In order to make a little extra cash, I recently decided to put my awesome Dell Streak 5” up for sale on Craigslist. I don’t use it anymore since I got the equally awesome Samsung Galaxy Note (the first one, not the Note 2 or the one coming up that makes mine look like a brick). I took a couple of decent pics, wrote up a nice, informative ad and posted it.
Within a couple of hours, I received this email:
“is this item still available? If so, what is your last price? I would also appreciate some images,if you can. Ortiz”
Hmmm… ok. I thought there were pictures there. I responded and asked what kind of pictures. This was the response:
“I am interested in buying this item. For a Quick sale, I’ll pay you $225 for the item and $60 for shipping through Canada Expresspost. I will paying you through my PayPal account. So Please kindly reply to me with your PayPal email address or send me a money request from your PayPal account so that i can make payment immediately.
I await your response. Thanks.”
Yeah, that doesn’t sound strange at all. Offering an extra $60 unasked for. So, shipping. Obviously not local. I’d prefer to deal with a local. It wasn’t until later that I noticed that his email name was Teeone Topcon. Oh yes, you’re the top con alright.
This wasn’t the only email I got. Two other people also contacted me. One person called herself Anita Collins, but had an email address of email@example.com. That was my first clue that something was hinky before I even read her initial message. This was her follow-up to my reply:
“Thanks for getting back to me,am interested in purchasing your Dell Streak for my cousin as a birthday gift on his birthday so i will like to ask if you are willing to sell to me and if you can mail back to explain the actual condition of the Dell Streak and how long have you being using it and do you still have the original box?”
Uhhh… did you not read the ad? It’s the first thing I listed.
The next guy to email me offered me even more money. When asked if he was local, he responded with:
“No am at Thomasville Al, I want to buy it as a gift for my son at college outta states so i hope its in good condition cos i won’t be able to meet up and inspect it before paying cash? I will be paying $350 including the shipping cost to him ok…”
I clearly stated in my ad that the phone is locked to the Rogers Network. Obviously that doesn’t matter to these deep pocket people buying a phone that’s beyond its end of life for relatives out of state.
Due to my weirdness radar going off, I decided to do a little research. Didn’t take a lot of digging to find out that this is all a scam. No kidding. Turns out they pretend to pay you with PayPal, send you a fake confirmation email and get you to front the shipping money and/or money for their “agent” that’ll come to finalize the shipping or pick up the item and/or have a link on the confirmation email for you to log in to PayPal to confirm it from your side. From there, they steal your login info and now have your account. Crazy. They’re depending on people being too greedy to stop to think about what’s happening and to not check their PayPal account.
The sad thing is that I know people that would have fallen for this. I once had a downstairs neighbour who wanted me to print out some financial documents for her to set up a joint bank account with this solicitor in Nigeria in order to get her hands on 10 million dollars. She was quite offended when I pointed out that it was a scam.
I guess the moral of this story is: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.