Time Share Scam - Classified AdScams - Beware When Buying or Selling on CraigsList.com - See this example.

Craig's List Scammers
http://www.craigslist.org/  and  http://london.craigslist.org/

Scams using these names: Jim Baker, Mike Moore, TimeShare Trader

Are you looking to sell a timeshare, a house, or rent a house? Craig's list and other online classified advertising websites, from E-Bay to Yahoo Stores 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!

Note that the names of legitimate businesses are often used.  In this case, there is a real "Timeshare Trader", and the scammer claimed that he worked for them, but of course, they had never heard of him.  Honest companies can be victimized by scammers using their names without their knowledge. Always call the company's phone number from the yellow pages (paper or online version) directly - don't use the number that a potential scammer gives you; to verify that the person is an employee.

Similarly, the names given, in this case, Jim Baker, Mike Moore" may be the names of real people who are unaffiliated with the scam.  They may even be the names of real employees of the companies - the scammers can easily get their names by walking into an office, showroom, or from a company's website. Again, if someone tells you he is "Jim Baker", you want to ask, how can you verify that he is this person? Driver's license is a start, but these can be forged, too.

What are the clues that this is a scam?

  1. First, you will notice the syntax and grammar.  Often, is it not pathetically 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, 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 other individuals, often in many different locations, and always by Western Union or Money Gram! 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. And then there are the little clues; signs like the strange name change.  First he's "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.
  5. Look at 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.

An actual email that illustrate this type of CraigsList scam:

We may highlight passages that illustrate typical scam clues:

Email 1 - from the victim:

I have recently been the victim of a scam involving a timeshare I have been trying to sell. 

On Wednesday, January 23, 2008, I received a phone call from a man that said he had sold my timeshare (I have been trying to sell a timeshare I own for quite some time) but I needed to immediately wire him, via Western Union, $500 for the title fee. 

He said his name was Jim Baker, said he was in Orlando and he represented Timeshare Trader.  When he called "Trader Timesh.." came up on the caller ID but no phone number appeared.  His cell phone number is (was) 561-880-7867. 

He had me wire the money to a Mike Moore in Boca Raton, FL.  He said I would receive a package the Friday, January 25, via FedEx, with my check for the timeshare plus a contract.  He said he had sold the timeshare for $22,000, almost 3 times more than I bought it for back in 2002.  Although I questioned him from the moment he started calling, he said enough things that made it seem as though this was legitimate so I went along. 

On Thursday, January 24, 2008, he called and said there was an unexpected closing cost of $400.  When I questioned him he said that, to make me feel more secure, I could put my son's name as the reciever of the $400, Western Union wire again, and that when I got the check and the contract I could go to any Western Union and change the receiver name from my son's name to whoever. 

I felt this was safe because I knew Western Union required ID before paying out the wire transfers, so I wire the $400 to Boca Raton but the "receiver" was listed in my son's name.  On Friday January 25, of course there is no check or contract at the appointed time so I call.  Jim says there is another problem, that the seller can't come up with his $400, his half of the closing cost, and if I helped the buyer out then the buyer would give me an additional $1,500 or $23,500 in all. 

By this time I knew I was in the midst of a scam so I called the company he said he represented and, of course, he is not an employee of theirs (Condo Trader or Timeshare Trader). 

Additionally I called Western Union and both the wires, the original $500 and the $400 that was supposed to have been in my son's name had been picked up.  The last time Jim called I asked him how the $400 in my son's name had already been picked up. 

He started saying that he didn't know but he would find out.  I congratulated him on being such a good con man and told him I was done.  He hung up.  I called Western Union and reported the illegal pick up.  They said they would "investigate" and get back too me.  I had told "Jim" my son's name, so they either had connections in Western Union or someone who can create a fake ID in very little time. 

I don't expect to get my money back but I don't want other people to get sucked in like me.


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