The car looked reasonable in the pictures, no huge crashes or dents. If you’re familiar with Craigslist, you know that there is a little button to reply. Most people put their first name, some also include their phone number, and then there is a craigslist email to reply to.
- The first yellow warning light was a direct email address that did not go through Craigslist. It seemed odd, but sometimes there are problems with craigslist email and I figured this person wanted to make sure they got their emails. The real reason is, just as a predator pulls the weak one away from the rest of the herd, the potential buyer is “pulled off to the side” and there is no log of craigslist emails.
- I sent an email asking about the car:
Hi, I saw your ad on Craigslist for the car.I am interested in more pictures. Also, is the car still registered so it can be taken for a test drive?When would be a good day/time to see it?
- The response was a long paragraph that did not answer my questions. Here are some excerpts: Never had or need any paint/body work done, garaged keep always, without any mechanical problems, tires and wheels are in great shape as well, electric is working perfectly. But this made me start questioning: This car was used by my husband who died 3 month ago. (Okay, it might be a typo, but if someone’s spouse passed away, it’s not likely they would mistype that.)
- Continuing: I need to sell the car before the 17 of the next month, when I will be leaving on military duty with my team out of the country for a year and do not want to store my car. Hate to sell it but its not worth keeping insurance and paying storage fees for a year. Also, the car is too big for my daughter so there’s no use on keeping it. (Hmm maybe they really need to get rid of the car. And they are in the military!) Signed, Sgt XXX XXX
- So I emailed to ask when I could come look at the car. But first I thanked her for her service and condolences on the spouse. Reality check: That’s what a normal person would do. That’s what the scammer wants you to do. Trust them, they are going through a rough time.
- “She” replied. Here’s the part I want to bring to your attention. This sounded fishy! Notice how “upbeat” the text sounds, although this person is allegedly in mourning: The car is in very good condition, has no hidden problems, no damage or stitches, was never involved in any accident. The engine works perfectly as a new car. The interior is very clean.
Right now I’m in a military base. We are training, getting ready for leaving the country. The delivery process will be managed by me. Our transaction will go through eBay and PayPal. I think I can have it there at your home address within 2-3 working days. It will come with a clear title and reg. I am a member of the eBay buyer protection program and using this service you will get a 7 days testing period after delivery. During that 7 days testing period I will not be getting any money.I need to know if you are interested so I can ask eBay to send you the details on this deal. If interested please include in your next email your contact info for eBay (full name, shipping address and phone number), so we can get the ball rolling.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
- Okay, so what is wrong with this paragraph!?! “I am a member of the eBay buyer protection program and using this service will get you a 7 days testing period.” If you use eBay at all, you know about the buyer protection program. But the seller doesn’t want you to go directly to eBay. They want to send your name, address and phone to eBay for you.
- I wrote back: “Forget it.”
In conclusion, I started to get sucked in because 1) I need a car. 2) They claimed to be military, and we have great respect for our military. 3) I’ve read a bunch of ads on Craigslist where they “need the car gone”. Usually it is accompanied by a picture of a crash-and-smash special.
I grew up in a garage, and I NEVER buy a car without seeing it in person and test driving it. But I wanted to mention this scenario because it was so slick. I’m not a naive person, but I felt myself being sucked in.
What about the next person this crook tries this on?
Be careful out there, my friends.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.— 1 Peter 5:8-9