Craiglist is one of the largest sites on the internet for buying and selling services. In addition to only writing about Craigslist on the blog , I’ve also only used the site twice, and both of those times were to sell something. The first was to sell some furniture I had after we moved back into our home. That was a great transaction and someone came to the house, picked it up, paid for it and we were all good.
The second time around was not as successful, but it did leave me with this interesting story to tell.
I just recently listed a bunch of gaming systems on Craigslist that I never use anymore. I figured I would grab more interest by throwing a brand new unopened Xbox One into the bundle as well. The listing was for a Playstation 3, Three XBox 360 systems, a New XBox One and a bunch of games. The price was $1300 for it all.
The day after the listing went live, I got an email from an interested party. The girl said the wanted to buy it for her son, but didn’t want all of the systems… just the XBox One and the Playstation 3, but she would still pay the same price. (the first sign this buyer was odd)
She also said she would pay for shipping of the items. I asked where she lived, as most Craigslist buyers are local to the listing as they prefer to pick items up personally than having to pay for shipping. The girl followed up and said he was in Utah and that she would like the packages mailed through USPS Express mail and would send payment through Paypal.
The next day I asked for payment and the address of where to ship the items. This is when it got really weird… her respond was the following.
Once I saw the Nigeria address I knew something was up.
I also hadn’t received payment into my account yet… but then I received the following emails from “Paypal”.
The first email was to show me that payment was sent to Paypal.
The second email was to notify me that the payment was received by Paypal but wouldn’t be released until the shipping confirmation was received. It was also surprising to see the buyer would more than willingly add an additional $250 to cover shipping costs.
If I was your average internet user, this would have come off pretty convincing, and I’m sure people are falling for this every day.
The clear giveaway that this was fraudulent for me was the following:
- Paypal doesn’t send out these types of emails
- Paypal doesn’t hold your money for confirmation of shipment
- No funds or notifications were ever in my Paypal account
- The “from” email in these addresses linked back toÂ email@example.com
The unfortunate thing is that this scheme is VERY convincing to the unsuspecting internet user. I imagine thousands of these transactions are taking place every day and going after high priced items on Craiglist. Even if just 1 out of every 50 or 100 of these actually go through, they are making money out of it as people would be sending them high priced items for free.
I’m sure this type of activity is even at a higher rate right now with holiday shopping going on. Be careful who you buy and sell products through when using the internet, Craigslist and Paypal.
Spread the word and awareness on scams like this going on across the internet and on Craigslists!