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View Full Version : Caution! craigslist scammers



BlueMountain
Apr-25-2008, 7:48am
Here's a warning for members. Yesterday I was looking at Craig's List for Philadelphia. I found an ad for a 2002 Gibson Fern for $1899! Smelling a rat, I wrote to the address given. Here's the reply I received from <name and address removed by moderator>:

"Thank you for your email. I still have it for sale.Right now i am in Canada at my parents ranch with my son but i hope that`s not going to be a problem because i can still handle the transaction. When i left for Canada, i left the item along with several other items in the custody of The Online Outpost because i wanted to sell them on eBay when i return, but something came up back home and i decided to sell this one before i get back but not on ebay because i need to sell it faster. So if you are still interested let me know because i can make the transaction immediately.There will also be a 10 days return policy on the unit.
Just let me know and i will explain all the details of the transaction...
Best Regard."

So I wrote back, saying I wanted to pick it up in person from The Online Outpost (which is a real company, not a scam). I got this answer:

"Hello again,
As i said in my first email i will explain how The Online Outpost works because i want you to be clear on every aspect of this transaction.They are one of the best eBay selling services. You simply drop an item to one of their stores or they pick it up from your home ,you find a buyer and they will take care of the rest. When i left in Canada i left 4 items for sale in their custody, they picked them up from my home so don`t ask at what store, or where the item is exactly because i don`t know...as long as they are handling the shipping and handling i don`t care where they are. I forgot to mention that the shipping is included in the price of sale. They offered me a discount on shipping because i am selling a large number of items and i can afford that.So basically they have the item insured and ready for shipping. As soon as i will have your shipping details i will send it to them and they will start the transaction. They will email you with an invoice and payment instructions. You will have to send the payment to one of their agents by following the payment instructions. Then you will send the payment details to them, they will validate the transaction and will start the shipping ASAP. If you will have questions you can ask them directly.

Unfortunately the pick up is not possible because this is an urgent sale (like i said before i intended to sell this on eBay when i should have returned from Canada but due to some recent problems back home i am forced to sell it now). The Online Outpost suggested to offer a return policy because my offers would substantially increase so i am offering a 10 day guarantee. This eliminates the pick up option but you will have the time to inspect it and decide if you want it or not. If for any reason you decide not to keep it, they will give you a full refund and will return the item on my expense.
So if you agree with this terms and decide to proceed, then i will need your full name and shipping address in order to start the transaction.As soon as i receive this details from you i will forward them to The Online Outpost exactly as you sent them.
Thank you"

Well, you may think that's honest enough. However, I had also searched Craig's List for other cities. In Atlanta, I found, for $2,000, "Antique Gibson Mandolin model F4. You are looking at a classical Gibson F4 which dates to circa 1936-1937 ( I did a short research on the web based on itís serial # 93313)."

Wow! Too good to be true! So, using my work e-mail, I wrote to the person. Here is the message I got back from <different name and address removed by moderator>:

"Thank you for your email. I still have it for sale.Right now i am in Canada at my parents ranch with my son but i hope that`s not going to be a problem because i can still handle the transaction. When i left for Canada, i left the item along with several other items in the custody of The Online Outpost because i wanted to sell them on eBay when i return, but something came up back home and i decided to sell this one before i get back but not on ebay because i need to sell it faster. So if you are still interested let me know because i can make the transaction immediately.There will also be a 10 days return policy on the unit.
Just let me know and i will explain all the details of the transaction...
Best Regard."

Look familiar? Caveat Emptor! There are good deals to be had, but not all that glitters is gold. Some people could be losing serious money this way, and they think they're getting a great buy. I'm sure that if I sent them money, I wouldn't get anything back.

BlueMountain
Apr-25-2008, 8:45am
I don't mean to suggest that there are no good deals on Craig's List. I bought a wonderful mandolin there last year at a great price, but I drove three hours each way to see it before I paid for it.

Jim Garber
Apr-25-2008, 9:00am
Unfortunately, there are scammers everywhere. eBay has some (if inadequate) protection, tho. With craigslist there is nothing.

I generally sell on craigslist because I can deal locally with the buyers and meet them in the local Starbuck's parking lot.

I did recently buy a wonderful mandola from a guy in the Seattle area but i was able to have him bring it to an instrument-savvy buddy there and work out the transaction with him. Otherwise, I prob would have passed on it.

Ted Eschliman
Apr-25-2008, 10:02am
Just for clarification, I really appreciate Ed bringing this to the Cafe community's attention. This is a terrific service we can offer each other. We've recently addressed policy on discussing fradulent transactions in our Posting Guidelines (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=23&t=13100), and I should point out we are concerned about using names and email addresses, even in black and white situations like this.

A seller can be a blatant criminal or just a misguided overt clod. It's the latter we intend to protect with this policy. Someone who lists a "Pristine, MINT" instrument, blind to his own pickrubs on the fingerrest, a non-musician who took the word of a friend of a friend what he/she is selling; these are all "grey" incidents we don't want to risk public and personal slander. It shouldn't have to be the job of moderator, judge and jury on these more benign deals. Simply listing the transaction itself will accomplish the heads-up we all appreciate.

Again, thanks Ed, and any who take the time to keep us posted on these "too good to be true because they are" deals.

mrmando
Apr-25-2008, 12:43pm
Yep, I replied to the same 1936 F4 ad from Atlanta and got the same runaround. That ad had images and text stolen from an eBay listing ... which itself has been duplicated on eBay by another fraudster.

If something on Craigslist looks like an unbeatable deal, but the ad has been up for a month, then the most likely scenarios are (a) it's sold and the seller just forgot to take the ad down; (b) it's a scam and the seller is just fishing. The real deals on Craigslist do not last long, in my experience.

F5G WIZ
Apr-25-2008, 8:02pm
I'm most cases, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

BlueMountain
Apr-29-2008, 11:11am
The saga continues. Today, about five days later, I received two apparently genuine e-mails from an online sales company telling me to send the money using a certain company.

It gave the name of my original contact, but instead of his address being Philadelphia, it was an address in Nova Scotia. The town existed, but it had a US zip code, and the address didn't exist.

It gave the name of the shipping agent. Also the address. Using google maps, including the great new Street View feature, I was able to determine that the address does in fact exist. It's a GRAVEYARD!

So I wrote to the guy and told him that if he sends me the mandolin first, I'll happily pay him. And I will!