While most of us 'net savvy folks are smart enough to spot a phishing attempt from a mile off, there are some scams that are a little less obvious. Apparently the "excess funds scam" is a classic hustle being perpetrated on craigslist users.
I'm trying to unload some Pottery Barn furniture online and within a few hours of posting the ad to craigslist, I got the following email:
From: Richard Beks (email@example.com)
Would like to know if the item is still available for sale, its condition and price you would offer me??
Await Your Response.
Seeing as that most of the information that the guy requested was available in the posting (not to mention the sketchy grammar), I thought this seemed a little fishy, or more to the point, a little phishy. Thus, I responded with the following:
Hi Richard--The item is still available. All of the other info is in the listing. Thanks!
Again, within a few minutes I got this:
Well, i'm okay with the condition and price also ready for purchase. I could make payment via my business or personal check which could be cashed instantly or deposited for clearance so you can be rest assured all is okay before the pick up.
I'll be responsible for the pick-up and the movers fee will be included in your payment to avoid delay, cost of postage and to enable them schedule an appropriate time for the pick-up at your location as i have other properties to be moved.
Would love to view it but i'm afraid that might not be possible due to my work frame. Do send me more pictures of it. If you're okay with the plans do write back to me with your full name and address including your cell and land number so i can make out payment.Hoping to read from you!
Payment by check? "Rest assured," you say? Sold! Except not.
There are no pictures in my ad (too lazy to take them without any expressed interest) and I said that they were somewhat damaged, so the fact that this guy was ok with buying a couple of relatively inexpensive items sight unseen and then have them shipped by movers when my ad expressly requests local pick-up only were some of the bigger red flags for me.
After this email exchange, I did a little googling to discover that "Richard Beks" has used that very name to try to scam other people in the past.
Apparently what these people do is send you a check that is far in excess of the amount of the item, with the requirement that you pay the movers, who you pay out of pocket, but then your bank contacts you to say that the buyer's check bounced or that the checks were stolen or some other nonsense.
I stopped emailing the guy but would love to get him in trouble without sticking my neck out too far. I'm wondering if I can report him to AOL (since one of the two addresses he used was theirs--who uses AOL any more anyways?) or if my local police can set up a sting (which would be so SWEET).
Anyone else have experience in this department?