Craigslist Scam

I had an interesting scam happen to me via Craigslist, so I decided to share that experience. Others might learn from my mistakes.

Have no fear, the scam didn’t go far. When I sense something isn’t right, where instinct and common sense tugs at my senses, I listen to it.

I received not one but two emails from people needing laptops formatted and restores. This isn’t a difficult job to do. I’ve done it a lot. They also wanted MS Office installed, but didn’t mention which version. MS Office comes in a ‘home and student’ version, and then there’s the ‘professional’ version.

When they didn’t answer my questions about this, but instead, insisted I give them a quote to get the computers done, my common sense started rattling. Why hurry? Why not care about the difference, in both price of the software as well as the purpose of the software?

Then I asked where they were located. My business is very local. I have on-site service, where I come to the home or business and work there. These people wanted to ship the computers to me.

Um…what? You want to ship the computers to someone you don’t know, to do basic formatting and restore work? That’s when I really found the situation strange.

I did a Google search Craigslist + restore laptop + scam and found a number of message board forums on the topic. The idea is that they send you a check, which isn’t any good, and they immediately say they overpaid you. They want you to send the difference.

I emailed both and said I wasn’t taking the job.

So here is what we can learn from this;

– Check the email. If the email comes from Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail, or other free sites, take it as a red flag.

– Get their full name and company. With that, you can then search the Internet and find out more about them. Neither of these people showed up at all online.

– Use common sense. If their answers to basic questions sound weird or not right, don’t deal with them.

– Be careful on Craigslist. I’ve since changed my post where I will not in any way accept computers via mail.

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