Beautiful Wedding Dress FOR SALE - $300 (Arena) Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:03 AM
From: "Monica Ammy" firstname.lastname@example.org
is this still available?
Based on this first email, I didn't think anything was amiss so I replied back that the dress was still available. I got a prompt reply, but things started to look goofy quickly. Here's the next one:
Re: Beautiful Wedding Dress FOR SALE - $300 (Arena)Wednesday, May 5, 2010 7:55 AM
From: "monica jeffery" email@example.com
Thanks for your quick reply actually am buying this for a colleague as a gift and i will appreciate if you can please answer the few questions on this item.
(1)What is the condition?
(2) What is the original price of this item?
(3)Can you accept paypal has the mode of payment?
(4)Can you handle the shipment?
Here's how I knew right away I was dealing with a scammer. First, the email address and sender had changed since the first email. That, and I suddenly realized that "googlemail" is usually "gmail.com" Also, interesting how that "4jesus" part of the email suddenly disappeared, isn't it? Second, who the heck buys a wedding dress as a gift? Nobody, that's who. Third, the syntax and grammar were sketchy. Finally, they wanted to pay via PayPal and have me ship the dress. I can't stress this enough with Craiglist - ONLY DEAL LOCALLY and never, EVER agree to ship something. Just for fun, I decided to keep things going, just to keep the scammer on the line to see what their next move would be. I replied back with answers to all four of their questions, even agreeing that "Sure! I can accept PayPal and ship it!" I made it clear that I would be adding the cost of shipping on to the price of the wedding dress and that I would need to go to the Post Office to inquire about how much it would cost to buy a box and ship the dress. The next email from our scammer read:
ok i will be waiting for your mail as soon as you back from the post office and here is the shipping details for you to ship it please try to turn off the spam guard before i make the payment so that you can receive the confirmation mail of my payment inyour inbox because if the spam guard is ON you wont be able to receive the confirmation mail of my payment when i made the payment so please turn it OFF so you can receive the confirmation mail of the payment when i made it.
Two words. BULL EXCREMENT. I have completed several transactions via PayPal before and a legitimate transaction will never go to the Spam folder. Plus, they seem pretty convinced that this would be a problem, don't they? Now, here comes the crown jewel email. Here is the address I am supposed to ship my beloved wedding dress to:
Name :OLANIYI OLUSEGUN
Address :37,OBAFEMI AWOLOWO
City : ABEOKUTA
State : OGUN STATE
Country : NIGERIA
Zip Code : 23439
Nigeria. Yup, just as I suspected! Just to confirm my suspicions, I did a quick Google search and found numerous incidences of scams just like this. Just search for "Craigslist Nigeria scam" and you'll see for yourself. As one last bit of fun, I replied back to my "buyer" with this email:
Nice try, but I wasn't born yesterday. Try your scam on another sucker.
Thanks for playing!
Now, if you'll excuse me. I need to go change my PayPal password. Just in case. :)
UPDATE 12/30/10 - Apparantly this particular scammer is causing quite a stir and I have received some new information from one of my readers. If you are contacted by this scammer and they try to pull this trick on you, please report them! Here's how: Go to http://www.ic3.gov/ to fill out a report. This website is recommended by the FBI for dealing with internet fraud and scammers and the information gets sent on to the correct authorities. Perhaps if enough people file complaints about this scam, they can eventually be caught! (Big thanks to Caitlin McCulley for hooking me up with the info.)