Craigslist Fraud


Just thought I'd share my recent experience with attempting to sell some audio equipment on Craigslist.  Attempted to sell a Audio Research Ref 3LE.  I know now that doing so via Craigslist was probably stupid.  Anyway, I had a guy from out of state reach out to me.  Said that he wanted to buy it.  Asked that he send a cashiers check.  A couple days later the FedEx arrives with a check for $12K more than what I was asking...  The alarm bells went off.  Check was from a business in Chicago and the FedEx was from Florida.  They did a very convincing job of making up the check.  Reported it to the police - so I could feel better.  They let me know that the scammers would probably have come back and asked that I send part of the money back to them.. as if.  Rang the company that the check was reported to have come from (The Belt Railway Company of Chicago).  They said that I was the 6th person in the last week that rang them.  Wanted to put this out for y'all and hope that no one goes through this like I did.  Very thankful that it only cost me time, frustration and some dents to my ego.  
Previewthelostdutchman
I am shocked, shocked, to hear of fraud on Craig's List! 

My Talon Khorus speakers were sold on CL, and for top dollar, too. So it is not all scammers. In fact there are a lot fewer scammers than it seems. But when one scammer writes code that can hit hundreds or thousands of ads in a day it sure can seem like they're all there is.
Just curious can't the police check with FedEx on who's account the check was shipped with FedEx? 
Nothing wrong with using CL. Like anything, just use it wisely. I sell and buy on CL. When I sell, I always state that the price is firm, pick up only - no shipping, and accept only cash, exact amount - no change will be given. Never an issue.
To avoid all this hassle, we use Audiogon :-) Yeah it costs a bit, but the peace of mind matters - at least to me.
I have used Craigslist in the past without a problem. Like "rockadanny", I always pay cash if I'm buying, and require cash if I'm selling. I prefer local sales ONLY. Good catch, OP. You could have been the their next victim.
I sure learned my lesson about Craigslist.  Thankfully I'm a healthy skeptic, so it didn't take a lot to make me question what was going on.  I may relent and try again, but will be a bit wiser this time.  

Think I'll suck it up and try selling both here on Audiogon.  BTW - the scammer texted me again this morning and asked how things were going.  I was out walking my dog at the time.  I know it was childish, but I took a nice close up pic of some freshly deposited dog crap, and texted it back in response.  Made me feel a bit better :)
going. I was out walking my dog at the time. I know it was childish, but I took a nice close up pic of some freshly deposited dog crap, and texted it back in response. Made me feel a bit 

NICE!!!!!
Like other has suggested, CL should only be cash at pickup for any sales.  I have also seen buyers offering more than asking price and then requesting you use a third party transaction website for the money transfer.  The idea is that the charges would be reversed as soon as they have product in hands.  It's extremely difficult to fight this type of thing once it's done.  Be wary.
“CL should only be cash at pickup for any sales”

Sold tons of stuff including electronics on CL, never ran into a single scammer.  Cash is King! 
Sounds like a truck fire to me. 

(Canadian Craiglist joke -- in very bad taste)
Yes I always figured Craigslist for local sales not shipping. Never sold anything but I've bought tickets through CL just fine.
I've advertised speakers, leather jackets, and a motorcycle. CL is where the low-ballers live.


It’s pretty obvious who the scammers are . I post in my ads on CL
I will consider reasonable offers only,  no checks m Cash only ,,pickup only 
if interested please leave me a phone number I can confirm,   Thank you 
if they can’t comply not worth dealing with. 
Hey, I love CL.  Have to be a little careful, but I've bought and sold so many things there.  I love meeting people from all walks of life and making an honest deal.  No transaction fees, no middle men, no taxes.  Never had a problem taking paypal, venmo, or cash.  Browse my local audio selection on CL almost daily!
Classic scam.  Every time I have posted on Craigslist, I get at least one of these ("Price is acceptable.  Please remove ad.  I am unfortunately out of state but I [or my agent] will send a check."). I simply delete.  Never had a problem with 'real' buyers, who will come and take a look and generally with cash.
   Some scammers are of the genius kind. Too bad they don't work for legitimate gain. Here's an example of a clever one who preyed on the "less than intelligent"........
   Years ago when  cell phone use really took off people were using them everywhere. Most important, people were talking on their phones while driving. When the number of accidents on the road exploded due to distracted drivers law enforcement began to write citations for that act. That's when hands free gadgets for cell phones took off.
   A seller on eBay listed a hands free device for only $5. He posted no photo of the device. A flood of buyers jumped on the deal and ordered it.Turns out the device was simply a large rubber band costing only a few cents. The user would put the rubber band around the head and then place the cell phone underneath next to the ear.
   I don't remember how the legal issues worked out but, in a way, the seller wasn't legally misleading as to the function of the device. I'm sure he was banned from eBay.
   As clever as some of those people are all we can do is to be very careful when buying online.

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No matter where you sell, you can get scammers. There is no guarantee that the buyer is legit if he is buying on agon, cl, Usam, ebay, or fb. I’ve had this same thing happen to me, the buyer wrote me a $20k check for a couple hundred $$$ sale. I called the issuing bank and of course it didn’t come from them, but it looked authentic.
There are so many more things to worry about when selling anything online, like:
* receive your gear and then they complain that it doesn’t work and they demand PayPal to reimburse them and they will actually send you their non-working unit. I’ve had this happen to me a few times. I always take a picture of the serial #(s) before shipping, and when I state that, they don’t want a refund.
* claiming that they haven’t received the product and want a full refund. Since I always use signature on delivery, I’ll send them the receipt that they signed for delivery
* shipping overseas can cause issues because if the item goes thru customs, you can’t get signature on delivery so the buyer can receive the product and then claim to PayPal that they never received the product and then you are forced to issue a refund. So when shipping overseas, payment has to be received and deposited and I wait for the check to clear before sending the product

Thats only a few things that you have to worry about when dealing with any buyer from any sales selling app
Oldest trick in the book. Cl is fine to sell if you take cash. I sell tons o stuff on cl. Btw, if you give me your info, there 5m usd in your name from long lost aunt from Uganda country. Please send me 
Sorry this happened to you. I'm a CL regular, and do a lot of out-of-area deals, mostly as a buyer.  It's experiences like this that make a lot of sellers resistant to even considering what I have to offer.  I give my phone number (and urge them to call, since I want to be sure the seller is the real deal), suggest PayPal (easily traceable if there's a problem) or a postal money order (convertible to cash at the post office), and want payment cleared before shipping.  A third party escrow service is always a possibility, but I've never used one. So far, every deal has worked out fine.

Cashier's checks, third party pickup, and an unwillingness to talk on the phone are sure indications of a scam.
Hey, I love CL. Have to be a little careful, but I've bought and sold so many things there. I love meeting people from all walks of life and making an honest deal. No transaction fees, no middle men, no taxes. Never had a problem taking paypal, venmo, or cash. Browse my local audio selection on CL almost daily!

+1, but cash only.
So sorry to hear you were robbed, and thank you for warning us!
I have sold on CL before, with no problems. However, early Dec I posted a cartridge on several sites and had an experience 90% similar to @thelostdutchman. I get an email from one joker saying that he's interested. Then I get a text from a 3rd party claiming to be his wife (1st red flag) saying that he will pay more than I was asking (2nd red flag) and that he is sending someone to drop off a check (3rd red flag) via FedEx and needed my address (4th red flag). No way I was giving it out. I strictly meet in well lit public places. Out of curiosity, I Googled FedEx & Craigslist check scam and bingo. They spelled out the exact play. The back will take the check and deposit it. However, 5 days later, you get an NSF notice. 

Stay diligent. Trust but verify.
Rules for Craigslist:

1) No checks
2) Local Sales only
3) Face to face, cash, in public places
4) Expect low-ballers and no-shows
5) No checks
6) Local sales only
7) Face to face, cash, in public places

Finally,
8) Any questions, refer to rules 1, 2, and 3 or 5, 6, and 7
Or you could do it C O D. That way if the person doesn't pay the freight company cash or by credit card they won't leave the item.
+1 cash only. If you accept payment through something like PayPal or Venmo, after the buyer leaves with your gear, they can contact their credit card and deny the charge, claiming that their card had been stolen or something. The charge will be reversed and you will be out the money and never see your gear again.  
Many good tips; scammers are preying on people who they think are desperate to get cash now because of the pandemic.  I've seen suggestions to use a police department/fire department/library parking lot or any place where there's a lot of pedestrian travel, like a Lowes or Home Depot - NEVER at your house if you can help it, and have someone come with you to watch from afar or near you.  Not that you couldn't get robbed/hurt at any of these places (and police won't interfere in private transactions, even on their property unless a law is being broken).  If you agree to meet at your house for a demonstration of your goods, try to make it outside; I've pulled speakers/amps out into the driveway for testing.  Don't agree to meet at night, either.
Depending on what you are selling, many will think "I'm willing to bet he has more gear at his house" They will have another party follow you home from the public parking lot sale. This has happened a couple of times locally.

The other one is people have their mail held at the USPS when they go on vacation. Postal workers give the info to people who break into the homes. 


I really appreciate all the responses and suggestions.  I'm so thankful that the only things I lost in this learning moment, was time and pride.  

Going to list both pieces on Audiogon this weekend.  The hassle of dealing with the fraudsters and wheel kicking/time wasters off Craigslist is just not worth the amount of cash I save avoiding transaction fees.  

if i am buying or selling on cl  i  insist transaction be done thru ebay if shipping is involved....has protected  me from scams....otherwise in person must  pickup and cash....
I had exactly the same thing happen to me selling a Porsche on Autotrader. It is impossible for these web sites to screen everything. Scammers keep coming up with new ideas. You you did a great job picking up on it. When dealing with people you do not know always do so with distrust until you get to know them. It is one of the reasons I hardly ever ship. Local pick up only. If someone really wants something they can come and pick it up. People who are going to meet you face to face are much less likely to scam you. The young man that just bought my old Sota handed me a wad of cash. I never asked for cash only. It was understood.
I agree with the other folks here.  I've dealt on Craigslist quite a lot.  The key is to keep it simple. Cash is best. If you must accept a check, money order, etc. wait until it clears before releasing the merchandise, simple.  I've been asked on CL and eBay, "Will you accept a check?"  I tell them, "I'll accept a dirty napkin, WHEN IT CLEARS, I send the item".  They often then disappear. 
Had a guy try to by my rare muscle car that way.  The professional criminals I worked for said they knew someone who would cash the check for me!!

Sent it to the Secret Service who knew the deal.

Funny days!

Cheers!
I've sold dozens of  speakers, amps, guitars, ect over the years on CL. I always request cash only and include a phone number in reply. I clearly state that replies without phone numbers will be ignored. Weeds out the bottom feeders and scammers easily.
To the OP: Well done for not falling for that!
Before we moved to a new home about 500 miles away, I attempted to sell a 15 year old Honda snowblower, listing it on Craigslist.  I had the same sort of experience.  I reached out to the FBI and opened a formal case, the person on the phone said they knew about this scam.
Speaking of Cashiers checks, do watch the movie "Catch Me If You Can"  It is a true story and do watch the bonus features afterwards, too!
CL is free ad posting and local, and that's hard to avoid.  Anytime I post, I will state the item is cash only, and will NEVER be viewed at my house - can be seen or transacted in the parking lot of the local police station.  If that possibly prevents a potential purchase, then maybe it was for a good reason.
Had a guy try to by my rare muscle car that way. The professional criminals I worked for said they knew someone who would cash the check for me!!

Sent it to the Secret Service who knew the deal.

Funny days!

Cheers!
Almost as much fun as getting busted with weed one purchased on credit.
Craigs list a SCAM A MINUTE.HELLO!!
Just curious can't the police check with FedEx on who's account the check was shipped with FedEx?

Probably shipped by a Mr. Cold H. Cash, or in this case Mr. Florida Man.

Anyone can walk into a FedEx store and pay cash to send a package anywhere. Alternatively, sent with a stolen FedEx account number and thrown into a drop box.
Another twist on CL to be aware of.  I was selling a motorcycle and had a VIN report.  The buyer wanted a VIN report from another provider.  I did it and immediately knew I was scammed (Cayman Island site).  Canceled my credit card and they refunded the VIN report charge.  Never use a VIN report that you didn't generate.
I have sold numerous hi-end (2-5K) mountain bikes from CL with no issues.Local only and usually cash.  There have been times when I did a mix of Paypal and cash and have not run into any issues.  
Yep - same thing happened to my girlfriend. Good rule for Craigslist: if it feels funny, it's a scam. Never accept any payments using cashier's checks, and always deal locally if at all possible.


Thats such an old CL scam that I'm surprised they're still doing the ’oops I sent you too much’ check scam. on CL I will only do in person for items that expensive and maybe Venmo/Paypal in some rare cases. youre better off protecting yourself and selling on ebay or even Reverb does some hifi sales.
I like all the people posting "rules" for making Craigslist sales.  Here's what a scammer tried with me. 

Scammer - Email - I want the item. 

Me - fine, local pickup, cash only. 

Scammer - I'm out of town, I'll send a down payment cashier's check. 

Me - No. Cash only.  Local pickup. 

Scammer: I've sent a cashier's check via FedEx, here's the tracking number.

Me - I know this is a scam, the FedEx will be refused.

Scammer:  Please deposit the check in your bank, etc.

Me - I've notified FedEx security of this scam using FedEx with the tracking number.  I've notified Tractor Supply security that you're using their address in Florida for a scam and possibly their FedEx number..  I've talked with Manager of the Tractor Supply store and notified her of the scam.  The FedEx will go back to Tractor Supply, and they're going to turn it over to the local police.

All of this took about a week to resolve.  The scammers are really persistent and even when you tell them you know it's a scam, they don't quit.  So, you can make up whatever rules YOU want for Craigslist sales, but ultimately it's up to you to clean up the mess the scammers have made for you.
Craigslist is full of crooks. They try me on every single high value item I list. Mostly the same cons over and over. The solution, ONLY take cash and only present the merchandise to the actual buyer. 
I've had pretty good luck selling electronics on Craigs list. The scammers always are ones that call as soon as you post your ad. They all have the same story line with a few added touches. One thing they have in common  is the cashiers check angle and usually offer you more than  you are asking for the item. Thats  the big tip off. Also they send someone other than themselves to pick it up. Saying their  wife is  in the hospital or something  similar. One guy even called me from Reno Nevada and tried to sound like an old man. He wasn't much of an actor. I could tell he was faking it.