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Conversation with a Craigslist Scammer

Here's why you need to be so, so careful when dealing with people on Craigslist.

I posted a number of ads on Craigslist, and was contacted by a "nice lady" about an OshKosk B'Gosh padded toy box - she seemed different than the usual Nigerian scammer who is always first to mail me with "item still available?"

Here's what she wrote:

I used to own this toy box and have been looking for it, it was ruined when our basement flooded, my son loved this toy box, and has been using it since he was an infant, and misses this toy box dearly. I have bought two since trying to provide a much needed replacement, but my son is really attached to this one! Not to mention the quality of this one far surpassed what I've bought since and currently have. I have been somewhat successful in replacing some of what I bought that was ruined. I've read ur post and was successful in finding this add after googling Osh Kosh B'Gosh toy box. I live in Harrisburg P.A. and would happily pay the shipping costs, and cost of the toy box via money order, I'm not a Nigerian Scam artist, just looking to replace and keep a toy box that myself and my son loved. I am a real person, not a scam artist, who would really appreciate the opprotunity to buy this much loved toy box to replace the one we unfortunately lost.
Pamela [Deleted]
(Sam's mom)
[Address and Phone Number Deleted]

Well, she does sound pretty legit. The 'ur' abbreviation raised a small red flag, but I was willing to overlook it - some people just type like that. So here we go:


You're probably aware that this box weighs a bit - 32.5 lbs with the toys. Shipping would be about $45.00, which would make the total $90.00. I would be willing to pack it and ship it if you could get compensation to me in cash. Money Orders just won't do for Craigslist transactions. Every Craigslist response comes with the following caution built in:

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

Let me know your thoughts.

Here's the response I got back:

I'm hoping u received my email, not sure been having problems with my server...Anyway, I am out of state, if u decide 2 reconsider and that ur willing to ship this toy box, I would happily send u out a money order for the cost of the toy box and shipping costs, ofcourse first, and then have u send it out 2 me. I haven't been able 2 find this toy box anywhere! I bought this toy box orginally 7 yrs ago @ Babies R Us....It was just recently ruined when our basement flooded, my son has had this toy box since he was an infant, he loved this toy box, as did I, seeing that the two I've purchased since have not met the quality of this one. I live in Pennslvania, Harrisburg, specifically. Here's my name address and info, if u decide to ship...
Pam [Data Deleted]

P.S. I'm not a Nigerian scam artist, I'm a real person. Please if u wouldn't min letting me know either way, what u decide, I'd appreciate it.

Hm. The grammar and spelling is deteriorating. Despite the Craigslist warning, and the disclaimer in my original post that I only work with cash transactions, she still wants to send me a money order. I'm starting to smell a rat, but what the heck. It could still be a legitimate buyer. Let's take it a bit further.


If you want to try sending a money order, you could mail it to my business address:
[Address Redacted]
Total amount $90.00


Notice the name in quotes. This is a troll to see if she notices anything. So let's see if I get a bogus money order... I'm curious to see what one looks like.

First she writes back:

I will send that to ur bussiness address, thk u so much, the 90.00 includes shipping and the cost of toy box. thks!

This is followed up with:

It's not a problem for me to send u a money order, but I am concerned seeing we're not dealing locally....Where I can drive 2 ur location, give u payment and take the toy box, once I send u the money order, and I will do it certified mail so u will have to sign for it, I have to trust that u will send me the toy box, it's a vey big chance I'm taking....I have no information on u, ur name etc...

She's worried about my not shipping the item? Well, I suppose some people might have concerns. Still, that's how Craigslist and Ebay work... first you pay, and then the shipper ships. Some time goes by, and I haven't seen a certified letter, so I respond with:

Dear Pam,

Just a reminder that I have not yet seen your money order for the OshKosh toy box. If you still want it, please let me know, because I have others who are interested as well.


Get this back immediately:

Happy to send u via money order the first 45, send me the toy box, once I receive it I will send u the last 45

Um, I don't think so.

Dear Pam, that's not how these transactions work. I'll just sell this item to someone local.

Now she's insulted.

And why not? U have little if any incentive in sending me the toy box, other than doing it this way, so if u decide not to send me the toy box I will only b out $45, rather than $90. I completely understand, sell it someone else, no harm, no foul, should u have a change of plans, my offer will still b open, feel free to contact me, I'll happily send u the first 45, and then the next 45, once I receive the toy box. All the trust shouldn't b my end only...

By this time I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with a Nigerian.

Simply because that's the way standard Craigslist transactions work. Or any transactions for that matter. You buy at Amazon, they won't ship until you pay in full. Etc. Olumba Oumba Obu send black powder to onioburu...

Let's see if "she" picks up on the Nigerian insult.

Come on....What we're doing is not standard, and u know that......

In HUGE letters all over Craig's list it says beware of transactions involving sending money, check and money orders, so to avoid scams. Ur certainly not Amazon, where I would have recourse if a seller didn't send merchandise I had paid for, so what recourse would I have with u, should u not send me the toy box after I sent u $90, ahhh, nothing.....I'd b out $90, and Craig's list would tell me told u so, happens all the time, and what u can't read! So seeing that we're dealing with one another from out of state, where Craig's list is specifically aimed for local use, unless ofcourse ur trying to b dishonest with me, u need to assume some risk also, otherwise I have no problem with u selling this toy box to someone else.....

If ur going to sell it to me, u'll have to do it the way I specified, otherwise I'm not intrested...Just sending u $90, that's called blind faith and I just don't know u well enough for that...I don't know u at all, so, I don't trust u. And I would b showing u good faith by blindly sending u the first installment $45 in the first place, now it's ur move....

Getting pretty aggressive. That's a scammer's last defense... see if you can bully the intended victim. The "Beware of Transactions" disclaimer is largely directed at the seller, not the buyer. Strange that she would use this to try to indimidate me. No mention of the Nigerian juju man Olumba Olumba Obu, so I figure this drone knows exactly who that is. An "onioburu," by the way, is a gong-farmer or nightsoil handler, and "black powder" is the equivalent of sending a "death stick" to someone's doorstep. Pretty powerful medicine in those parts of the world.

Pam, you do it my way or not at all. I'm the seller, and I stand to lose the most. Simple as that. I've been selling on Craigslist for a long time, doing business this way, and I'm not going to change. It's too risky. U no fit comot face.

Another Nigerian insult. An American would be asking questions about what this means.

No thanks....I'll pass, sell it 2 someone else, u do not stand 2 lose the most I do! Uno fit comot face...think I'm dealing with a crazy seller anyway!

Returning insults. Whoever I'm writing to knows exactly what I said to them. That's Nigerian slang for "You don't have the pelotas to show up in public." Game over.

The fact that you know "u no fit comot face" tells me all I need to know. Mugu no chop my dollar.

The last line basically says, "You won't get my money, fool."

Please be careful out there.

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Nov. 30th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
I would have sent the following:

Apparently you have forgotten the "Rules of Engagement"
1. I am the seller. I set the terms, that I feel are reasonable.
2. You are the buyer. You have to agree to number 1.
3. You may suggest alternatives, but you cannot demand them.
4. If I do not like your alternatives, and we cannot come to any other agreement, I have the right to cancel the sale.
5. If number 4 is invoked, please do not send any more correspondence to me, unless you agree to number 1.
6. If you do not abide by number 5 it will be considered harassment and reported to the proper authorities.
7. Remember, I am the seller, I set the terms with-in Craig's List guidelines. You are the buyer and have to abide by those terms.
8. If you do not like the above rules, then tough luck.
Nov. 30th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
Those are real good.
Nov. 30th, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
I doubt it's a literal Nigerian, and I doubt she knew what "comot" means. She might have said exactly what she believed, but you were justified in turning down that arrangement.
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:59 am (UTC)
Thank you for this entertaining and educational reminder of the kinds of Oinoburus out there. :)
Nov. 30th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
Comot over to mah place
Hey u!
we havin' a party.....


The Old Wolf

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