Last fall I listed my son’s mountain bike for sale on Craigslist. Within minutes I had a live one on my hands!
According to the description,am okay with
the price and the condition pasted on cl. I am ready to make instant
purchase.My mode of payment would be in CERTIFIED CHECK and i will
arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check, because that
is the only inconvenient means for me and due to my work frame i can
not be able to get there and i promise everything will go smoothly.I
really wish to be there to check out the item but i don’t have chance
cause am very busy person (US MARINE). Concerning the pick up, i will
arrange for it after you receive the payment and it clears… Pls get
back to me with below info so that i can proceed with the payment
immediately if you are selling to me.
Full name on the check.
Full Physical Address: Not P.O.BOX
City, State and Zip Code
Home & Cell Phone to contact you
Total amount for the item
And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
and i will let you know when its mailed out. Thanks and i hope we
handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you. i will add
an additional $30 so that you can hold it for me till the check reach
When you hook a scammer, it’s important to set the hook. If you’re too timid, they’ve already moved on to their next target. Here’s how I responded.
I have two people interested in looking at the bike next weekend, but you were among the first to respond so I’d like to work with you.
The bike belongs to my father-in-law, so make the check to him. His name is Lawrence Ellison.
Please mail to
I look forward to working with you. Are you stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro near San Diego?
My question about MCAS El Toro is a shibboleth, but she ignored it.
After some more back and forth, “Sara Leigely” FedExed the check (in my name, not Ellison’s) to me. The selling price of the bike was $400.
I received this email shortly after; note the instructions to wire $1650 to a Western Union account for the “movers”:
i just want to thank you for the honest and trustworthy you are having
towards this transaction and i want to bring it to your notice that
the payment would deliver to you On Sat 10/12/2013 via fedex Currier
here is the tracking number provided(165454515009854 ) so i would want
you to follow my instruction on what to do about the shipping freight
and hand ling’s and the pick up arrangement .So once you have the
payment with you now just get it cashed or get it deposited and deduct
your actual amount plus extra $100 for the trust and honest you are
having and get the remaining fund send Via Western Union International
to the shipper information below for them to come for the pick up in
your location since their freight and hand ling’sfee is been included
with your money cos they have some other items to pick up for me in
some locations so here is their information to get the funds send Via
Western Union :
Receiver Name=========Andrew Werner
Receiver Address======43 south mallard ave
This his how you gonna handle the money…
The check is for $2 150
$400 was meant for the (mountain bike)
$100 was meant for your Running Around
$1650 (Mover) Via Western Union
Western Union Charges will be deducted from the left $1650 and the
rest would be send to my mover As soon as you have the money wire to
my mover and done with Western Union i want you to get back to me
with the following information after deducting Western Union money
1,Current Map Quest to your location for the pick-up
2.Sender’s Name and Address
3.Actual amount sent after Western Union charges
4.10 digit Money transfer Control Number(MTCN #)
5. Current time for the pickup.
I will be waiting for the information as soon as possible so that the
pick up would be done any time from now
I sent an email asking the shipper to pick the bike up at 70 West Hedding Street, West Wing, San Jose CA (that’s the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office). The check remains uncashed. About a week later, “Sara Leigely” sent an indignant email saying she would report me to the FBI.
.this is just to let you know that there is no problem about
all what you have been hearing all around.my transaction with you is
legit and it is 100% secure so i see no reason why the payment i sent
you at first cleared and you still hold my money with you cos the
company has called me that have you respond back to me cos they have
release the money for you some days back…But my response was that
you have never respond back ..That was what make me to get you
reported to FBI and what the authority gave me is 24 hours if you did
not provide the western union details of sending detail to Andrew..You
will be caught and charges for scamming pple money online…So what so
ever explanation or Advice you are listening all around is yours but
mine is that this morning i am giving the FBI that you have not sent
my money that u were giving me week..who knows before that a week
reach..you would have ran away from your address….They can take it
up with u any time from now..
My advise to you is that..I want u to locate a western union around
you and get Andrew money send asap and u get back to me with immediate
effect to provide that to FBI for their confirmation that you have
sent the money.
What a hoot. I have no idea if the email is still good but feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does the fake check scam work?
You’ll see the check I received looks like a cashier’s check. U.S. banks are required to make funds available from official checks within a day of deposit. You deposit the check and pull $1650 out to wire to Western Union as instructed. Scammers play tricks with routing numbers to delay routing, but eventually it comes back to your bank as a bad check, and you’re out for the entire value of the check.
How can you protect yourself? This scam plays on greed and naivete. Anybody who sends an official check for way too much money in the mail to ship a nondescript bike across the country should immediately be suspicious. It’s as simple as that.
In this particular case, note also that the routing number on the check is invalid. If you buy or sell on Craigslist, you should read Craigslist scams page.