View Full Version : Craigslist scam: Gibson Doyle Lawson in Charleston, SC

Feb-11-2009, 6:50pm
I flagged this sale on Craig's List (http://charleston.craigslist.org/msg/1028134786.html) and I hope it's already gone, but in case it shows up elsewhere:

Seller claimed to have a Gibson Doyle Lawson for $1300, with good photos. The ad gave a serial number. I Googled the description and the serial number and didn't find where they might've been stolen from.

Obviously a Lawson for $1300 is too good to be true. The seller e-mailed me back with a couple of new twists on the old scamaroo:

Good day,
Thanks for your email. Item is in perfect condition, it works perfect. Price is $1,300.
Now i am located in WA with my work and i need to come personal to meet you and present the item.Few days ago a buyer told me that he'll buy it, so we must meet in Austin. I come to Austin because I trusted his word, but when I arrived I called him and no answer, so I lost money and precious time on his promise. I don't want to ask you to send me any money in advance, I just want to see that you are a serious buyer. I will come only for a serious deal. If you don't want to buy it after you will inspect it, no problem, but I need to be sure that you will be there.To be sure that you are real and serious, here is what I propose:
1. The service name that we'll use is Money Gram money transfer. You must find the nearest Money Gram agency and you will go there with your best friend or your wife. Your wife or your friend (relative) will be the sender of the money and you will be the receiver.
2.Ask your wife or your friend to send $1,300 to your name. Is enough for me to see that I have a interested buyer. (I will pay the Money Gram fees when we will meet)
3. Only you can pick up the money from Money Gram, so this is no risk on your side.
4. Once the money is sent, from MG they will give you a receipt so you need to find a scanner and scan this and send it to my email.
5. In the same day I will buy the flight ticket for the next day and I will email you the scanned ticket.
6. We will meet at your location and we will finish the deal.If you don't want to buy it there is no problem but I assure you that you will love it and youŽll buy it. It is in perfect conditions.
I repeat: You must understand that you will not send the money to me. You will be the receiver of the money and only you can pick the money from Money Gram .If you are still interested to make the deal with me please reply me.Please don't spend my time with endless disscutions,or pure curiosity.Thank you for contacting me and hope you will understand my point of view!!!

So this dude wants me to send him a scanned image of a MoneyGram receipt. Obviously that's the end of the deal: he's got some way of getting the $1300 by submitting a claim to MoneyGram along with the receipt, and I will never see him or the mandolin. Or the $1300. (Notice that the word "mandolin" doesn't appear in his e-mail.)

He picked the wrong lie to tell about where he's working -- I happen to live there!

Feb-11-2009, 9:50pm
Here is how the scam works. MoneyGram has an immediate service and a 2-3 days service, which of course is cheaper. The scammer is betting (nothing to lose) that you will pick the cheaper service. During those days, he gets the copy of the receipt that you scan him, gets a cheap fake ID made to match the name, and goes and collects the money before you do, because he tries to collect it every couple hours, so he will almost always beat you to the punch. And if not, he is only out the few bucks for a fake ID.

I do not work for MoneyGram but have friends in the fraud investigation business who keep me informed on these things.

Bob Andress
Feb-11-2009, 9:53pm
When I read #### like this it makes me wonder how anybody can fall for this. What's with all the instructions? Ever hear of paypal? I wish you had a way to find out who he is and see the "item" that's in "perfect conditions".
Did you tell him to save the trouble and to meet you over lunch?

Feb-12-2009, 2:26pm
I asked where in Washington he's working. I would not actually go and meet someone like this for lunch unless I were accompanied by armed bodyguards.

Bob Borzelleri
Feb-12-2009, 8:14pm
Oh, ye of little faith. What's wrong with the poor guy hedging his bets to ensure that he won't be flying out only to be met by broken promises and passed gas?

All seriousness aside though, the first giveaway was his greeting. I've never heard an Aussie say both words together and I've never heard anyone else use the salutation who didn't have a Nigeria return address somewhere in their background. Some joker offered to buy a tandem bike I had for sale (they troll high end bike classifieds). The instructions were so convoluted that I was tempted to help him rewrite the scam, but didn't.

Feb-12-2009, 8:48pm
Bring the dogs.

Or do THEY not exist either?????

Feb-13-2009, 12:20pm
The first "give-away" is the price ($1300). He is the infamous "$1300 scammer" - known on all of the other instrument sites I am on same price on everything. I know of a couple of cases where it has worked - obviously why he is still doing it. Why in the world this guy or gal can't be tracked down and dealt with is beyond me!

Feb-13-2009, 12:47pm
What if I scanned a MoneyGram receipt and changed the serial number before I sent it to him? Would MoneyGram have him busted for forgery?

Or would that be a good way to risk getting in trouble myself? Someone might think I was in on the scam.

Sorry if this particular scam is common knowledge ... it's one I hadn't seen before.

Russ Jordan
Feb-13-2009, 1:09pm
The first "give-away" is the price ($1300). He is the infamous "$1300 scammer" - known on all of the other instrument sites I am on same price on everything.

Maybe like this one:


Feb-13-2009, 1:26pm
I don't know what it is about craigslist that seems to attract scammers. I used it to find roommates for my apartment, and got at least twice as many scam responses as actual ones. Every time I changed an ad or put up a new one they would flood in - something must have flagged them. They were easy to spot, as they always had the same format despite some variations: odd salutation, female name, poor knowledge of English, working in some humanitarian area, wanting to know particulars about the room - details which were in the ad - and so on. I worked up a stock reply, calling the sender a liar, wishing him/her shame, if he/she knew what it meant, and suggesting getting a different job. (These people must get paid for what they do, though in this case I don't see how they expected to acieve monetary gain.) One sender claimed to be a priest from a church that actually exists in Dallas - though no such person exists. The last straw was when in one day I got the same email from three people, two of which included the same photo! :disbelief: I somehow managed to get one of them going, and in the course of our exchange I proposed marriage. That took care of it!

I really don't know what they were after, as they didn't ask for anything more than how much the rent was and where to send the money order. Clearly the person with the "Doyle Lawson" is trying to perpetrate a fraud. How he/she would ever succeed with such an obviously fake and devious offer is beyond me, but I guess enough people have indeed fallen for this or other scams that it's worth his/her while. I liked Martin's suggestion about setting up a sting, though I think it is also wise to assume that it could easily backfire on him. As the actual priest of that church in Dallas told me, there isn't a whole lot one can do. The anonymity of the internet makes these activities possible. There are government agencies like the FCC and the FTC, but I am sure they are swamped with more pressing matters - and/or that's what they would say, if/when they finally get back to you. Caveat emptor!

Feb-13-2009, 2:21pm
One might inquire with MoneyGram regarding their receipt/refund policies, including the serial number aspect?

Alternately, there's the "deal locally, get a phone number, meet in a public place" strategy. Yeah, yeah, "Captain Obvious," I know...


Feb-13-2009, 5:46pm
Maybe like this one:


Yep - like that one!

How 'bout them Tigers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You going to the S'burg show? I'll bring a different mandolin than the one I had at the last show!

Russ Jordan
Feb-13-2009, 8:38pm
Yep - like that one!

How 'bout them Tigers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You going to the S'burg show? I'll bring a different mandolin than the one I had at the last show!

Ah, the Tigers. There is a guy at work who would not come out of his office the day after Clemson spanked Duke.

I'll be out of town the weekend of the Spartanburg Guitar Show. Might come by on Sunday if I get back in time.

Feb-15-2009, 4:33am
"Caveat Emptor"!...or somethin' like that? :mandosmiley:

Feb-23-2009, 1:45pm
This has just appeared on eBay UK -

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Doyle-Lawson-Gibson-Mandolin-Gibson-Mandolin_W0QQitemZ320343934384QQihZ011QQcategoryZ1 0179QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I'm due to head in his direction at the weekend - I'm sorely tempted to ask if I can pay him a visit to try it out!

Big Joe
Feb-24-2009, 8:25am
I recieved a reply to an add for a banjo I had for sale. The person was writing with very poor English. They said they lived in Scotland, but would send me a cashiers check and would have their courier pick the banjo up from my location. I wrote back that I would be happy to sell them the banjo, but the item could NOT be picked up until the funds were cleared by my bank and the bank certified all was well. I have not heard from them since. I wonder why? Did they decide not to play the banjo :) ?

Feb-24-2009, 9:36am
Joe, This reminds me of a Craigslist advert:
2007 Martin D-42 Amazon (Brazilian) Rosewood Limited Ed - Ł2000 (london)

Note: London

I mailed the seller for pictures and got a reply back (with no pictures)

"hi there
i'm based in Lerwick,Shetland,if this isn't a problem for you i can send you some pictures
thanks "

1. The guitar is MUCH too cheap
2. Lerwick is about as inaccessible in the UK as you can get. On an Island way north of Scotland
3. I followed up with a trace on the gmail address and found that the person was in New York
4. I then Googled and associated the email address and user names with scams in New York.

Smell a rat?


Feb-24-2009, 11:57am
This same ad is running on Chicago craigslist and has been flagged.