Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've been meaning to post this for the past few days and am now just getting around to it.

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 (

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:

From: brigita
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?


  1. my sister got a check in the mail randomly and our family friend, a retired cambridge police officer, told her not to cash it and go to the police. i suggest going to the cops (with a box of donuts 'natch) and suggesting the sting - would be so cool and stop others from getting ripped off...

  2. Yes - our niece had an experience pretty much like this when she tried to sell jewelry on CL. It took MUCH convincing from many of us that it was not legit. This particular person trying to buy from her was also "overseas a lot for work". Damn scammers!

  3. WOW. I have been dealing with- get this- for a few weeks now. I was selling an amplifier and he literally sent identical e-mails as the ones you have just posted. Thanks for posting this, I know what I'm dealing with now.

  4. I just got a similar email from CL. I immediately knew something was odd when they offered to give me an extra $50. BEWARE of this name and email address: Destiny Nelly I emailed Cash only and never heard back again. when I "googled" this name, I found another guy that was scammed on CL from this person 2 years ago!!! Evidentally, if there are still using the same name and email address, people are still falling for it. BEWARE!!

  5. Today I also received an offer of purchase from this - requesting my full name, address, and phone number, and a withdrawal of the CL ad in exchange for $50 extra dollars. Sounded extremely weird to me, and Googling delivered this blog result. How to report this person?

  6. The same person offered us a extra 50.. Beware of this scammer

  7. I got terribly fooled... I saw the job applications and sent in my resume...which also included my street address, phone number and name.. :-(

    I found out that the one he linked me to was an the service comes from a company called 1&1 in PN. The funny thing is I got into a site where I am suposed to have a login and password...the guy advertising on Craigs list asked for a code for a fake login and password box.

    I also relized their are a numerous amount of people putting this "company" together. They communicate through ODesk. This is where I somehow managed to get in.

  8. Many of the jobs I've come across on Craigslist seem bogus so have been sending emails asking for more info about job and company...most responses include a link to an online application. Yesterday I received the following:
    "Thank you for your interest in Expigroup! After reviewing your information it is clear that you are qualified for the position. However, your online application is only the first step in the recruitment process. In light of the issues facing our industry we are taking a selective approach to final approval.

    You are REQUIRED to complete a 2 minute evaluation to help us learn more about your personal background. On the first page you will be asked to fill out information in regards to our associated network. You MUST enter the required fields on the first page accurately in order to be directed to the following page which pertains specifically to your personal review. On page 2 select the link that says “applicant survey.” On this page we ask that you fill out this information accurately and honestly so we have a better understanding of you on a more personal level.

    Click this link to get started:

    Once we’ve received your answers, a phone interview will be scheduled to complete the application process. We appreciate your time and hope to start working with you soon!

    Best Regards,
    Sara Gilby"

  9. Wow i totally just about got burned by this guy!
    thanks for the warning... saved my but!!!

  10. Me too, but when I opened the link it sent me to an advertisement. Watch out for this guy.

  11. Okay, I'm new to the job search thing on Craigslist. I got the email above from expigroup regarding my application. Bogus? What kind of trouble can I expect? I did not click on the job application because I wanted to look up the company first to see if it was someone I would want to work for. Again, they now have my home address and cell number and my work history. What will they use this information for? Again, I'm 40 something and fairly new to email scams of this nature. Any advise or comfort for me? Any steps I can take to protect myself (other than moving, changing my cell number and getting an alarm system for my home?)

  12. I got the same email from expigroup and am worried because they now have my resume which lists all my credentials, home address and phone number!!! How are we supposed to tell when advertisements like these are a scam? I think it is sick that people are using this time of a depleted job market to scam job hunters.

  13. I have applied for several jobs on craig's list in the past week and EVERY single one was a scam. I could tell because they were canned messages, just like this one, asking me to go to a website. I google the email address or name or website name that I am to go to "to provide them with additional information." I never find a legitimate company. Its a shame. I wish Craig's list would allow me to post a note next to each of the bogus job listings when I flag them as overposts. Many times when I google these web address I see that they have posted jobs on hundreds of craig's lists across the country.

  14. I did the same thing. When I got the email I was so excited then realized the link takes you to a weird site. They also have my resume with all sorts of information. It is really upsetting

  15. Wow, this is very interesting. I too was searching on craigslist job posting (Kansas city area), I too was sent the same weird response from expigroup that took me to a strange site. I never entered anything thinking it must be a scam, and yet they do have my resume also. How do we rid ourselves of these scam artist. I may now only submit a cover letter to peak interest, instead of my entire resume. Any other ideas out there?

  16. I too was scammed. Being a college student who works in the University Career Service center, I'm more than aware of scams. Needing a job for the summer, I applied to 2 positions listed on Craigs List, only to get an email from expigroup, which turned out to be complete BS. It's disheartening to me since I am usually aware of who I give my information to, and now someone out there has very personal information from my resume. It's sick and twisted, beware!

  17. I'm glad there are sites like this...I too responded to a job on CL, and I'm sad to say that it seems to be a scam, too. Luckily I had not sent my resume yet - they have my email address (I hope there won't be a problem with that), but no resume because I searched for info about "expigroup" and was enlightened by this site. Thank you all!!! And job seekers beware!! I believe that personal info can be used to possibly scam money in one way or another - it all boils down to money, doesn't it? Scamming is SO not a good thing - to be really successful, people must find GOOD ways to earn a living and not cheat by hurting another human being!!!

  18. I've been looking for jobs on Craigslist as well. When I see one that looks interesting, I've just been sending a very brief email requesting additional information about the position. If they're legit, they'll respond and I can send them a resume. It's sad but funny to me that with the simple request for information I've had 2 respond with "based on your past experience you're clearly qualified for the job"... Interesting since they have NO idea about any of my past experience. They have my email address and name, but nothing else. I'm hoping that's enough to keep my info protected.

  19. Urgh I emailed my resume too. Can they steal my identity with my name, address, email and phone number?? I'm really scared now!! What should I do?


  20. Ok guys, I think I'm going to do what I can to close comments on this post. I'd rather keep my blog from turning into the hub for CraigsList scam stories. So don't accept overpayment for goods and don't let expigroup get their mitts on your info!