Craig's List Scams - Beware When Buying or Selling on - See this example.

Classified Ad Scams

Newspaper classified ads sections, including their online versions, and new websites like Craig's list (  and ) and other online classified advertising websites have made it much easier to sell and buy articles from exercise equipment, jewelry, to automobiles and even houses. But sometimes the seller has nothing to sell (except a fraud) or the buyer is more interested in passing a bad check than buying your articles!

What can you do to defend yourself against the scammers on Craigslist? The best approach is to be cautious, and learn how they operate.

What are some of the clues that this is a scam?

  1. First, you will notice the syntax and grammar.  Often, it is not obviously bad, it's just plain strange. It looks like it was written by someone who is not a native English-speaker, and writes very rarely in English. This is very typical of scammers, who largely are in Nigeria and have little formal education and probably none in English.
  2. Next, a very common sign of the scam: he wants to write a check in excess of the required amount. Why? That makes no sense at all. If he hasn't got a bank account, he could always pay in cash or get a money order.
  3. Then, he wants the "excess" from the check sent BACK to him (or to others) via Western Union! Alarm bells should be going off by now.  Western Union wires and Moneygrams are not only untraceable, they're irretrievable.  Once the recipient picks them up (which can be done at ANY Western Union office in the world), the money is gone, gone, gone!
  4. The scammers NEVER can meet in person.  They may have a $50,000 boat to sell to you or want to buy a $45,000 car from you, but somehow they are always "out of the country" on business, in in the army, whatever.  In the real world, anyone buying or selling something for more than a few hundred dollars, wants to see it first.  And especially when renting a house or apartment!
  5. Scammers frequently ramble on about things that really don't matter to the sale of a tangible object, such as their sick mother, their religion, their past experiences, etc. They often refer to "trust", "faith" and God; in ways that no rational person in western Society would ever do in a business transaction, as in, "I know I can trust you", or "my faith in God tells me to enter this agreement with you".
  6. And then there are the little clues; signs like the strange name change.  First he may be "David Rapheal", then he's suddenly Shawn Nickolas, supposedly in England, yet the first name has an American spelling and the last name is spelled more like an Eastern European or Germanic origin. Look for inconsistencies in names and places, like phone numbers from countries other than where he claims to be.
  7. Look for the huge number of misspellings, poor punctuation and made-up words.  Again, this is typical of the scammer filth who live and operate in Nigeria.

Examples from actual emails that illustrate this type of classified ad and CraigsList scam:

Scammers offering fake jobs

  1. Learn to be Rich, Charlotte, NC; Admin Support, work from home, on Craig's List

Scammers posing as sellers; offering something for sale

  1. Selling a Car in Canada, Seller is in Scotland, such as a 2005 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER, Honda Pilot, etc.
  2. Selling an Apple iPhone 3G: Raymond Hassan, Rahman Ahmed, Chiswick, London
  3. Selling a car - Andy Mac
  4. Selling a car - David Terron Franklin - "Buyer deposit the money to Global Payments Inc using Money Gram."
  5. Selling a car, located in Hawaii
  6. Newspaper Classified Ad scams: Toyota Corolla- Mark Robinson
  7. Selling a used car - William R. Butler,, Helena, Montana, 2004 Nissan Murano SL, "I have the car sealed at DAS terminal ready to be shipped out
  8. Ruben Campos, Ulyssess, Kansas,, " he was in the army and was in and out of town because of it."

Scammers posing as landlords; offering something for hire, rent or lease

  1. Renting an Apartment Scams - Rev.Nicolas Mogan, Gramercy Park Apartment for $600, all utilities included???

Scammers posing as tenants, renters or agents:

  1. Replies to a legitimate "Room for Rent" listing, using these names: Bibiana Fernandez, Debbie Johnson, Janet Scott, Ray Bella, etc.
  2. Room, Apartment or House Rental Scams - Sandra Martinez, Spain / Africa
  3. Renting a house in the U.S.... from Belgium?
  4. Renting a room - scammers using these names: Selena Johnson, Gina Adams, Jessica Richardson, Becky Lora, Jullian Williams and many others, from Canada, Spain, Benin, Ireland, the UK, etc., abroad, a professional woman, returning to the US
    "US Cashiers Check or Money Order to you, overpayment, then Western Union the excess"
  5. For rent - David Rapheal

Scammers posing as customers or buyers:

  1. Buying Picture Frames - Rev MiKe ToNy,
  2. Selling a TimeShare - Jim Baker, Mike Moore
  3. Frank Larry, Christopher Cajubam, JoAnn Darling
  4. Alex Moon,, "Can i trust u with the money?"
  5. Global Timeshare Sales, Steve or Kyle, 800-859-9394, "he has a buyer for your timeshare"

Other scam reports:

  1. March 18, 2008:
    Advertisment for San Diego, CA on for Yorkie, Maltese and other breeds of puppies.  Advertiser responds saying puppies went to Benin Africa and are ready for shipping to new owner.


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