Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If it sounds to good to be be true...


Yesterday marked a milestone as I sold off the last of the remaining equipment from my dead Health Club, having starting almost five months ago with over 100 large, heavy pieces and pretty much selling them one by one--mainly on Craigslist (where selling is free) and a few on Ebay where they take a cut of the proceeds.

Since I was listing a dozen items per day on Craigslist I would start every morning with a scam email response, usually with just one sentence: "Is this item still available?" Once I responded in the affirmative they would come back saying they will take it--sight unseen--and will be sending a money order via courier or US Mail, and once cashed, their shipper would come pick up the item.

I was too busy with honest costumers to pay much attention to the scamers, but when I got down to the final item I decided to play along.
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From: Timothy Jungbluth
To: amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Thu, Nov 4, 2010 2:07 pm
Subject: Re: Reebok bench steps with inserts - $45 (amherst)

Ok. I'll take 4. I will be paying with money orders, and i'll also arrange for a pick-up myself. I can't come to you now, because I'm on Vacation in London, So I'll instruct my assistant to mail out your payment which you will get between 3-5 working days. Once you have cashed your payment, I'll arrange for the pickup. If this is fine with you, please respond with your full name and mailing address.

Thanks
Timothy Jungbluth

Sent: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 1:03 pm
Subject: Re: Reebok bench steps with inserts - $45 (amherst)

Your payment has been sent but there is something i must bring to your notice immediately. I just discovered there is an error in the payment sent to you. My assistant sent the payment meant for another item that's more expensive than yours. I have called the post office to see if they could retrieve it but nothing positive. I really don't know what to do now. Please and Please, you can go ahead and cash out the Money Order at your Bank when you receive it, deduct your payment and send the balance via western union to the details i will provide you with. Can i trust you to do that for me? I'm so Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.

Timothy Jungbluth

Sent: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 12:24 pm
Subject: Re: Reebok bench steps with inserts - $45 (amherst)

Hello Larry,
Waiting to hear from you.

Timothy


From: amherstac@aol.com
To: tjungbth@gmail.com
Sent: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 1:54 pm
Subject: Re: Reebok bench steps with inserts - $45 (amherst)

Hey Timothy, My very long-time banker said in order to be super-safe I should wait 10 business days (two weeks) to be absolutely certain the money orders clear, because they are as you know "international money orders" and take more time than simple in-country checks or money orders. I was forced to close my Health Club after 28 years and have been selling off all the commercial equipment over the past four months on Craigslist and have generated a fair amount...but the remaining balance I owe my bank still is far greater, so I can't afford to lose $1,910 should there be a problem with the money orders (although MoneyGram is a reputable company). Not quite sure where to go from here? I already packed the four Reebok bench steps and they are ready for pick up. But for only a $180 sale with time/travel expense to the nearest Western Union outlet to wire you back the extra balance, it really does not seem worth the risk...
Larry
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Thus ended the exchanges with my pen pal, supposedly in London. I guess I should not have mentioned operating a small business for 28 years, because he probably figured that kind of experience makes a person harder to con.

Notice the return address on the money orders and envelope are in Boston but the postmark is from California. And that little problem of sending cash via wire transfer to London, which is virtually impossible to recover once sent.

The Money orders are impressive forgeries and the serial numbers are from ones previous used (but oftentimes for a much smaller amount). Any bank in America would cash them as long as you had enough money in your account to back them up, and when they returned as fraudulent the bank simply takes it out of your account.

While the Internet provides cheap overhead for these scammers to ply their pernicious plans, it also provides a medium to educate the general public about all the con artists looking to steal your hard earned dollars.

As PT Barnum's freak show competitor once said, "There's a sucker born every minute."


Craigslist Scam Alert Page

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry,

What do you do with your days now? Other then blog...which much take up MOST of your time.

LarryK4 said...

Actually I believe you meant "other than".

And I have been involved in communication--across multiple platforms--for over 30 years, so blogging comes pretty easily to me and does not really take up that much time.

I notice you have the time to come here in the middle of a workday.

Anonymous said...

Great entry Larry.

Thanks!!

LarryK4 said...

No problem. I got nothin' but time on my hands.

Although over the past 4.5 months, I did generate $30-$35,000 in sales (and was not ripped off even once).

Anonymous said...

"Although over the past 4.5 months, I did generate $30-$35,000 in sales (and was not ripped off even once)."

Wow! You are some businessman. Now, if you could only go out of business more often because it's the only business model you've found that worked.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I suppose for a 10% commission I could sell off all 'The Leading Edge' equipment and would do a much better job than either of the warring partners.

Anonymous said...

Personally Larry, I find your blog informative and amusing at the same time...which makes you great in my book....the dumb ass who didn't check before he signed, well, what are we to say?...second, if everyone would go on the local BBB site and check out the latest scams going around .... then this would not have happened... hard lesson learned on his part.... dumb ass.