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 Scammers hitting craigslist ads

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Hello I'm New here!

Joined: 07 Jul 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:47 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry if this has already been discussed, looked around the forum and didn't find a related thread to add on to.

I've come across a couple of attempts. One for my sister in law while she was apartment hunting in Berkeley, and another after I put up an ad to sell my old laptop.

The apartment scam involves a fake Apartment ad put up on craigslist, listing an in-town apartment a couple blocks from UC Berkeley, for a rental price a couple hundred dollars cheaper than what apartments usually go for.

Of course, my sister in law got really excited at such a find, and contacted the lister and wanted to see the apartment. That's where things go sketchy and disturbing. The sketchy part is that as things went along, the guy had a story that he was out of the country in Africa for the rest of the year and wanted to sublet his apartment while he was gone.

He wanted her to send him a deposit and he'd send her a key.

The disturbing part was that it didn't occur to her that it was a scam, and she was ready to send in the cash, until I showed her this website (thank you all, btw).

And I'm sure there are many more of these on Craigslist.

The second potential scam, I was amazed at the sheer sophistication of it.

I put up an ad on craigslist to sell my old laptop. And i got a Bite. Here's the initial email:

On Jul 2, 2010, at 11:16 AM, Mary L mario wrote:

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info:


Is the item still up for sale?
this message was remailed to you via: [email protected]

innocuous enough. and looks like a normal reply email. so i replied and said yes. I then got this reply:


Thanks for your reply, i am very glad to know that the item is still available for purchase. however i have few questions that i will like to ask you....

I would like to know the reason why you are selling it, I'll also like to know the actual condition, i mean how it works. and if you still have the original box that it comes with and what is your firm price? though i can still afford the price tagged with the listing .

If you don't mind getting paid through paypal I'll like to purchase it for my Friend Son who resides abroad, as a compensation to his excellence performance and achievement in his studies. Though I'll not be able to come for face 2 face transaction or for the pick up cause am a Naval officer and presently on a ship. But am ready to make the payment VIA PayPal..

I am ready to pay the amount you tagged with the listing and $200 for it shipping, because I'll not be able to do the shipping my self due to the nature of my job(i mean always on the ship).

So kindly send your PayPal email ID for the payment to be made instantly if you have an account with them already, and if you don't you can simply do that by going to to set it up, it very easy to set up so you can get back to me with the email id you use for the account.

I hope you will consider my request favorably. Your quick response will be appreciated

Best regards...

Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors.

of course this smelled funny, but I got curious and replied like if the person was legit.

After I sent him the answers to his questions, he said he'd buy it, and then I got an entire series of passable and legitimate looking "Paypal" emails.

Complete with images, all the dates were correct, confirmation numbers, etc.:


02 July 2010
Transaction ID: 4UL935450G273081M

You have an Instant Payment of $1200.00 USD from Mary Mario ([email protected])
Thanks for using PayPal.

It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account please follow the new PayPal policy.



Note to seller
Please get the item ship asap.

Shipping address - confirmed
Name: Micheal K Williams.
Address: No 110 quarry road,
City: Abeokuta,
State: Ogun
Country: Nigeria
Zip Code: 110001.

Postage details
USPS Express Mail Service

Description Unit price Qty Amount
Macbook Pro 15" $1000.00 USD 1 $1000.00 USD

Postage and packing $200.00 USD
Insurance - not offered ----
Total $1200.00 USD
Payment $1200.00 USD

Issues with this transaction?
This PayPal® payment has been deducted from the buyer's account and has been " APPROVED " but will not be credited to your account until the shipment reference/tracking number is sent to us for shipment verification so as to secure both (Buyer & Seller) from online fraudulent activities. Below are the necessary information requested before your account will be credited.

You will have to email us the tracking number to the PayPal Customer Care at: ([email protected])

As soon as we receive the shipment tracking number from you, you will receive a " CONFIRMATION EMAIL " concerning the accreditation of the funds into your PayPal Account and we shall get the funds credited into your PayPal Account within 24 hours.

This is due to new policies at PayPal to protect both the buyer and the seller in the face of the growing number of fraudulent activities perpetrated via the internet. Your payment is intact. You are encouraged to complete this transaction.
All you have to do is to reply directly to this mail with the Tracking # provided at the Post Office Nearest to you.You can get more information on this once the details has been sent to us and verified, you will receive a "CONFIRMATION" E-mail" from PayPal® Service informing you that your account has been credited with $1200.00 USD .The Transaction will appear in your PayPal account Overview as Mary Mario after the Tracking Number have been verified.

Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect both the Buyer and the Seller.We apologize for the inconvenience this might have caused you.

PayPal would be responsible for any loss incurred during the course of this transaction.

Questions? contact our customer care Center at: [email protected]

Get Verified – Your Key to More Security and Free Features
Get Verified and help increase the security of your PayPal transactions for yourself and for everyone with whom you do business. You can also:
Fund purchases directly from your checking or savings account, in addition to using credit cards
Improve your reputation by letting others know you're a confirmed, Verified member of the PayPal community
Send money to friends, family, and PayPal Personal Account holders

the domain and the nigerian address were what confirmed the scam attempt to me.

The real email with the formatting actually looks and breathes like an email that would come from paypal... except for the grammatical errors once you start reading it.

This was just one of the emails, I got an entire series of confirmation, pending, processing, escrow, etc. type emails. All of which would fool anybody who's never heard of 419 scams.

In any case, I just wanted to see how common this is. And if you guys have any suggestions for how to bait this person (i'm a complete noob, if u can't already tell), that'd be great. I just want to waste this person's time. I figure the more of his time I waste, the less time he's spending scamming other people.

Also, as a side note, if anyone wants to find scammers to bait, it looks like they're scraping craigslist and it may be a good place to put up a couple honey pots.

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Ima Baeder
Baiting Guru

Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 18314

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome cowtipper. Very Happy

We've actually seen the lads hitting craigslist quite a bit. Sometimes they use the fake paypal emails (you're right, they look very legit at first glance) other times they use a fake check scam and overpay for your item, asking you to send back a portion of the money through Western Union.

In some of the scams they're actually trying to steal your item with the fake payments. Other times, they don't care about your item at all and are just trying to get you to process the fake check/payments.
There is more information about this type of scam at our sister site,, here:

As for how to bait them? You already are, you're wasting their time. It sounds like you're using your real info to correspond with him. If you have an interest in baiting these types of scammers, please switch to all fake info.
If you're interested in baiting other types of scammers, have a look at our surplus forum and just "reply" to one of the scam emails posted there from an anonymous account. You'll find tons of tips about getting started baiting in the scambaiting help forum and Eater University forum.

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Hello I'm New here!

Joined: 07 Jul 2010
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:04 am Reply with quoteBack to top

awesome, thanks! unfortunately, the first couple emails were done with my real email and name.... yes, rookie mistake #1... I'll just let this one go and check out the surplus like you suggested. Very Happy
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Dya Reyarunen-Downmeleg
Baiting Guru

Joined: 10 Aug 2009
Posts: 4129
Location: At the toilet door yelling are you almost done in there? Oops, too late...

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Cowtipper!
Welcome to Eater!

^ You are my favorite Canadian on Earth. Very Happy Pastor Frank

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so as to enable the conclusion of this transaction on your behalf since you are not dead because if you are dead you would not have write me because I know that never will a dead
write to living...
I could receive the document official which you want to forward me for adhesion with [email protected]
I am captivated, impressed and hypnotised with your sincerity
This you’re [email protected] has it existed some how somewhere before?
Your ASSCODE is: 999-035-2655

"I Am Not a Justin Beiber Fan" innocent.being

Steward, WTF?

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