From Michelle [michellef22f@yahoo.se]

Hello and sorry for the delay,

The 2001 VOLVO S40 is in perfect working condition never been involved in accident or something like that. The car is in the best shape ever, CLEAR and CLEAN TITLE a great history and mechanically without any problems ever. The only problem is that I had to move with my family in Sweden where I got a new job as a construction engineer. I brought the car here with me with the intention of driving it but when I found out about the very high import duties and all the restrictions regarding registration and emissions tests here I have made up my mind and decided to sell the vehicle. The amount you will have to pay in order to own this vehicle is
$3500 with shipping costs included!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MY CAR PLEASE GO TO: http://www.ebay.se/viItem?ItemId=110033039681 here you will find more pictures with my car. As you can see the car is also listed on ebay.

I will wait for your email to let me know if you are interested in knowing more details about the purchase.

Regards,
Michelle.

Hmm… Why was a lady from Sweden advertising her can on CraigsList in the Miami area if it’s already on eBay? Hmm…

Ok, so here we have some of the same details as before: job moved person off to far away land where taxes and emissions are too restrictive. (Funny enough, the environmental restrictions in Sweden were supposedly too high for even a Volvo, a Swedish car!) Additionally, she’s willing to sell the car cheap (a $10,000 car for $3,500) and include shipping — FROM EUROPE — out of pocket. Scammy, scammy, scammy!

Now, here’s what threw me for a loop: I’m not all that familiar with eBay. I just haven’t used it all that much! So, hearing that something was listed on eBay made me wonder whether this thing was real or not. My problem was that she gave me the Swedish page (a “.se” domain) as opposed to the English page (a “.com” domain). What I didn’t know at the time was that eBay items are accessible to everyone from every country and that I could have simply searched for the item number on the English eBay site and found the item (or, alternately, I could have simply switched the “.se” in the address to a “.com”.) Good move on her part to obfuscate her intentions and pray on my inexperience by using a foreign page. What was I to do?

This was my reply to her:

Ah, so the car’s in Europe. Wow. Sorry to hear that. As a rule, I make it a point to drive the car before I decide whether to purchase. That said, I’m not sure I feel particularly comfortable buying a car and having it shipped here. If the car was in the US I’d be able to simply close the deal face to face. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Of couse, she’s a scammer, and a persistent one at that. This was her reply:

Hi again,

As I said in my first email the car is currently located in Sweden and it will be shipped from here with Lufthansa Air Cargo and will be on your door in 5 max 7 days. It will be fully insured against damages.Total price of the car including all shipping costs and insurance all the way to your place is $3500.

The most important thing in all my activity here is that I am affiliated with eBay where I have a Purchase Protection Account for $20,000 . Ebay is the insurer
of this transaction by using a certified third party to insure that both parties comply to transaction requirements. So i want a safe deal and I want to end
this transaction through eBay’s Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection.

Below I’m trying to explain to you how this payment method works:

1. You must send me your full name and your shipping address so I let eBay’s Motors know that you are interested.
2. I will send your details to eBay’s Motors and you will be contacted by them.
3. You will make the payment of $3500 to eBay’s Motors .Free shipping..(the car will be on your door in 5 max 7 days)
4. When i will have their confirmation, i will ship you the car.

After you will receive the car,you will have 7 days for inspection. The eBay’s Motors will hold the payment until you will send them your confirmation that you are satisfied with the car. When they will receive your confirmation they will release the payment to me. If the car is not as I told you or have some problems, or is not as described, they will refund you 100%. There is no RISC in this deal. I don’t touch your money until you receive and inspect the car. So, if you are still intersted please give me your full name and shipping address so I can open a transaction case and they will contact you for further details and instructions. I have a few guys interested so I will need a prompt answer from you!

Regards,

Michelle.

Persistent for someone about to essentially give away a car. This is where I started really wondering about all this. I thought eBay never got involved in transactions, they just facilitated them? Was this real? I had to find out. I logged onto the eBay Community Answer Forums for Auction Listings and did some research. After not finding my answer that way, I decided to simply ask them my question, and hoped they wouldn’t make too much fun of me. In no time I got my answer: they all agreed this had “SCAM” written all over it. Here’s the most important reply I got back:

Hi,

Deals on eBay are between the seller and the buyer. Payments are not made to eBay and No one at eBay motors will be contacting you about this.

It is a scam and needs to be reported.

To keep yourself safe, read these. Very helpful information here.

http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=red-flags

While asking in the forums, I finally figured out that all eBay sites are inter-related, and was able to see the page in English, which confirmed that this was a total scam: payment was to be done via wire transfer or Western Union, both of which are huge no-no’s, as well as every other red flag showed up here. I ceased communication with the scammer at this point.

Scam Type #3
The last type of scam I’ll be covering is simply one in which greater attention is paid to detail than in any of the previous two. That’s because the scammer can actually supply information about the vehicle as well as addresses and phone numbers (though not willingly). Since most of this information isn’t new, I won’t spend much time on commentary until the end, where things get interesting:

Myself

To whom it may concern;

I am writing response to your advertisement of the BMW 740IL on CraigsList.com. [The car was listed for a criminally low $5800 – G] I’m very interested in the auto and would like to speak to you further regarding the vehicle. I am located in Fort Lauderdale, FL and would be available to view the vehicle at your convenience. I would be ready to make a decission immediately.

Thank you,
Norbert Cartagena

From jdonlinez@yahoo.com [*This person never told me a name]

Hi,
The car is available at the price of $5800 because I am out of country due to my work for a couple of months and I can’t use the car anymore.The car is in perfect condition, no dents or scratches in the paint,no accidents or mechanical problems,the title is clean. The car is in Dallas,TX at the shipping company.

Let me know.

From Me:

No problem. No shipping would be necessary as I would be able to travel there to pick up the car myself. I would be grateful if you could supply me the following information:

1) VIN number of the vehicle
2) Mileage: You mentioned ~58,000 in the ad. Is that correct?

I would need to schedule a mechanic to go to the car’s location and examine the vehicle before I arrived. If the car is in good order I would be ready to travel there to purchase it. (All transactions would be face-to-face). As such, I would need to know the location of the vehicle so that I could send the mechanic over, as well as a contact phone number where the mechanic could call to set up a time to examine the vehicle.

Finally, I would need your name, since currently all I have to go on is JDonlinez.

Thank you,
Norbert Cartagena

From jdonlinez@yahoo.com

Hi,
The address is:Texas Shipping
Address:14203 Proton Rd, Dallas, TX, 75244
Phone:(214) 431 5288.
The VIN Number:wbagh83431dp22929.
Let me know.

This last part is when it got interesting. As you saw at the beginning of the story, whenever I offered to go see the car in person, all communication would suddenly stop. In this case, the guy came back with a real address in Dallas, a real Dallas phone number, and a VIN number that — according to CARFAX — really did belong to a BMW 7-series. Could this guy have actually been legit?!

Not a chance.

I decided to run a few searched on the information the guy gave me using sources such as YellowPages.com, WhitePages.com, and Google Maps. Here’s what I found:

As for the address: Yes, it is an actual Dallas address, but it belongs to a company called Codemark Systems. Interesting that a shipping company would have the exact same address as another company. Amazing. What’s even more amazing is that not one phone number on that page or anywhere even remotely matched the number given to me. Further more, using both Google and Yahoo, I could find no company called “Texas Shipping” in Dallas, Texas.

I decided then to run a “Search by Phone” search on WhitePages.com. The result: While the number was found, and “214” is a valid Dallas area code, the phone was listed as a land line with no available information. Usually, this is what comes up when someone was a VoIP line with someone like Vonage. Since VoIP numbers could be taken anywhere, there’s a good chance that guy wasn’t even in Texas. Then again, he could have simply been feeding me information on the basis that I wouldn’t actually follow up in any way shape or form. This is when I decided to report this guy to the FBI. I’m not allowed to talk about the rest, though. (Thanks be to SysAdmin Nate for that helpful info.)

Conclusion
So, now that you’ve seen a few scams in action you know how to stay safe. It shouldn’t be long before you can sniff one out fairly quickly. For example, if you happen to find a 2003 Toyota Camry with 46K miles being sold for $4800, alarms should be going off that there’s something wrong with the car, and that it’s probably a scam. (If it’s not a scam, then the other possibility is that the car you’re looking at just spent the past 6 months at the bottom of a lake somewhere, or was salvaged from New Orleans after Katrina, in which case I would tell you to avoid it like the plague anyway.)

If you’re actually looking to buy a car from out of state (something I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re dealing with a reputable seller on eBay, and even then I’d have my reservations), and you want to make sure you’re not walking into a scam, you can simply make it clear that you demand all transactions take place face to face, and that no money will be wired, sent via Western Union or any other escrow service, and that no PayPal information will be shared.

Homework
Make your own observations based on the provided information and post it here so that others may know how to not get sucked into a scam. Also, feel free to point this article out to anyone who you feel may be in danger of being caught in this sort of trap.

With that, happy shopping.

52 thoughts on “Avoiding CraigsList Scammers

  1. Thank you so much for this information. The scam artists are now focusing on craigslist areas that are around bases or college towns where people are desperate for a good, low cost vehicle. I almost fell for it! Thanks for saving me from not getting a car at all.

  2. This is the scam email I received:

    ================================================
    From: Debbie Phillips (debbieph32@*****.com)

    Hello,
    The bike is located in Pensacola, FL and I am selling it at this price ($2950) because i just finished the divorce with my husband. The divorce is finished and I own this bike. I work as a dealer on a cruise ship and i want to sell it because I need money for other things. This bike is in excellent working condition, no scratches, flaws or any kind of damage, slightly used, in 100% working and looking conditions and comes with a clear title ready for transfer. From the beginning you have to know that for the payment I request only secure pay, I prefer the payment to be done using eBay services. Since i am working most of my time, and divorced I want the deal closed only through eBay’s Buyer Protection Program in order for me and you to be 100% protected. The final price that I want for this bike is $2950. If you will take it for this price, I am willing to handle the shipping. Please get back to me asap if you decide to buy, and include in your e-mail your full name and address where you want it shipped so I can start the deal with eBay. You will receive payment and shipping details from them.
    I will wait your answer very soon only if you are interested to buy because i don’t have any free time to waste.
    You can see the rest of the pictures by click on the link below:
    http://s593.photobucket.com/albums/tt17/hdetry/
    Best Regards,
    Debbie Phillips
    ===============================================

    Thanks to this article I saved 3 grand. Thank You!

  3. Hi,

    My husband found a truck listed on Craigslist that seemed way too good to be true… there was a lot of info on it that sounded like only the selller would know. I mean details beyond mileage etc.. it was a 2004 Chevy 4 door Silverado with all of the bells and whistles for only $4,600. We both agreed it seemed too good to be true but the truck was only, according to the ad, about an hour and a half from our house so we wrote. All I said was that we were interested in the truck and wanted to know the mileage, year and if there was any work that needed done on it. I purposely did not mention the incredibly low price. I already found it odd that with so many details the sellers ad did not include the year or mileage.

    Anyway, I wake up this morning to a response from the seller with a sob story about how she’s a single Mom with 2 kids, in the middle of a divorce etc. Now when it’s legit that someone is a single parent of course I have sympathy, but this reeked of a scam. Anyway she continues that’s why she has to sell the truck so cheap, she needs the money desperately to pay her mortgage… the cost includes shipping, insurance, etc… the truck is in perfect condition (No used car is ever in PERFECT condition, maybe great but not perfect) and that her brother works for a shipping company and gets one free shipping a year etc etc. Now suddenly the truck was located in another state 500 miles away from me!!?? It signed off be saying please reply promptly.. Regards, Nicole. Seems all scammers use the word “regards” as their sign off. I told my husband right away there was too many red flags:

    1)I did not mention the price or ask why they were selling it so cheap. No seller would even bring that up if not asked… not all of their personal business like the status of their marriage, mortgage etc

    2) Your ad says you were in one state when you are in a nother

    3)Your 5 year old vehicle is in perfect condition

    4)We are in Aug and the date stamp on the pics in the ad says Feb.

    5)You provided no phone number to reach you

    6)YOU WANT ME TO PAY YOU MONEY AND HOPE YOU’LL SHIP ME YOUR TRUCK…. lol.

    7)Giving away a $15,000 truck for $4,600 yet you’re in desperate need of money to take care of your children and pay your mortgage… why would you sell this PERFECT truck so cheap and short yourself roughly $10,000? You wouldn’t… if you were hurting for money you’d offer the $15g truck at $12,5 or something.

    8) Lastly as I mentioned you signed off with “regards” and asked for my prompt reply.

    My husband was not as quick to call scam when I rattled off the above upon receiving the “sellers” reply. I on the other hand have a passion for law enforcement and detective work as I was going to college for that very career and did an internship for a year at a police department… so I tend to think like one anyway. Plus I now see how he was quick to think maybe this story of the seller was all true b/c he really liked the truck. It’s sad and sick that people do this to others. You said you reported one of your communications to the FBI. I would like to but not sure if I have enough info to do so. The ad has been removed from Craigslist….. all I have is the email communication between myself and the “seller” which is minimal as I picked up on the scam. Any advice on if I should forward this info on??

    Thanks!

  4. I just encountered a scam myself. Here is the response to my initial email:

    Hello, the car is running great with no mechanical problem. It`s an 2004 with 59,000 miles, automatic. The engine is a powerful 1.7L L4 PFI SOHC. The car has never been involved in any accidents.
    The title is clean, no lien. I`m the second owner. The price is so low because I want to sell it asap because i`m leaving the
    country in about 2 weeks with school education in Germany and i have to pay school taxes and i don`t have the money so i need to sell my car, anyway the education is more important then a car.
    I`m located in Strongsville, Ohio and the honda is here with me prepared for pickup. The car was posted in many location so i can find an buyer fast so if you can`t make it here in Strongsville, there is the possibility to ship the car. The price is $2800 and it`s firm.
    Thanks
    Jessica McCain

    I asked for a phone number and it was never sent.

    Then I said I would probably have it shipped to me and this was the next email:

    Hi again, since u can`t make it here I can ship the honda to your place using the ebay vehicle protection
    program, because the honda was posted on ebay but i have cancel the listing but I can still use they`r program.
    My uncle works at an shipping company and he can arrange the shipping for free for
    me. Ebay will hold the money until the honda arrives to your place. When the honda arrives you have 2 days
    for inspection and drive test and if u don`t like the
    honda you can be fully refunded, but the honda is in great shape and I think that will not happened. If you
    want to continue with this transaction all I need from you is your full name and shipping address so i can
    forward to ebay and they will contact you instructing you about how to send payment and shipping process,
    they’ll release the funds to me only after you receive and inspect the honda. I think this is the safest way
    for both of us so this will be an secure transaction.
    I wait for your quick reply. Thanks

    I looked on ebay for this car and there was one posted from the same city, state and the pictures were the same…I wonder if they just copied the information from the ebay photos.

    This makes me sick that people are willing to do this.

    Does anyone know if we can turn these people in??

    Thanks,
    Brooke

    1. The most you can do is go to the eBay forums and report that that account is scamming. They’ll investigate, shut down the account, then the scammer will get a new account and start all over again.

  5. I just found a great deal on Craigslist.com for a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I startes sending e-mails to the seller. I’m trying to figure out if its a scam or not so if you could provide some feedback that would be great. I’m not sure if I should trust this person or not. Here’s the e-mails we’ve been sending: (read from bottom to top)

    No, I’m very sorry but I can’t do that.
    It’s a little complicated how I decided to make this deal but trust me is very safe for me and for you. Last year a good friend of mine sent his car to the buyer and he didn’t received anything, no money, no car and also it can’t be find so I rather pay 70 bucks for the security of this transaction but at least I know it will be safe. I told you that so you can see why I’m using eBay to handle this transaction, I trust eBay as everyone does.
    Let me know.

    Thanks!
    Cindy

    ——————————————————————————–
    From:
    To: cindyy_kendrick32@msn.com
    Subject: RE: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited
    Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 16:59:20 -0700

    Cindy,
    Would you consider shipping it out to denver, colorado so that we may inspect it COD? Since there are so many scams out there we want to make sure we don’t lose our money.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: cindyy_kendrick32@msn.com
    To:
    Subject: RE: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited
    Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 22:09:43 +0000

    Hi,
    Thank you so much. The car is located in Augusta, Georgia at DAS ( Dependable Auto Shippers ) headquarters, in the container, sealed and ready for shipping. You will have 10 days so you can inspect the car. Once you have inspected the car and decided to keep it, you will confirm your decision to eBay and only then they will re-route the money in to my account, but if by any reason, you won’t be satisfied with the car you can return it back for a full refund of your money. I will take care of the shipping, don’t worry. You will receive the car with all the necessary papers (clear title, bill of sale, user’s manual, insurance etc). Just get back with your full name and full shipping address and I will get everything started as soon as possible, then eBay will contact you with more further instructions.
    Hope to hear soon from you.
    Thanks a lot!
    Cindy

    ——————————————————————————–
    From:
    To: cindyy_kendrick32@msn.com
    Subject: RE: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited
    Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 14:47:27 -0700

    Cindy,
    I’m really sorry about you’re son, that is such a sad story. I am very interested in you’re car but my parents want to know if you live in Colorado. They would like to see it before we bought it. It kind of sounds like you live out of state but e-mail me back.
    Katie

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: cindyy_kendrick32@msn.com
    To:
    Subject: RE: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Limited
    Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 18:50:28 +0000

    Hi,
    The car has 63,000 miles,automatic trans,1owner.It’s in perfect condition,no engine/electric problems,no accidents/liens/loans.Exterior no scratches,never been repainted,Interior no rips/tears/stains,never smoked inside.I have all the car’s manuals,2 spare of keys,title,documents.I’m selling the car because my 19 child died 4 months ago in a car accident,a drunk driver hit him and his fiancee.He was with his fiance’s car coming to our home at his little brother birthday of 10 years old.This Jeep Grand Cherokee was his car and it brings me bad memories and that’s the reason I want to sell it.The last price is $3,600.
    Me and my husband travel a lot with our business and we want to make this deal through eBay’s Vehicle Purchase Protection Program.I just need your full name,full shipping address, home/cell # so I can open a case.(with no further obligation or fees).eBay will contact you with all the Transaction/shipping details you will need.We will take care of the shipping so don’t worry.
    We hope to hear soon from you.
    For more pictures here is a link to the car’s photo gallery:
    http://s599.photobucket.com/albums/tt72/2002-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-4×4-Limited/
    Thank you for your interest!
    Cindy & James Kendrick

  6. I am very thankful for the people who have posted thier scam encounters. I was about to purchase a 2005 mazda 6 with 36,000 miles for 3,300 dollars but before I made the final transaction I simply researched if cars were shipped through e-bay even though the seller listed the car through craigs list and was not found on e-bay (which I thought was a little suspicious). Here is my encounter with the scammer:

    My first email to them:

    Hi, my name is April and I was contacting you in regards to the 2005 Mazda 6 you have posted for sale on Craig’s list. If the car is still for sale please contact me either by phone or email

    Their response to me:

    Hello,
    Sorry to answer you so late, but I was on a training mission for the last 2 days. This 2005 MAZDA-6i SPORT SEDAN 1 Owner with 36422 miles runs and drives excellent. This car has been extremely well maintained with a full service history. It has no leaks or drips and does not smoke at all. I am the first owner of this car with a clear title free of encumbrances and liens.
    I have dropped my price to $3300 (purchase price), since this is an Urgent Sale! At the moment I’m stationed at Arnold Air Force Base(AFB), Tullahoma, TN making final preparations before deploying to Iraq. If you’re interested to conclude this purchase in a timely manner email me your Full Name and Shipping Address to open a case with eBay’s Buyer Protection Program and they will contact you to explain the entire procedure. The financial part will be managed by them, which means that you will have a 5 days inspection period before committing to buy the car. In this way both, buyer and seller are 100% covered during the steps of this transaction.

    Copy the link below for more info & pics about the car and paste in your browser.

    2005mazda6i.page.tl

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group

    My 2nd response (remind you I was still unaware of the fact that this was a scam):

    Rebecca,

    Thank you for responding and yes I am very interested in buying this car but I do have a couple of questions. I found this car listed on Craigs List under Baton Rouge but I also noticed that you said you are stationed in Tennessee and I live in Louisiana so does this mean that the car would be shipped to me? Also, I am not asking for pity but my husband and I have two children and only one car and he works everyday at 6am and does not get home until after 6pm and I just filed my tax return today and am having it directly deposited into my bank account so I will not have the money for about 7-10 business days but I assure you that it is more than enough to pay for the car you are selling. However, if this is a problem please let me know and I will see about borrowing the money from my father in law. Thank you and I will hopefully hear from you soon.

    Their response to me:

    The car is already at the shipping company, crated and ready to go from Tullahoma, TN. I had another customer who said it will buy and after I made all the necessary arrangements in advance and paid for all shipping & handling fees, changed his mind because didn’t have all the money. This is why I need to ship it since all transportation charges have already been paid by me. Shipping may take anywhere between 3 to 4 business days depending on the destination. All documents you need for ownership, title, manuals and bill of sale will be provided along with the car.
    As I know that my current situation is pretty special I want the deal closed only through eBay’s Buyer Protection Program. They will keep your money into a protection account until you get the car and will release it to me ONLY AFTER inspection period is over and you agree to keep the car. So, this is not a blind transaction, you can physically see the car before committing to buy and to eliminate any concerns you will have 5 days to inspect the car. If you decide not to keep it eBay will refund you the money, no questions asked, and shipping back will be my concern. I think this is more than fair for both of us.
    The Transport Company will call you with delivery/pickup instructions 1 day ahead so you can communicate what time schedule work best for you to receive the car.
    Again I want to point out that because I am going to Iraq this sale is my top priority and I am after a fast transaction, with no delays. That is why I decided to lower the price, to avoid wasting time with negotiations and find a buyer as soon as possible.

    Thanks, hope to do business with you soon!

    Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    Tullahoma, TN
    UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group

    My last response to them (after I found out it was a scam and before I sent any money):

    Hi, this is April again and I just wanted to let you know that we will actually have the money because my husband is going to borrow it from his father because we didn’t want to pass this offer up so if you could please hold the car for a few more days we would really appreciate it. However, my husband also said that he doesn’t really trust giving the money over the internet especially when it is this amount so he has agreed that we will drive to Tennessee to make the purchase if the car will still be available this weekend. We will be able to come on Saturday so please let me know as soon as possible when you will be available to show us the car and if Saturday will work for you. Thank you so much, April

  7. I just wanted to say thank you to April above if she ever goes back and reads this. The infamous Col. Rebecca Campbell was litterally an hour away from ripping me off on the same Mazda 6i deal that April talked about above. Lucky for me my little sister found the website and we read April’s story. We came so close to getting scammed out of $3000. If it wasn’t for April and this website God only knows what would have happened. These people have no soul.

    Thank you so much,

    Michael

  8. I wish I had read this before I got sucked in. Yep, I lost $3000.00 to this jerk. They picked up the money in Atlanta Georgia. The car is real, but it’s registered to some gal who lives in Arizona. I now have the police, the FBI and the FTC involved in my case. Plus I got Craigslist involved as well. I may never see my money again, but this evil person has to be stopped. Oh, and it is a Felony to impersonate a person of high ranking in the military… I only wish I had seen the above story BEFORE I so eagerly sent in that money… the old saying If it looks to good to be true it probably is… didn’t enter my mind until I was 15 minutes late getting the moneygram stopped. All Money gram is obligated to say is where it was picked up, even though the person who picked it up.. named Steven Snyder had to show two forms of ID. Steven Snyder is posing as an EBAY Security Escrow person out of Atlanta Georgia. He has copied and pasted the EBay payment agreement page and sends it with a bogus eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection <support@e-baycenteronline address and a bogus

    Item Description: 2005 MAZDA-6i SPORT SEDAN 1 Owner
    Case ID: 93P801PV616Y
    heading with the Ebay logo.

    and instructions on how to handle the transaction:

    Payment must be submitted via MoneyGram to an eBay Customer Support in charge of this transaction. The eBay Customer Support will secure the payment until the Buyer receives, inspects and accepts the vehicle. Or, if it will be the case, the Agent will refund the payment to the Buyer.

    eBay Customer Support Agent*:

    First Name: Steven
    Last Name: Snyder
    Address: 2589 Wood Valley

    City: Atlanta

    State: GA

    Zip: 30344
    Country: United States

    *The MoneyGram transfer will be sent using this name and address.

    Payment:
    Invoice #4242666693
    Total: $3,000.00

    Shipping: $0.00
    Sales Tax: $0.00
    Deposit: $3,000.00
    Remaining Balance: $0.00

    It all looks and sounds legitimate. I am assuming these guys are too stupid to use different numbers for their ebay part so I've made a special point of posting them.

    Now I just need to get another job so I can get a car. It was supposed to replace one that got totaled in December, and it was all the insurance money I had… I am such a fool! I hope this helps anyone else who even thinks about using Craigslist to buy a vehicle… Check it out!

  9. I was also scammed by Rebecca Campbell on Feb. 12th 2010 out of 3,000 dollars. I was expecting a 2005 mazda 6i with 30,000 miles as well. I wish i could have seen this post before i sent the money into moneygram. I hope they get caught. I hope that this will not happen to anyone else.

  10. I just buy it the 2005 MAZDA-6i SPORT SEDAN 1 Owner.
    I received yesterday, is in my backyard so I am very sorry for what happend with the above buyers ……..
    I must to thanks for this deal because is a beautiful car that I wanted and now I have it.

    Try to contact them again, maybe they will give your money back.

    Thanks.

  11. This ad is also running on the Kansas City Craigslist.

    It seemed too good to be true, so I decided to google Col Rebecca Campbell and the AFB and this was the first site it brougth me to. Hmmm. Big disappointment to my 18 year old daughter, but at least we didn’t send any money. Thanks for all your work on this and to all those that shared their stories!

    Below is my last correspondence with this person. They must have become wise to me because the e-mail was returned as “refused”.

    My Response:

    If you are truly interested in selling this, you will give me a call. XXX-XXX-XXXX. Thanks!

    Sue

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Rebecca Campbell [mailto:campbellrebeca@gmail.com]
    Sent: Sunday, February 28, 2010 12:04 PM
    To: Sue
    Subject: Re: Mazda 6i

    Good afternoon,
    Check the pictures and see that have 36k miles.
    Thanks

    Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group

    On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 08:41, Sue wrote:

    Does it have 36,000 or 86,000 miles?

    —–Original Message—–

    From: “Rebecca Campbell”
    Subj: Re: Mazda 6i
    Date: Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:46 am
    Size: 4K
    To: “Sue

    The car is already at the shipping company, crated and ready to go
    from Tullahoma, TN. I had another customer who said it will buy and after I
    made all the necessary arrangements in advance and paid for all shipping &
    handling fees, changed his mind because didn’t have all the money. This is
    why I need to ship it since all transportation charges have already been
    paid by me. Shipping may take anywhere between 3 to 4 business days
    depending on the destination. All documents you need for ownership, title,
    manuals and bill of sale will be provided along with the car.
    As I know that my current situation is pretty special I want the deal closed
    only through eBay’s Buyer Protection Program. They will keep your money into
    a protection account until you get the car and will release it to me ONLY
    AFTER inspection period is over and you agree to keep the car. So, this is
    not a blind transaction, you can physically see the car before committing to
    buy and to eliminate any concerns you will have 5 days to inspect the car.
    If you decide not to keep it eBay will refund you the money, no questions
    asked, and shipping back will be my concern. I think this is more than fair
    for both of us.
    I’ll start the official procedure, and eBay will contact us about this in
    less than 24 hrs.
    If you are interested in buying it just mail me back with:
    – Your Full Name – Required by eBay (You’ll receive important guidelines +
    instructions from them.)
    – Your Shipping Address and Phone Number – Required by the Shipping company
    (They will call you with delivery/pickup instructions 1 day ahead so you can
    communicate what time schedule work best for you to receive the car)
    Again I want to point out that because I am going to Iraq this sale is my
    top priority and I am after a fast transaction, with no delays. That is why
    I decided to lower the price, to avoid wasting time with negotiations and
    find a buyer as soon as possible.

    Thanks, hope to do business with you soon!

    Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    Tullahoma, TN
    UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group

    Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group

    On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 07:30, Sue wrote:

    > Why do the pictures say it has 36,000 miles?
    >
    >
    > Sue
    >
    > >
    >
    > ——————————
    > *From:* Rebecca Campbell [mailto:campbellrebeca@gmail.com]
    > *Sent:* Thursday, February 25, 2010 9:09 AM
    > *To:* Sue
    > *Subject:* Re: Mazda 6i
    >
    > Hello,
    > Thanks for your email. This 2001 MAZDA 6 SPORT SEDAN is in
    > perfect condition, has only 84K miles and it runs and drives excellent. This
    > car has been extremely well maintained and has a full service history. It
    > has no leaks or drips and does not smoke at all. I am the first owner of
    > this car with a clear title free of encumbrances, loans or liens.
    > I have dropped my price to $2900 (purchase price), since this is an Urgent
    > Sale! At the moment I’m stationed at Arnold Air Force Base(AFB), Tullahoma,
    > TN making final preparations before deploying to Iraq. I want to point out
    > that i will donate the money to the Haition people for reconstruction and
    > food supllies. I decided to lower the price for avoiding wasting time with
    > negotiations so I can help the Haitians ASAP. I hope you understand that my
    > situation and I also hope you will help them, because people should help
    > each other when in need. If you’re interested to conclude this purchase in a
    > timely manner email me your Full Name and Shipping Address to open a case
    > with eBay’s Buyer Protection Program and they will contact you to explain
    > the entire procedure. The financial part will be managed by them, which
    > means that you will have a 5 days inspection period before committing to buy
    > the vehicle. This way we are both covered 100% during the steps of this
    > transaction. Also let me know if you have any questions and I will give you
    > further details about the steps of this deal.
    >
    > Copy the link below for more info & pics about the car and paste in your
    > browser.
    >
    > http://2005mazda6i.page.tl/
    >
    > Hope to hear from you soon.
    >
    > —
    >
    > Col. (Dr.) Rebecca Campbell
    > Arnold Air Force Base(AFB)
    > Tullahoma, TN
    > UNIT: 704th Mission Support Group
    >
    >

  12. We were suckered by one Ryan Peterson [Email removed] who had a $5000 BMW 530i 2004, about $10,000 under value. Ryan is about to ship out to Iraq and he is on a military base where he can’t be reached by phone nor can he make any calls (he is the only person in our military without a cellphone, the poor dear). Anyway he needs to sell this car before April 20th and he will kindly arrange to ship it to you from Billings Montana where the car for some reason is located. He also has ebay motors as the escrow agent for your convenience. Interestingly, there actually is a BMW 530i of this vintage with this VIN number and approximately the correct mileage, although it did manage to get from a January 27th service date in Las Vegas to today in Billings Montana with only and additional 115 miles. Very nice pictures also, presumably scammed from a dealers website (none of the photos showed the VIN number). Help Ryan out, he needs to sell this car before he ships out.

  13. Cheeky bastard, posing as a us marine lieutenant.
    Fuck these scammers!

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    Hello,

    You have to know that the 2006 Honda Accord EX/ Navigation System I am selling is 100% working and great looking, no flaws or dents, no scratches or any kind of damage. The title is clear. It has 35,340 miles. The VIN# is 1HGCM56886A007861.This vehicle engine runs very, very smooth. No electrical problems on this beauty. This detailed vehicle makes the exterior look like it just came off the assembly line.
    As I know that my current situation is pretty special I want the deal closed only through eBay’s Buyer Protection Program in order for you to be 100% protected. You will make the payment to eBay and they will hold the money until you receive the car. ONLY AFTER you receive the car and inspect it (for 10 days) eBay will release the payment to me; in this way we are both protected. Anyway i am sure that if you won`t be satisfied with the car i will surely find another buyer in your area and there will be no need for you to ship the car back.
    I am located in Madrid,Spain and I was sent here to improve the military relationships between our country and Spain. One month ago, my wife moved here with me and brought the car with her, but now we have to sell it back in the United States because In order to be able to register this car here, I would have to pay very high import/custom taxes. My final price on it is $ 2900. If you will take it for this price, I am willing to handle the shipping. It will be shipped from here by plane with US Air Military Cargo so it will not cost me anything. You will get it to the nearest airport in your area and then it will be trucked forward to your place. You will receive the car in about 4 days. Please get back to me asap if you decide to buy, and include in your e-mail your full name and address where you want it shipped so I can start the deal with eBay. You will receive all the transaction payment and shipping details from them.

    Thank you and have a nice day, Gerardo

    Lt. Gerardo Buyher
    4th Combat Engineer Battalion
    United States Marine Corps
    One team, one fight

  14. This was an email I was sent after finding an awesome deal on craigslist…definitely a SCAM!

    *****************************************************************

    I have received your email regarding the 2004 Infiniti G35 with only 65,695 miles. The car is located in Houston, Texas at the shipping company. The car is in perfect condition,with no scratches on it,no damage, clear title. The engine is a V6 3.5 Liter. The transmission is automatic. The price for the car is $3,200 with shipping included.The car was my husband`s as he loved it very much, but he did not enjoy it as he died in Iraq 1 year ago. It brings very bad memories to me, I want to get rid of it.The buyer will receive the car with all papers and receipts that he needs to register it to his name.Shipping will be done whit DAS and it will take no more then 2-3 days. I have a friend there who will manage me a low price shipping and I assumed that it is my duty to pay for shipping it.It will be delivered directly to your address.Anyway, I have to let you know that I want a fast deal so if you are really interested in buying it,please reply with the following information’s:
    -Your full name;
    -Your shipping address.(street,city,state,zip code)
    The transaction will close only through eBay so we both will be protected.
    I want eBay because as they are the biggest company on the internet I think that we can close this deal fast and safe for both of us. Also I am not very familiar with the internet transactions and eBay is the only one I know.I will look for your email,so that we can move forward with this deal!
    Let me know.
    P.S I attached you some pictures with the car:
    http://s1024.photobucket.com/albums/y304/infinitig35_04/
    Regards,
    Monique

    ********************************************************************

    I went back on craiglist to look at the posting again after receiving the email and the post had been removed…that made everything very suspicious….

  15. I hate the “I’m being deployed” bullshit! Not to mention, this jackass put the wrong military emblem on his email!
    **********************************************************************************

    Hello ,

    I’m selling a beautiful, well maintained 2006 HONDA CIVIC LX because my platoon have been mobilized for deployment to Afghanistan. After we complete our training, we will deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The price is low because I need to sell it before 10 August. Paint shines, zero dings/dents,no accident. Non-smoker,always garaged and covered. It comes with all the documents needed for registration. The title is clear. It is gently used with only 14,531 miles and is ready for road trips or leisurely cruises to dinner!

    I’m asking $2,990.00 this price includes door to door shipping, handling and insurance fees for shipping within the continental US. You will have 7 days for inspection and possibility for a refund policy. The vehicle is located in Suffolk, VA.

    Please click here to view more pictures ( If the link doesn’t work,copy and paste it into a new browser page ) :

    http://cid-dd96d1cb3ac09f1c.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Civic?uc=3

    The transaction will be fully under eBay’s surveillance, I will post the car on eBay and I will give you the URL link to press ”buy it now” option .
    Please get back to me if you’re interested in buying it.

    SSG Ricky Lassiter
    4th Combat Engineer Battalion
    United States Marine Corps
    One team, one fight

  16. Hi all you good people!! I have just joined your party!! I listed 4 items on craigslist recently under collectables. I am in Montana and I thought that I should list these items where they would more likely bring the amount they should. I decided to put them in Bloomington, In list.
    Almost immediately, I recev’d 4 emails from the almost same email address. Every one of them asked the same thing. Still for sale?
    I replied Yes. The next time I got email from 2 sources only. They had the same address,but with a name this time, but the name on the letter itself was different from the email name. Well I began to get a bit suspicious at this point. The 2 emails read virtually the same. The guy was getting ready to go to London on vacation and he would have his assistant take care of sending me the amout of money that I had asked and also he was going to ad an additional $20 for the delay of 2-6 days.

    The next day I got an Urgent message that the assistant had sent the m.o. in the wrong amount to me. The m.o. that he had sent to me was meant for another person. So he wanted me to take the check when I received it and cash it and return the difference to him.

    The first time I told him that I needed his name and address also so that I could ship the merchandise to him. He never gave it to me.

    So I told him that I would not do that and if the check/m.o was not exactly as we had aggreed upon that the deal was off. Furthermore..the deal was off anyway.

    I never heard from that one again. The next email was similar but slightly different. The vacation was the same and the assistant had sent the wrong m.o. amount and still wanted me to cash the check but this time the difference was supposed to be sent to a shipper who would come and pickup the merchandise. I have copies of all of the emails sent and recv’d. Now I don’t know what to do with them.

    The last one,I asked him if it had already been sent and he said that it had by fedex. I told him that I would take care of it. So now, if I get such a check or m o I will take care of it alright. I will take it straight down to the local Sheriff dept. and let them handle it.
    I still have 2 more items that he hasn’t “bought yet” I am looking forward to talking to this person more!! Oh yeah!!

    Thanks for listening to my story…good luck out there!

  17. I am cracking up reading all of these scam stories! I also have had similar encounters! I found a wonderful RV! Well, I responded as most of you have! But, I had a friend of mine respond to an RV that was also to good to true! He got the exact story word for word from the scammer! That was two totally different RV’s with the exact same reason for selling and the same story of it being at the shipping yard! When we told him that we would come pick it up……..no responce! Imagine that! LOL!!!

  18. Came across a scam just like this today, a vehicle listed on Craigslist going for a ridiculously low price. Only this one wanted to go thru Google Checkout for the purchase, then asked for money to be wired Western Union. Apparently they had set up their own Google Checkout website without the “secure” setting. The email address on this scam was johanaberger54@gmail.com. Thanks for putting this info out there to help others to not fall into these scammers traps.

  19. I am so glad I decided to pull the craiglist scammers because I was about to purchasee a 2003 Honda Accord EX for $2153 for my grandson. It seemed too good to be true, so I decided to do a little investigating. The Ad was almost worded the same as some in these posts. Going to Afghanistan and didn’t want the car to sit in his back yard, send the money thru ebay, can test drive the car for 305 days and return it for a refund if you don’t like it, etc. Red flags started going up, bell started ringing as this was much too good to be true. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or post. I am so sorry for the ones who did get scammed, as I was almost one of them myself. I pray that they are stopped, because people want a good deal, but not ripped off for their hard-earned money.

  20. Gnorb .. thanks for the detailed scam scenarios. Due to your posting I was able to realize that someone was trying to scam me. It was a Craiglist posting for a 2003 Pioneer RV priced very low (1st clue). When I inquired about more specifics I got the old “the RV is located in Bethasda, MD” and she was a military nurse stationed at Fort Belvior. Tina Lewis [email address omitted – G] is the scammer. Then I was contacted by eBay Financial Department with an attached Ebay Motor Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) Invoice. I have to say, it looks pretty legit, however, after reading your posting that was all the confirmation I needed that this was a scam. I promptly reported the incident to http://www.ic3.gov.

    Thanks again,
    Allen
    Kent, Ohio

  21. This is the email I got from matthewjunglas@msn.com

    Hi; Thanks for your interest in the Honda Civic. I am selling this car because my unit will be sent back to Korea and don’t want it getting old in my garage. The price is low because I need to sell it before the end of May. It’s a beautiful 06 Honda Civic in good condition with low mileage and only one owner. Always get great gas mileage (40MPG Hwy)! Last serviced 4/25/13. I’m a non-smoker and the car has never been in an accident, clean title. I still have the civic for sale and i am ready to sell it now for $2900. The car is in Santa Cruz, California and in case it gets sold I will take care of the shipping charges. Let me know if you are interested; email me back and I’d be more than happy to answer any question you might have. Regards Matthew
    Thanks for the warning. I knew it was too good to be true.

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