Quick Cash, Rewards, and A Craigslist Scam – Don’t Fall For This!

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I'm finally getting around to cleaning out my “storage closets” and the one room that holds all my extra crap.  One of the fastest ways to get rid of it is put it up on Craigslist.

#1 – They pick up immediately and get it out of your way.

#2 – They pay you cash!

#3 – If you don't think you can get cash – you can list on “FREE STUFF” and have 30 people climbing your fence within 30 minutes!  CRAZY!

So I have an old table. .some chairs.. three old computers.. an old fax machine.. some paintings.. etc..  (and today, I made $1100)

So I posted on Monday – by Wednesday – I have traded my crap for $1100.  NOT TOO SHABBY!

BUT today was a little different.  I received 15 emails from different email addresses but with similar sounding approaches.

Most of them start out like this:

Email #1 – Is your item still available?

—> Of course it is.  I haven't deleted it yet.. You just found it and emailed me from it..   So yeah – all signs points to yes.

Email #2 –

Thanks for the mail, I'm seriously interested in buying this for my son and am okay with your selling price, I'm a Petroleum Engineer and currently offshore i really want this as a surprise gift for my son so i won't let him know anything about this until it get delivered to him. You can mail me back with your paypal email address so i can make the payment to you right now and if you don't have an account with paypal you can set up an account today as it's secured and reliable visit their website on www.paypal.com. Do not worry about shipping or picking up as my pick up agent will come and pick it up from you once have made the payment to you and your full address and phone number will be needed for the pickup arrangement I would love to speak with you through the phone but due to my work as a Petroleum Engineer i work mainly offshore, our phone is down on the rig right now due to bad weather, We can still communicate through the email exchange for now.I will be looking forward to read back from you real soon with the paypal email address and your full address including phone number for the pickup arrangement.

—> Sure, always some sob story about working long hours.. away from telephone lines..

There are two tricks to this:

Trick #1: Let's say you receive a cashier's check or even a paypal.  You deposit into your bank account, and it shows up as available balance.  This appears to have cleared the bank.

So an agent comes to your door – picks up your expensive item.

The problem – the money finally BOUNCES in your bank account leaving you with a potential negative balance and missing your expensive item!  They usually go for $2,000 or more in value.

Trick #2: Let's say they deliver you a cashier's check.  Sometimes they write it for $300 to $500 over the amount you're asking..   They want you to pay the difference.  Ooops – just send me the difference – I'll send someone.  Someone shows up to collect the $300 to $500 – and guess what?

The money BOUNCES in your bank account, and you are out $300 to $500.

Here are some sample scam emails that I received:


Thanks for getting back to me at your earliest.I am buying it for my family as a surprise to our new home that we are  planing on moving in with my family and am make this as a surprise gift which i would not let any of them to know about it until is pickup, although i am presently not within reach(on work basis) but i will arrange for it to be picked up by agent which will be coming for the pickup once  the payment  is cleared, so i don't think i will be able to come see it myself due to security protocol of my job and phone conversation is very limited . Payment will be made via PayPal as its only payment option i can access here and would want you to do please understand me. (if you don't have an account, PayPal is very easy, safe and secure, log on to www.PayPal.com) and you don't need to worry about PayPal charges as i will be covering it. My only question and concern is are you the first owner and when have you been using it,? do you think is good as a surprise gift to a new home? would be happy to read back from you soon.

Thank you

Hi ma/sir,

is the above listed still for sale and in good condition?

From: Brown Smith [mailto:brwnsmit01@gmail.com]

Hi sir/ma,   i will want you to get back to me if the above listed is still available and in good condition??

I hope to see your mail


From: TIFFANY STAANA [mailto:tiffany36staana@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 4:12 PM

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

Do you still have this up for sale?

From: Handy Blockwell [mailto:handyblocktip@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 4:00 PM

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

Do you still have this up for sale?

From: Brown Smith [mailto:p.poner12301@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 3:53 PM

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

Hi,i saw your ad on craiglist i will like to know if it is still available for purchase  and in good condition? Get back to me soonest.

From: John Joshua [mailto:bestofme010@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 3:02 PM
To: Kit Elliott

Thanks for the prompt respond, I have read the ads and I have fully

understand the condition of the sales. I will offer you $150 plus the

original amount you want to sell it just to keep other offers off, due to the nature of my work I will not be able to come and pick it, also I will like to pay you via

PayPal or certifier check. And as soon as the payment cleared I will

organise a shipping company to come and get it shipped from you house

If you want to get paid via check get back to me now with your NAME

and ADDRESS OR by PayPal kindly get back to me ae well with your

PayPal email address so as to make the payment asap.

Hope to hear from you soon.


So my advice is “don't play nice on Craigslist”.. Come get it.. Give me cash – you get item.

Both parties are happy!  AND make sure your mom/dad/loved ones do NOT fall victim to these types of scams EVER!

Onwards and Upwards,

Kit Elliott

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Christina Zabala

    Thank you so much! I just had one of those exact emails sent to me and would have lost out on my $1000 dining room table. Thank you!

  2. Ryan

    The people who fall for these scams deserve to get their stuff taken… Seriously these are so obvious. I receive one every time I post something on CL….

    1. Kit Elliott

      Ya know! I thought the same thing until I talked to two people:

      1. One of my clients who is 78 years old – sold her house – and wired $37,000 to Nigeria.
      2. My Mom.. She almost wired money to someone.

      So I worry that there is a wire that comes loose as we get older.. and we start believing in these crazy stories. I don’t get it though..

      Just make sure your family knows.. (never wire money to anyone you don’t know)

  3. Kit Elliott

    Do you have a similar story (I know you do because I see the search terms)? Then, please post the emails to protect others.. We have to look out for each other…

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