Scams using these names: Jim Baker, Mike Moore, TimeShare
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
What are the clues that this is a scam?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
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.