Craigslist Scammer Scammed by Skunkfeathers
Editor’s note: The post below was written and published by my friend, Skunkfeathers, at his blog of the same name. While I’ve condensed it slightly to reduce its carbon footprint (just kidding), I have not changed the flavor of the piece, ensuring it stays in line with previous Skunky posts, all of which have to do with scamming online scammers. Enjoy!
By Skunkfeathers, Guest Blogger
A friend’s spouse places a “for sale” ad on Craigslist. The ad draws a response. After a couple emails and phone conversations, a deal for the item is negotiated, and the friend’s spouse sits back to await the arrival of payment via UPS. Then comes the first “barking spider in the elevator” — the check that arrives is not for the negotiated price, but for more than six times that amount.
When the respondent/prospective purchaser is queried, the email response is the equivalent of an “oh whoops…error” followed by instructions that rightly send a *TOING* through the seller: deposit the check, keep $100 for the trouble and the amount due for the purchase, and send the balance back via Western Union (the balance being $3700).
Another *TOING* for the seller: the check arrived via UPS from Sacramento. The destination for the Western Union payment: a small town in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. And the check? From a business AND bank in Cleveland. Different names for each participant: check sender, wire recipient, account holder AND prospective purchaser.
My friend wisely tells her spouse to go to the bank and have the check verified. Third *TOING*: it turns out to be as bad as a “William Hung’s Greatest Hits” album.
Most of y’all know what you’d do in a case like this. So whaddaya suppose THEY did? My friend called yours truly for advice and, in the woids of Hazzard County Sheriff Roscoe P. Coaltrane, “Geyuch, geyuch, hot pursuit!”
After giving her the normal schpiel (i.e., “DON’T deposit the check. DO call the police. DO notify Craigslist. DO save all correspondence.”), I had one of those patented *TOING*s of my own and asked her if she’d mind sending me copies of all the emails. After explaining to her why I wanted her to send them, she was all too pleased to do so. Game on!
Well, maybe: maybe this scammer is a brain cell better than a doorknob. Of course, I’ve had three concussions, so I’m prone to delusional “benefit of doubt”-granting now and again. So I read the scammer’s last email to the seller — who has been conspicuously silent since finding out the check was worth a sheet of used toilet paper — and realize that nawp, the doorknob’s one up on the scammer in the intellect department. Read for yourself (written here exactly as sent by the scammer who goes by “Brain,” not “Brian”):
Email Title: DEAD OR ALIVE?
HELLO (Name left out by moi). WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY PAYMENT WITH YOU? I WANT YOU TO GWT BACK TO ME TODAY OR ELSE I WILL REPORT YOU TO FBI. OR YOU WANT TO RUN SCAM ON ME?
So my friend’s hubby is now stepping out of the picture, and I am is taking over. Let’s see if Brain notices the difference after the relay baton hand-off:
I am so sorry for the delay in my reply. What with the weather here — snow, hurricanes, bird crap pandemics — I have been under the weather, and not able to do much. But I am feeling better, so now I can attend to business.
Brain, you don’t need to go to the FBI. What’s with that? I mean, are we doing a business deal here or what? You’ve completed some of your end, and now await me to do some of my end, so you can get your money and machines, and I can get on with working on my time accelerator/decelerator project.
So that I understand this: the check you sent me for $4500 was a mistake made by the moving company. I understand mistakes. We’re human, unless we’re marsupials. You want me to deduct the money for the machines you’re buying, plus money for my time and trouble, and I’m to Money Gram you back the balance of $100, right? Please confirm that I understand this correctly, and I’ll see to it.
The reply below suggests that Brain doesn’t notice the difference:
Hello (name withheld)
thanks for the mail and honest, All what you said is right only the thing you do for me is that kindely deduct you fund for the item and another $100 for you running around and egt the remaing $3700 send to my shipping company here is their info below
NAME: DEVON CROUSE
ADDRESS: 36 TATE AVE
STATE: NORTH CAROLINA
ZIP CODE: 27302
Afterward i will require the following info from you…..
1. The name and address of the sender
2. The amount sent. (after deducting the transfer charges)
3. The reference number money gram
Please deduct the transfer charges from the amount you want to send to the mover, also i will like you to send me the map quest to your house so that it would be easy for my mover when coming…
And before I can reply, I get this supplemental from Brain (who, at least in this email, says his name is “Brian”):
Prior to our conversation on the phone i will like you to know the hundred dollars i am talking about in my last mail is the money i am giving you for your inconveniences, i will like you to transfer the remaining fund after deducting the price of machines to the shipper who will come to pickup the machine so that he can deliver both the machine and the remaining money to me, i will be most happy if you can assist me with this because i am beginning to worry about the whole situation, it will be better if you can send the money to the shipper ASAP so that he will commerce with the pickup immediately.
Since Brain failed the “notice-the-relay-baton hand-off’ test,” now it’s time to test Brain’s comprehension skills:
Once we have the moneys properly accounted for, kindly tell your movers to be very careful when they do arrive to pick up the machines. My two pit bulls — Bloody and Mary — have kind of adopted the machines, after an unsuccessful adoption of a family of grackels. It was cute, albeit ludicrous. Anyway, I haven’t yet been able to get the machines separated from the dogs, as they’re still in the suckling state of relationship evolution, but I will do my best before the movers arrive.
They’re coming from North Carolina? Damn! When can I expect them? Anyway, confirm the money arrangement, and I’ll be off to Western Gram later today during my errands. And thanks again for giving me the business, Brain!
Then I follow up with this to his follow up:
Thank you for the clarification to help me get this right; things have been worse than a porcupine enema around here lately. I am to send $100 to the address you sent me via Money Union, and give the movers the balance when they arrive. And please that you warn the movers about the dogs. This is very important because I don’t want them to get eaten. The dogs are pretty fond of those machines.
A day goes by with no further communication. Perhaps Brain has grown one and realized what he’s reading, so I decide to prod ‘him:
So the movers won’t have a problem picking up the machines, I’m taking them now to my in-law’s house. The address is: 161 Gregory Street, Central City CO 80427 (you should be able to Mapquest this for the movers, no problem) (since it’s an abandoned house, it’s really no problem). There, the dogs won’t be a problem for the movers, and they can pick up the money there. I’ll tell my brother-in-law Enis all about how this works, so he won’t shoot the movers as trespassers. Enis has had a few concussions, and ain’t totally right, but he understands things when I explain it to him carefully. I’m leaving now to deliver them and make the Western Gram payment for $100.
When this doesn’t draw a response from Brain, I try one more prod later in the day:
The Money Union thing is sent, just as you instructed! I’ll look forward to having your movers pick up the machines from my in-law’s house. Tell ‘em to use Mapquest to find the address I gave you. It’s better than dealing with a sulking Bloody and Mary, I assure you!
Any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me! Oh, and use my new Verizon cell phone to reach me: (a number that rings to a fax that’s never answered).
And shore ’nuff, the last prod dun stirred ol’ Brain:
What is happen with Western Union?you didn’t send me informations I need. What is going on now?
I let him chew on no response overnight, and in the morning, send him this plot twist:
I am sooooo sorry about this. But that goat-smelling egg-sucking galoot brother-in-law of mine, Enis, he called me and told me that the machines I left there for your movers, he went and sold off to a scrap dealer neighbor of his. Dammit!
I’m real sorry about that. But since I’ve still got your money for the sale and for the movers, I’ve got plenty of other things I can sell you: a used Clapper (it’s like an automatic on-off switch, when it works); a Barney-the-Purple-Dinosaur phone, that sings instead of rings to announce calls (Kids love me, yes you see, I can eat them three by three, it’s for youuuuu). Or a one-of-a-kind collection of fossilized corn cobs used as toilet paper by a tribe of Australopithicus, a whole bunch of years before Christ or my great-grandma’s fruitcake recipe. Or how about a collection of rare, exotic stuffed animals, the centerpiece of which is a cross between a pheasant and a duck? It’s called a…well, I can’t say ‘cuz I have manners, but it says what it is on the plaque. It’s kinda kewl; my wife just doesn’t like it because it sounds dirty.
Or I got a lot of other stuff that I store in an old house up in Central City. Email me here or call me at my new cell number after 8am EDST, and we can work it out, just like the Beatles.
The better part of the day passes, and I finally get this from Brain:
I understand all youve said and i wont want you to be hard on your inlaw, please the $100 i was talking about was for you, please at this junction i am not intersted in buying anything any longer send the remaining money to my shipper because they still have some of my items with them, and i will want you to deduct your money for the machine and get the reminning balance which is going to be $3800 and get back to me with money gram info 8 digit refrence number so that they can continue my package around your area Please i am banking on your HONESTY.
LOL…”banking on your HONESTY”…*snort*…how I do love how man trusts his fellow man who he’s tryin’ to swindle on Craigslist. Puts a lump in my bowels, shore ’nuff.
To read Skunky’s reply about the downward spiral of events (for Brain & Co), read Part II.