Dumb Scam

I listed some things on Craigslist today and immediately I had a text reply to one listing requesting that I reply via an email (outside of Craigslist). (FYI -- the person used the name Mindy Collins and the email candyce4gx@gmail.com)

Methinks I should have trusted the "don't do it" feeling I had, but I didn't. Thankfully, they only have my gmail address now, which I shouldn't have given them, but ... live and learn (and warn others, which I'm doing now).

I wrote and said, "Bikes still available." The person replied with a familiar scam-- they want the item, I should take my ad down now, they need my full name, phone number, and address, and then they will send me a cashier's check for whatever asking price I want (wow!), even more than I asked for (super wow!!) and they will send someone to pick up the item.

This scam ultimately results in you losing your stuff, in addition to being responsible for a bounced (fraudulent) check. I wrote them back saying bikes already sold (also not wise--should have just ignored them). 

Quick banking lesson (learned from my seven years working at a bank, many moons ago):

When you endorse (sign) any check, you are pledging in good faith that you trust the person or business that issued the check, and you are basically attesting that it will clear. The bank can and will remove funds from your account balance when a check bounces.

So, think carefully before taking a check from anyone that you don't know. Don't take a cashier's check or agree to wire money in exchange for goods via an auction or sale, especially if the person doesn't want to meet with you to see the item (but even if the person is buying face to face). These payment methods are usually associated with fraud.

To prevent being a victim of fraud, do not put any personally identifying info (including contact info) in the body of your online advertisement. Craigslist will ask for your email, but they will mask your email so a potential buyer will not have your actual address. (I made the mistake of putting my cell number in my message and then responding via email to the address they texted me, which gave them my gmail address.)

No harm, no foul. And, hopefully someone will be helped by my experience.

Here's some useful links:

About Craigslist scams
To report a scam to the FTC
To file a complain with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (if you've been victimized)