Born on Sunday, But Not Last Sunday

August 14, 2007

Over the past week or so I’ve been trying to sell off some spare furniture on craigslist. During the posting process, and with each inquiry you receive you are repeatedly warned about scams and to be wary of certified checks, money orders, escrow, and shipping. At first you think this is all hyperbole, and then you get emails like this one:

i am from the town of Minneapolis, Minnesota i have just got a room
in michigan but i want to set the my room before moving in .so i ask
of where i can get a good furnitures for my room .my roommate ask me
to come to ok4free to get it .to my funiest part you are the first
person i saw the advert and i am really interested in immidiate
purchase of the item,
but before i proceed i will like to ask somequestion as follow.
.What is the final asking prize you can go at
last.Will you let our shipping company to come to your house for the
pick up of the item cos i don't want you to worry yourself about the
shipping of the item.You are to send your NAME,ADDRESS,TEL # to mail
out the payment .
Will you be able to help me to send the roompayment to the roommate you send
it via to him in michigan, which is going to added with money for the furniture
.cos i have not paid for the room before planning on packing in some of my
items items .all you need to help to do is to send the ballance to him so i we i
can for the arrangement of the
home pick up of the furniture..

Beyond the rather tortured English the most interesting thing is that I got the same email, identical to the letter, for EACH of my craigslist postings. What is scary is that some people, particularly the elderly or Internet uninitiated might fall for the “I’m going to send you a certified check for MORE than you are asking, please cash it and send the remainder back to me” scam. The check is bogus and the seller who cashes it goes to jail. A vicious scam.

It is tempting to reply with a note saying that I work for the Treasury Department Online Wire Fraud Division, and that we are processing the back trace to gain an origin for the senders IP address and that, working with Google, we hope to have their IPS, home IP address and MAC address shortly. That if you want to have a nice rest of your life you should pack your bags now and leave before the armed rendering team blows the door off its hinges.

Tempting. Very tempting.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.