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. I just found one on Craigs list in austin,tx

    Hello,

    I am glad to see you are interested in purchasing my car. First of all I want to tell you that I’m not located at home,in New York, NY, where the car is. Because of my job I have to move all the time. The price of the car is $4, 800.00 the price is very low because I need money fast for a personal problem. I have a clean title ready to be signed. The car has no electrical or mechanical problems.The car was also for sale on eBay so we can use eBay and Craigslist Escrow Insurer to complete the transaction. The deal will go strictly according to eBay and Craigslist rules and policy. In order to start the official transaction, I need to know your details: -full name and shipping address.As soon as I have them I’ll start the official procedure and the Escrow service will notify you about this. You’ll also receive important guidelines and payment instructions from them . I’ll handle the shipping, so this will be free of charge for you. We will use eBay and Craigslist Escrow Insurer to manage the payment because it is the safest way for both of us and also you will have 10 days to inspect the car before I receive the money. Also, a refund policy will be included.
    Year: 1991
    VIN Number: JH4NA1157MT800025
    Miles: 53.410
    Transmission: Manual
    Title: Clear
    Condition: Used
    Engine: 6 Cylinders
    Fuel Type: Gasoline
    Body Type: Coupe
    Number of Doors: 2
    Interior: Black
    Exterior: Red

    Sounded fishy to me I wont persue this car.

  2. “The car was also for sale on eBay so we can use eBay and Craigslist Escrow Insurer to complete the transaction.”

    That right there tells you it’s a scam. No such thing as an eBay or Craigslist Escrow Insurer. Good move on not pursuing the car! Again, the rule of thumb stays: if you can’t meet the person, presume it’s a scam and drop the matter.

    By the way, at one point I got an email from one of the people trying to scam me, not long after I put up this article. He just said “nice article” and left it at that. Interesting.

  3. Hey, this is funny . Looking to buy a car in craigslits I hit exactly the same story about the Swedish woman who went to work as a contruction engineer.

    Good research.

    Bye

  4. I’m wondering if its even safe to email some listers initially to see if they are legit, I’m worried part of the scam is them collecting my email address.. any truth to it?

  5. @VE: You can simply sign up with an email service like Gmail or Yahoo and use that as your anonymous mailing address. If there is any truth to it then this should do just fine for protection.

  6. Newly arrived from Europe, car buying in the US is already different ,and I could be a sitting duck for such scams….one trawl of Craigslist yielded 3 in one day -look out for military personnel about to be deployed to Afghanistan etc forced to sell low mileage immaculate (no plates on the pix) Corollas and Accords for peanuts. Usual stuff about meeting/coming to inspect and they go quiet. And reasons to sell – divorce, Afghanistan, and my personal favourite – to pay my son’s hospital bills as he’s having some problems. One pic showed two guys whose ethnic appearance didn’t match the waspy nom de plume. I had said I am in Ct and the scammer said in pidgin english “you can come and see it today in Utah “.
    Surely I’m not a cynical pastor?- you bet, when I find 3 scams this transparent in one search….

  7. is there anything to do if you are caught in a scam. i did not know about any of this untill after, i talked to the guy several times he sent me the title. he is not out of the country. he is in Utah. i only sent him half the funds, that was yesterday. no contact since. just get a little nervous.

  8. I was recently on craigslist and found a black 07 camry hybrid for $9,900. I initially thought that doesn’t seem right, that’s atleast a $20,000 dollar car. I blue booked it and sure enough, $23,000 So I created a fake yahoo account and emailed the seller. He emails me back that he is way over in Bulgaria and is a Sergent in the US Air Force. At first it wants to suck you in with the US Air Force, but then I thought does the US military spell Sgt….Sergent or Sergeant? Surely the enlisted wouldn’t miss spell that…huh? Then he said it wouldn’t be any problem shipping because he could just use the US military cargo planes. Well he wanted to use Ebay…which seems legit….feeding you the “it will protect both of us”. But, me not willing to just throw my hard earned money out the window did some research. Ebay has a link to an escrow service…escrow.com. The seller never said anything back to me about that service….just keeps harping on Ebay. I have purchased 2 cars through ebay before with wonderful results, but I never knew of ebay ever being able to be in contact with any money. So, there goes a flag. I decided to look around in other countries on craigslist to see what they had to offer, which lands me in Guam! Low and behold what do I see, the same black 07 camry hybrid for $9,900. Hmm….scrolling down what else do I come across, a BLUE 07 camry hybrid for you guessed it $9,900. I email that “seller” and what a coincidence he’s a sgt too. Well I’ll be danged, what a small world! But this time he wasn’t as smart, he’s in Norfolk, VA. Dummy, that’s entirely to close to me. I have only received 1 email from him and he hasn’t mentioned any payment options. I replied stating that I was going to be in Norfolk soon (which I’m not) and we could finish the deal then. HA Ha! It’s going to be fun to see how this one turns out. Anyway, best of luck to everyone!

  9. From: mondaywilson32@yahoo.com

    HELLO,
    HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?I SAW YOUR ADVERT AND I AM REALY INTERESTED IN YOUR CAR,PLEASE MAIL ME ASAP IF IT IS STILL AVAILABLE TO ENABLE ME MAKE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT FOR PAYMENTS AND PICK-UP SOONEST BEFORE SOMEBODY BEATS ME TO IT.KINDLY LET ME KNOW THE LEAST AMOUNT FOR IT .I WOULD BE GREATFUL IF YOU TREAT THIS MESSAGE WITH URGENCY I REQUIRE.THANK YOU VERY MUCH HOPING TO HEAR FROM YOU SOONEST.
    MY REGARDS.
    MONDAY.
    *****************************************************************************
    Response from me
    Monday,

    Please give me a number where I can reach you and I will call you tomorrow or Monday.

    Thanks

    Matt

    *****************************************************************************
    Hello,
    How are you doing today?Thanks for the mail,i am still interested in your range rover, from what i’ve read about the car it’s fine with me. i’ll pay for it. i run a procurement outfit here in (PA), actually just got transfered like two weeks ago from the states along with my whole family.As long as the whells and tires is still in good condition am ready to buy from you,because i cant get anywhere good enough to get a nice one here. Concerning the payment, I have a client in the States,I will instruct him to issue out a cashier’s check, drawn from an American bank in your name. When you receive the check,deduct the amount due for your check and send the remaining balance to my shipper via western union money transfer, whom will then come over to inspect and get the check from your location . If you are allright with this arrangement, provide for me the following info:
    1)Name as to be written on check
    2)Full address
    3)Phone # pls get back to me asap so we can seal this transaction.
    Regards,
    Monday

  10. @Matt:
    You know, I remember seeing something like that too when I was selling a car. Didn’t last too long — the car was sold to a neighbor in under a week — so I didn’t get enough experience to comment on it.

    Still, you don’t want to fall for this one, either. Usually what happens is someone WILL come up and give you the check, then take the car. Then you’ll cash it, find out it’s a fake, get charged for (1) bouncing a check, and (2) passing false checks. You lose your car, some money, and possibly face jail time.

    The letter here SCREAMS of scam.

  11. Here was the scam I recieved on May 10, from Sgt. Knight from Croatia trying to sell me a call see below:………………

    Hello and sorry for my delay,
    I`m Sgt. Robert Knight . The 2000 Honda Accord EX is in perfect working condition.This detailed vehicle makes the exterior look like it just came off the assembly line.The car has 116879 highway miles.VIN Number: 1hgcg1655ya068349
    It was never involved in any accident, not even minor ones. The body and paint are great. The interior is super clean, mechanically, it runs like a cat on carpet.
    Standard Equipment:
    POWER DOOR LOCKS CRUISE CONTROL ABS POWER STEERING
    CD AM/FM RADIO POWER WINDOWS AIR CONDITIONING
    EX 2 WHEEL DRIVE POWER SEAT DRIVER DUAL AIR BAGS
    6 CYLINDER 3.0 LITER VTEC
    PICS: http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk140/2000haccordV/
    As I know that my current situation is pretty special I want the deal closed only through eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) 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 you 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 will don`t be satisfied about 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 Zagreb,Croatia and I was sent here to improve the military relationships between USA and Croatia. One months 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 we can’t register it here; it has US specs and everything, and registering it here in Europe will take for ever. My final price on it is US 2,950 $. 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. From the moment the payment is secured by eBay the shipping process will begin and it will arrive at your address in about 3 max. 4 business day 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 great day,
    Robert Knight

  12. this is the ad I replied to:

    Transmissions is Automatic
    all 4 tires are bridgestone tires – put in @ 24k miles(have paerwork if you would like to see it).

    If you have any questions you can contact me at tlgt18161@mac.com

    moon roof, adaptive light, rear shade, bmw assist, climate control, premium sound
    if you need additional pics, please feel free to email me and i will provide.still driving. windows are tinted. non smoker, no kids. well maintained (bmw dealer serviced).

    here is the response notice email address in the ad then the one that replied:

    Alice Carlson [alice.crlsn@gmail.com]

    Hi,i see from your email that you are interested in the condition of the BMW.
    so you have to know that the car is 100% working and looking very good,no flaws or dents,
    no scratches or any kind of damage,no flood or wrecked and it has a US clear title,the interior
    looks great,is brand new condition because I have took care of it like it was my baby (the car is
    located in Ephraim, Utah ready to be shipped).This is a regretful sale but unfortunately i
    need money for my son , he is in hospital and i really need money for him.This is why i am
    selling the car so cheap.BUY IT NOW for $ 4,600 because i want to close a quick and smooth
    deal with a serious person.About the shipping i can tell you that will be done through DAS
    and it will take no more than 3 days.The car will be insured at the shipping company for the transport
    and the shipping cost is free because my brother work’s at the shipping company and he has 1
    transportation per year for free.If you are still interested please reply me asap.
    28,909 miles
    VIN: wbana73504b811601
    Thanks

  13. What happens if you give a scammer your address and phone number, and he has your legit email address too?

    I finally figured out he was scamming me but I worry about even that info being in his hands.

  14. That’s a good question, Bridgit. Considering both the phone and address can generally be found using a phone book (or simple online searches on whitepages.com, and considering your email address is pretty much a given if you’ve contacted the person online, I don’t think that’ll be enough information for there to be any real harm to be done to you. So long as they don’t have any information like you license driver’s number, social security number, or credit card number, I think you’ll be fine.

  15. nick and andre,
    i too received that e-mail. i knew it was too good to be true, but no harm done as long as no personal info or money was given out. did either of you follow up on this?

  16. also got the same type reply as Andre, also after a different initial email address from craigslist (scranton, pa). alice.crlsn@gmail.com was the 2nd email that came. Provided VIN, pics that included license plate. After finding this thread, though, I just stopped responding. Did a google search on the email and found this thread – so thanks for saving me and others from an annoying hassle or worse.

  17. Has anyone out there from Georgia been scammed by craigslist ebay vehicle protection plan scammers? Interested as I have been scammed and looking for anyone who has filed a police report

  18. This was my conversation with a craigslist post in Austin. It was too good to be true.

    Hello,

    Thank you for your interest in my car.This is a 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid, 3.0L V6 PFI SOHC 24V,clean title, Very Low Mileage. Only 30,480 miles. Exterior Color: Gray ,Interior Color: Charcoal ,Transmission: Automatic. Kept under Honda Car Cover inside garage at all time, VIN# : JHMCN36555C017612.

    Here you can find more pictures of the car: http://s440.photobucket.com/albums/qq122/2005hondahybrid/
    (if the above link does not work copy and paste it into a new web browser window)

    The car has been well taken care of, always kept in the garage.Flawless exterior/interior condition,no scratches and no dents.It has never been involved in an accident.The engine starts and drives like new and the paint looks great.It comes with US clear title which will be signed and notorized in the buyer’s name.Have original manual.

    I’m an US Air Force Sgt. currently stationed in the United Kingdom.The car is here with me. It was bought in the US and shipped to Europe, but it was never permanently registered here, the car is still registered in the US.The car is for sale locally as well, but there are slim chances of this to happen. In order to be able to register this car here in the UK the buyer would have to pay very high import/custom taxes that will double the price. So I decided to sell the car back in the US.

    The final price is $4,990.00 including shipping from the UK to the US and delivery to your home address.

    So if you decide to buy this car or need further information please get back to me as soon as possible.

    Thank you and have a great day
    Sgt. Daniel Tomlin

    Hi Sgt. Tomlin,

    Thank you for your reply. This car seems excellent for my needs. I am a student at the University of Texas. I currently commute to Westlake everyday and would love to help out the environment by owning a hybrid. I would really like to have your Honda.

    I agree on your final price for the vehicle. Is it possible though, that we could have a basic contract made up regarding the purchase and success of its delivery? Also, would you prefer a down payment with consequent payments or payment in full? If we need to do some sort of electronic transfer, I would be fine with that form of payment. Let me know your thoughts on this matter.

    Thank you for what you do to ensure the security of our Nation. I appreciate what you are doing for the US. God Bless.

    Regards,

    [notice that there was no response to my serving the nation comment]

    I will have the car shipped from UK by an US Air Force cargo plane so there won’t be any additional shipping costs. Also I will arrange for a truck to transport the car to your home address or, if you like, you can pick it up from the nearest airport in your area. The shipping will take 6-8 days, depending on your location.Shipping will be door to door,to your home address,somebody must be home when the car arrives to sign for the reception.The car will arrive with all the papers and documents required for registration and the keys. The clear title and the bill of sale will be already signed by me.

    The payment will be done through eBay.You will send the money to eBay and as soon as the payment is confirmed they will notify me to proceed with the shipping. I will ship the car, you will receive it and you will have 5 days for inspection, both the car and the paperwork and the option to accept or reject the car.The inspection time period will begin as soon as you sign for receiving the car at your requested address.During all this time eBay will hold the money into a trust account.So, this is not a blind transaction,you can see the car before decided to buy it.If you are satisfied with the car and decide to keep it you inform eBay about this and they will release the money to me. If the car is not as advertised and decide not to keep it eBay will refund you the money, no questions asked, and shipping back the car will be my concern. I think this is more than fair for the both of us.Please take in to consideration that I will get paid only after you receive the car and make sure everything is as agreed.

    If you agree with these terms and you have the money, send me your full name and the address where you want the car to be delivered to and I will initiate the transaction with eBay. You will receive all the transaction details from them.

    I will appreciate an answer as soon as possible.

    Thank you
    Daniel

    Dear Daniel,

    After some deliberation regarding the vehicle, I have decided to not purchase it. Thank you for your time and effort in this matter.Just as a warning, I am going to post you on this website, so hopefully your fun is over:

    http://www.gnorb.net/life/20060919/avoiding-craigslist-scammers/

    I knew it when you didn’t thank me for that comment about serving the country. I know that military men are more courteous than con artists.

  19. [[NAME DELETED – Editor]] is a craigslist scammer – he will attempt to buy your goods, send you an overnighted check from a fals bank account that is thousands of dollars MORE than what you asked for. then he wants you to send him teh change – 100.00 plus themoney for your item. he will say his secretary made the mistake.

    he will say that his representitive will come by to pick up the item after you send him the tracking and money order info for the CHANGE he wanted back ( Thousands of dollars ) your bank will not tell you the money is not real till much later and you will be robbed of thousands of dollars.

    Old scam, i suggest you let him send the check – it costs him about 20 dollars every time. then never cash it. jusy keep it or take it to the police. if enough of do this to all the scammers they will have to quit!

  20. Scams: what to look for, Craigslist cars
    1. no phone number of seller
    2. no shown license plate on cars
    3. photo taken in another part of country. Look at the architecture
    4. untraceable e mail URL, ie: gmail, ymail, Yahoo, & many others
    5. multiple posts for same, or other cars, by anyone in military. they aren’t.
    6. fake military e mail address, ie msgt.wilsontom.army.@yahoo/gmail/others
    miltary addresses end with the branch they serve, not gmail, yahoo, etc
    7. price is too good
    8. they use “img” pics alot, as they steal pics and paste them, but
    sometimes take times to convert to “pic”
    9. mostly, they use “by owner”, but not always. some show “by dealer”
    10. many times, they exclude name of city.
    11. for the most part, have horrible english grammer skills
    12. eBay/CL NEVER gets involved in outside transactions
    13. any mention of shipping, is a lie
    14. they don’t address questions you pose, just a form letter
    15. very little personal description of car, just stated options in a list.

    I could go on and on. they keep trying to change it up a bit, and still think we are all stupid enough not to notice warning signs, out of greed to get a cheap deal

  21. Here’s an e-mail string from today. I nearly fell for this one. Thanks for your website!

    Thanks for reply. The price for 2005 Chevrolet Silverado C/K1500 4×4 Crew Cab LS is $4,950 and the shipping cost to your address is included. The car will be delivered at your home and you will not have to pick it up. The shipping will take 3-5 days and you will have to be home and sign the delivery papers.
    As a former Chevrolet employee, I had access to the Chevrolet Employee Store and I bought the car for a very low price. The car is being sold to help pay for a major investment and time is really an issue for me. I have the money stocked with this car, so the low price is for a fast deal. However, knowing many people in this domain, I still can get more cars for such a low price.
    The payment will be done to an ebay agent, because it’s fast, trouble free and covered by ebay. No offense, but I need to be sure that the person who receives the car is verified by a legitimate 3rd party. Look how this works:
    1. I will contact ebay and give all the info about this deal.
    2. They will email us the forms which are needed for our deal.
    3. You will send the money to eBay and they will confirm your payment.
    4. I will ship the car to your location and you will have 7 days to inspect it. If you decide to keep it, you will inform ebay and they will send me the money.
    If you are ready to buy the car, please let me know your full name and the delivery address to set up all the things on my end.

    Many thanks,

    Jane

    In a message dated 5/26/2009 11:41:47 AM Pacific Standard Time, @yahoo.com writes:

    Jane,

    I would love to take advantage of this deal but I want to make sure this is on the up and up. I hope you can understand that, this is an incredibly good price for this vehicle and I can imagine the cost of shipping it to AZ where I live is not cheap. Assuming the truck is still available, is there anyone I can contact from E-Bay that will confirm the legitimacy of this ad? If it is legit, I will submit my name and delivery address ASAP.

    Thanks,
    Ron

    From: “schevy4u@aol.com”
    To: @yahoo.com
    Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 12:31:55 PM
    Subject: Re: Craigslist ad

    Hello,

    The car is still available and the price for 2005 Chevrolet Silverado C/K1500 4×4 Crew Cab LS is $4,950. It has done 49,000 miles and has been well taken care of, always kept in the garage. It doesn’t have any dents, chips or scratches and the interior is great, never smoked in. The car has a clear title, no liens or loans and never been in an accident. It comes with bill of sale in your name, title, owner’s manual and all the keys.
    I was recently promoted and had to move to the UK. I’m located in London and the car is in Alexandria, VA. I have made all the arrangements and the car is already in a shipping container (sealed with all the papers inside). You can’t inspect it now and the shipping and insurance charges are included in this price. The shipping takes 3-5 days and the car is delivered at your home.
    I decided to make this transaction through eBay because I believe this protects both buyer and seller and it’s the right way to do the sale. You send the money to eBay and they hold the payment until the car is delivered. You have 7 days to inspect the car and the documents. I get the money after you check the car and make sure everything is as agreed.
    If the car is not as described and you want to return it, I will arrange to ship it back (on my costs) and you will be 100% refunded by ebay. I’m sure you will love the car and will not want to return it but it’s good to know that you have this option available.
    If you have the funds available and want to buy the car, I need your full name and the delivery address to inform ebay about this sale and receive the transaction details from them as soon as possible.

    Many thanks,

    Jane

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