Friday, September 17, 2010

Craigslist Scammer in DC Area

Photo by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier
There's a scammer prowling the Washington, DC area Craigslist.  Well, almost certainly more than one scammer. We wanted to report on this particular one, which was posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv, because it is in some ways the quintessential Craigslist scam. You can read more about how to prevent yourself from getting scammed on Craigslist here.
I almost just fell for a furniture scam on Craigslist and wanted to spread the word to make sure you guys don't do the same if you're selling things in the near future! I posted an advertisement for a bed frame, mattress and box spring, and received an email from a Janet Cole asking if it was still available. When I said it was, the lengthy response email she sent me set off some red flags: She told me she didn't have time to come look at it herself but would FedEx me a personal check, have movers pick up the items, and oh, yeah -- she's deaf, so there's no way for me to contact her except by email.
I was a bit wary, so I Google her email address - and up came a 15-page thread of people who said they'd been scammed or almost scammed by someone at this email address and others that sent the same email I received ( it seems to be happening across the country and under a number of phony names. It's quite a shame that someone is running this scam, apparently so successfully - and even worse, playing to people's compassion by saying she's deaf so that sellers agree to sell to someone without contact information. It seems that this has been happening for quite awhile - since February, at least.
If you're selling something on Craigslist, I encourage you to be extra vigilant. Require people's phone numbers; require them to pick up the item themselves; require payment in cash upon their arrival. It may mean you get stood up and have to try to resell, but it's better than being robbed of your furniture for no money at all!


  1. As they say buyer beware, seller beware, also.
    I'm sorry, but if one falls for that obvious load of what that scammer wrote, then. . .

    But thanks for letting others that might fall for it know.

  2. The same applies to out of country scam messages, e.g., "I am in the UK right now but I really want this. I have an agent/brother/sister who will pick it up and make payment by check or money order", when your ad clearly says "Cash only. You pickup." I have gotten this a couple of times and I list very few things on CL.