A Scammer wasting their time [Craigslist]

I decided to post a piece of technology for sale on Craigslist, which by the way has not had much success if compared to any other items I have posted and subsequently sold. At first, one individual texted me as soon as the listing was indexed, and offered to send me money via PayPal, including shipping charges. I expressed that I did not accept PayPal, but a wire transfer instead, and then they disappeared:

First Scammer, Text Meesage

First attempt to get my money:

The next day, I get an message early in the morning, from someone that was interested. The individual tried the same technique, but once I mentioned that I shall get a direct deposit, that person said they worked with Paypal only:


I decided to continue with his game, and gave an email addresses out, which I do not use regularly. As a typical Nigerian scam move, they offered to send an extra $100 for shipping and that I will need to send it out via USPS Express. I mentioned that I will check with my PayPal account soon after they paid:



The individual promptly pointed that I should check to the email instead (which of course was found in the spam folder) and to follow instructions. I decided to continue. At times, the person was irritating as they were mandating me to reply back, with messages like “Hello, talk to me”. I mentioned that I will be printing the shipping label from PayPal directly, and of course the scammer wanted me to get to the post office ASAP instead. I tried explaining that I will be printing and then dropping off the package, but they didn’t get it. I made up a tracking number and mentioned that it was shipped:



The individual expressed that they will be communicating to PayPal and thus releasing the funds. However the funds were still on hold as per the email so I promptly pointed out that I instructed USPS to hold the item until funds were released (email snapshots later in the post). I thought the scammer was going to stop by then:



Second attempt to get my money:

The scammer, not happy with the outcome, decided to come back with another tactic. They wanted to send me money to “upgrade” my PayPal account and thus able to release the funds (my account is already a business one, by the way). They pointed out that I shall send back the money via Western Union. I expressed I will be sending an international money order instead:



I continued expressing that I will be sending an international money order (in reality it was a copy/paste to dilate the communication as I was busy attending conference calls). I decided at some point to make up a MCTN # and inform that the money was sent. I also made up a name (Rodrigo Cachero, a Mexican actor).

The scammer then got frustrated as they did not see the money “en-routed” and expressed if I was kidding them. I promptly communicated that I instructed Western Union to hold the money until the PayPal funds clear (which I am sure it’s a service that does not exist). Then they got pissed. This is where they left, almost 5 hours later.



Not just text messages, but also a few “personalized” emails:

While text messaging was the main way of communication, the scammer spent time creating fake emails from paypal, which I saved in PDFs. Four in total.


First email, $349 sent:


With that sender email, and found in the “Spam” folder, that is more than enough to understand it is fake.

Header information can be downloaded here.


Second email, PayPal received the tracking number:


Notice the poor narrative.

Header information can be downloaded here.


Third email, Incoming extra $200:


This one even worse. Informal English with semantic errors.

Header information can be downloaded here.


4th and last email. I need to send back $200 via Western Union:



This one with a broken image.

Header information can be downloaded here.


Final thoughts:

The Nigerian scam and all its variants have been around for over 15 years, and it is surprising that they are still trying. That might indicate that they are working, somehow.

In my experience, dealing in-person to sell an item listed on craigslist is the best route to pursue. Cash only.

I remember once in 2005, I accepted a PayPal payment (deposit to my checking account) and I sent an item (a DVD player if I recall correctly). I remember sending it to a verified address, and had no problems with the transaction.

I have also sold several pieces of furniture, and because they were heavy, the buyers needed to come and pick it up from my house. In a couple of occasions, the amount was several hundred dollars; I drove with the buyer to the bank to get them deposited into my checking account. I did not want to risk it with fake bills, particularly because most were $100 dollar ones. That is another suggestion for large purchases.

Finally, whenever possible for small items, get to a public location to meet the buyer. Closer to a police station even better. This will bring peace of mind, and if the buyers accepts, it will be very unlikely to be dealing with a scammer.

Now time for me to lower the price of my item, if I want to sell it.