Some New Best Friends

I know, it's been awhile. I'm moving apartments, moving offices and building out the new one, planning to move cities, hosting various international visitors, and playing the C Game on Sporcle (40), all while in the midst of the always-insane tutoring company spring. Not a calm time.

To add to that, because I'm moving to a new apartment and soon after, a probably-small New York apartment-- I need to sell all my stuff. And I have a lot of stuff.

See, I'm a pack rat. I like buying stuff I don't need. And I hate throwing things away. The result is stuff. A lot of stuff. And it's time to get rid of it.

I need to get rid of my all my furniture, kitchen stuff, useless old clothes, my beloved piano, and everything else I've accumulated over the past five years. All I want to keep is my computer / keyboard / music-making equipment, the 12 items of clothes I actually wear, and my books.

So I've been trying to figure out how to sell all of this. eBay would probably work, but I'm frightened of eBay, I've never been there, and I don't know how to do it. So that left me with Craigslist. I posted a bunch of ads a few days ago, and one of two things ensued with each of the various ads:

1) I'd get no bites at all because the price I set was too high.
2) I'd get a bite and panic that it was because the price was too low and tell the prospective buyer that it was no longer available.

So we're off to a rough start. But there has been a bright spot:

Some of the higher-priced items I've posted have caught the eyes of various scammers.

I don't know who they are or where they are or exactly what the scam is, but it goes like this:
  • They email and ask if the item is still available
  • When I say yes, they say they want to buy it and since they are in a foreign country at the moment they will trust my word that it's in good condition and send me the money via PayPal.
  • Then, supposedly, they will send their "mover" to my apartment to pick up the item-- and only after I have received the money.
Out of curiosity, I read about Craigslist scams online. Apparently what happens is that they end up sending you a fake check or money order that the bank will actually cash, but then a couple weeks later the bank will realize that it was a fake and hold you accountable. Of course, the "buyer" will be nowhere to be found, and your expensive item will be long gone. Or sometimes they find a way to get your bank account info.

Now you might remember how much I enjoy interacting with people trying to sell me something over the phone, and these new scammers have suddenly provided me with a whole new group of friends. Below is a sampling of my recent email interactions:

Jenifer Smith (
jsimth21@gmail.com):

Hello,
Am interested in purchasing your item,let me know if its still
available for sale. Thanks and get to me as soon as possible.

Me (thinking it's legit):

Still available. You can come by and check it out tomorrow if you're interested. Call me for more info.

Thanks,
Tim

Jenifer:

Thanks for getting back to me, i prefer emailing while dealing on
craigslist for a record purpsoe Moreover,i want you to aware that am
presently not in the States to complete the transaction in person and
also want you to know that am sending this item to a colleague for an
important purpose.I will be responsible for all shipping expenses
overnight via FEDEX ,so i will add $100 for shipping cost......and i
will prefer paying for the item via PayPal, so Kindly get back to me
with your PayPal email Address so that i can send the payment to you
as soon as possible.

Regards,
Jenifer

Me (now knowing it's a scam):

PayPal? What's PayPal? Sounds awfully naughty.

Jenifer:

I really understand your concern but i want you to know that am out
here on an official duty ...I would have prefer to do this in person
but no way i can meet up now...For your payment,i want you to know
that paypal is safe and secure mean to complete a transaction of this
nature.With paypal,you need not to give out your personal information
for you to get paid,you can visit www.paypal.com to know better about
the service and sign up there.It is easy signing up.

Thanks and get to me ASAP. I will give it as a gift.

Me:

A gift! A gift for whom? And what is the occasion?

Jenifer:

My friend,for Birthday.

Me:

Nice! How old?

Jenifer:

35 years.

Me:

Old! Is there a party? Is the watch going to be your gift?

Jenifer:

Yes the watch need to be gift wrap.

Me:

What color wrapping would you prefer? I have yellow. And the funny pages!
___________

And that's where Jenifer and I are at the moment. Here's another:

Kay Max (kaysquare03@googlemail.com):

Hello,

Would like to know if the item is still available for sale and what is its
present condition? Am interested in its purchase.

Await Your Response..
Kay...

Me:

Hi Kay,

It's in excellent condition-- you can come by tomorrow to check it out.

Thanks,
Tim

Kay:

Hello,

Thanks for the swift response, just to let you know that am okay with
the condition and price of the item, am ready for its purchase and my
form of payment will be by sending you Check via UPS next day
delivery.
Pls take the item off craigslist so no other buyer can ask about
it.I'll be responsible for the pick-up as i have a pick company to
schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your location after
check has been cashed.
I would have really love to come for the viewing but due to my work
frame that might not be possible.
Please do get back to me with your full name and address including
your cell and land number so i can make out payment.

Regards.

Kay...

Me:

Thanks, Kay. My address is:

257,203,825 Slippery Circle
Dusty Trail, Idaho 93339

Kay:

Hi ,how was your day ?I want you to understand that the deal is on and
my secretary as posted the payment promptly, but there was a little
problem which i guess we can handle with care. i contacted her to
confirm if the payment as been mail out but she said my boss issued a
single check of $3,600 for your item and other items bought.The payment
was already posted before i was informed. but i wouldn't want
this to delay the sale. All you have to do once you have the payment is to
have it cashed and you will deduct the money for your item plus $50
for your running around. The excess fund on the payment will then be
wired to my mover via Moneygram or western union that same day so he
can come for pick up as i already plan on using the
excess on the payment to offset the cost of the various shipments he
as undertaken on my behalf.Do let me know if i can trust you to have
the excess sent to my mover thank you.
best Regards.
Kay...

Me:

Kay! I swear, if your head weren't attached to your confounded shoulders, you would have lost IT by now!!
___________

I am yet to hear back from Kay. Here's one more:

Thomas Scott (thomas.scott88@gmail.com):

Hey there, how as your day been? I saw your advert on craigslist and i
will like know if its still available to sale or sold out..

Thanks
Thomas .S.Todd

Me:

Still available. If you'd like to come by and see it, let me know.

Thanks,
Tim

Thomas:

In regards to your response I'll like to buy it as gift for my kid so I'll like to know the current condition of the item! actually i supposed to come and check it but im currently busy this month with my work and i want to send it to my kids schooling in Jiangxi China and for the payment i will pay you via paypal also i'll include $120 for the shipping via USPS PRIORITY MAIL INTL. so you can get back to me with your paypal email address so that i can proceed with the payment at once.
Reply Asap.
Thomas

Me:

Paypal? What the devil is paypal?

Thomas:

It is a method of payment which you will have to sign up for an
account with a credit card or your bank account and just get back to
me with your paypal email id so i can issue out the payment and paypal
will credit your account after you got the confirmation mail that i
have issue out the payment.

Me:

Sounds mad complicated. You're a squeaky fella, aren't you Thomas?

Thomas:

Am not in state and paypal is safe and secured so send me your paypal email id for the payment.

Me:

So where are you? Somewhere lively I sure do hope!

Thomas:

Am in uk for a business as i have told you and i want to send the item
to my daughter so send me your paypal email id for the payment.

Me:

Daughter, eh? Growl! Pic?
___________

Unfortunately, I am yet to hear back from Thomas. Finally, one of my new friends decided to gchat with me today:

12:10 AM kelvincollins2004: Hi
12:12 AM me: howdy
12:13 AM kelvincollins2004: Am the buyer to your item on craigslist
12:14 AM me: duh. which item?
kelvincollins2004: Movado Watch
12:15 AM me: you like movados?
are you a big watch guy?
kelvincollins2004: what do you mean
me: are you really into watches?
do you know about all the different kinds of movados?
kelvincollins2004: No i want to buy it for my son
12:16 AM me: is he into watches?
i have a couple that could work for him
how old is he?
kelvincollins2004: 21 years
me: oh, he's out drinking and getting laid for sure!
kelvincollins2004: so send me your paypal email id so i can issue out the payment for the watch
me: and what type of watches does he like?
12:17 AM i have a few different ones
kelvincollins2004: the watch listed on craislist
me: we should figure out which one is best for him
there are a few i put on craigslist
i'm selling a sporty one
and a more sassy one
and another that screams to the world, "i'm good enough."
kelvincollins2004: Ok
12:18 AM send me your paypal email id so i can issue out the payment
me: oh kelvin you rascal
kelvincollins2004: bye for now me: lates
kelvincollins2004: ok
will be waiting for your paypal email id in my email box
12:19 AM me: with baited breath no doubt!
_____________

At this point, I have so many new friends, I don't know what to do with them all. I may have to throw a party for everyone.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

See ,this is why I do nutn' online.
Besides not knowing what to do with
my own information let alone anyone
else's.

Spring cleaning appears to include
so much more now ,re-location and
being stolen from.

...

Anonymous said...

This is both hilarious and a very sad side effect of the internet. Of course what is sad is how many people have probably fallen for such a pitch - uh - if it sounds too good to be true then um it might be. Just a few weeks ago - same deal - girlfriend selling a fridge on craigslist and gets the same (I'm out of the country but want to buy it unseen and include extra money for the trouble etc) ... luckily she asked me what I thought (grin).

I have the same reaction ... time permitting ... I'll engage in email conversations while playing dumb like I'm going for it but never revealing anything. They certainly can be crafty.

Unrelated ... is it a coincidence that manny takes a pe and then all of a sudden you leave town ? What's up with that?

More unrelated ... are you still doing your tutoring in New York as in drumming up all new business or is it something you just do online with paypal and moneygrams - haha.

clyde

Anonymous said...

oh god, fucking hilarious.

Tim Urban said...

I'm way behind but have them all on TiVo. I will say that after episode one I spent an hour watching YouTube clips of Andrew Dice Clay being a psycho. The Tom Green "hitting" clip is amazing, as is the CNN explosion. What a bad man.

Anonymous said...

Tim, I love you. Not in a creepy way, gross. I would LOVE a sassy watch. Lucky!

Anonymous said...

great strip about some email scammin' from the one and only ray smuckles. . .skip the second one strip though, doesn't fit w/ the rest of the story. . .

http://achewood.com/index.php?date=03052007

Emperor Paolo said...

Nice

Post more often.

Geez.

Anonymous said...

Please say something about the American Idol finale. Please. I need to know if someone else out there hates Adam as much as me.

Anonymous said...

Uggh there are scammers for job postings on Craigslist also. I applied to one job, where the "employer" emailed me back saying that he had an A/R job where they'll send me checks. I deposit them, keep 10% and then forward on the rest. Umm what kind of job is that??
So be careful with Craigslist...it can be great ( I did find my last job on Craigslist) but it can also be very creepy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the swift response, just to let you know that am okay with
the condition and price of the item, am ready for its purchase and my
form of payment will be by sending you Check via UPS next day
delivery.
I'll be responsible for the pick-up and the pick up money will
be included in your payment to avoid delay and to enable pick up
company to schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your
location after check has been cashed,as i have other properties to be

Sank said...

Awesome. you're my hero... I enjoy doing the same thing with these guys, only I give them the address of my local Wal-Mart for the Check.. nice job!

Anonymous said...

First email:
jenifer smith -jsimth21 at gmail.com-

Hello,please let me know if you are still having this item for sale.I am interested.

-----------------------------------------

Second email:

jenifer smith -jsimth21 at gmail.com-

Thanks for getting back to me,i want you to aware that i won't be able to complete the transaction in person due to the nature of my job and also want you to know that am giving this item to someone special to me and i will prefer it ship directly to her location so as to meet the need.I will be responsible for all shipping expenses overnight via FEDEX,so i will be adding 100$ for the shipping and i prefer paying you via PayPal,so Kindly get back to me with your PayPal address for me to process your payment as soon as possible.

Regards.

------------------------------------------

Third email:

From:
jenifer smith -jsimth21 at gmail.com-

I am in Canada Now but i am sending it to a friend international,paypal will provide you with the shipping information once the transfer is been made,You can visit www.paypal.com to know more about them and it easy signing up with than, All i need is your paypal registered email.

Thanks and get to me ASAP.

------------------------------------------

My response correspondence with "jenifer" came after another inquiry for the $1,200 item who offered to buy the item sight unseen. This person could not meet me in person, wanted to pay using Paypal and also offered $100 for shipping.

My final last response to Jenifer was a request for information that would allow me to verify her identity. I let her know that I've been ripped off in the past and had to contact the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Authorities.

So far the last email I received read "WHY ALL THIS?" She obviously didn't like the fact that I wanted to be sure she was who she said she was.

I googled her email and found your blog.

I've had 95% positive experiences with CL. Typically I sell lower cost items and deal with people locally. I've even made some friends through these transactions. I recommend that anyone selling items on CL do not ship internationally and require some kind of verification of the identity of the seller. Ideally transactions are done locally, but I recently sold a higher priced item to someone in Florida. I spoke with him on the phone, verified his identity on the Web using a variety of searches and the transaction was excellent.

Thanks again for sharing this information about -jenifer smith jsimth21 at gmail.com.