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Anatomy of a Craigslist Scam

Submitted by on March 6, 2012 – 11:01 pm15 Comments
Fuji Special Road Racer S10-S

Fuji Special Road Racer S10-S

I’m advertising my Fuji Special Road Racer S10-S on Craigslist for sale and I get an email today from “Mark Johnson via”  Yeah the handle and smtp don’t exactly compliment one another, but I’ve seen weirder.  Here’s what “he” wrote:

Hello Seller, I am interested in your posted Bike. Get back to me if still available and the last price you are selling.

I was mildly skeptical but replied in good faith. A few minutes later I got this reply from Kwan Maggie


Thank you for your prompt response.I like the Bike with the description and all.It is okay with me.And i am quiet comfortable with the price.Though i should have come over and take a look but i am out of town(On a business trip).So with every description you gave me, i believe you.Also,its my first time transacting on craiglist,i really
dont know how it works but I will be sending you payment right away with a Certified Bank check,apparently the check will carry the payment for the item you are selling and the shipping payment.

The payment will be sent via Fed ex or Ups and a tracking number will be provided to you.And once you receive it,get it cash or deposited in your account and withdraw the shipping fund which you will have sent to the shipping company via Money gram money transfer.You will also take $100 extra for your running around.

I need you to get back to me with .

1..Full Name to issue Check to

2..Full address to mail check to.–NO P.O.Box

3.A working phone #

As soon as i get this, the check will be overnight to you.And the shipper info and tracking number will be sent to you as soon as you receive the check.

*I want you to take the advert of the list so other buyers wont disturb you.


What the hell?

So I did what any rational person would do, I wrote him back and expressed my enthusiasm about the sale.  I gave him a bogus address and bogus phone number and told him I was looking forward to receiving the money and would start packing the bike for him right away.  Of course I didn’t remove the ad.

Sadly I haven’t heard back from him but I’m still hoping he’ll respond.  This has enormous amusement potential.  Anyhow, I’ll update this post if anything comes from it.

Has anyone else experienced this scam? I think it’s actually a common one.



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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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