Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Bit of Explanation

The main reason that I post these emails from the Craigs' list scammers (employment and room ad both) is that these people aren't just trying to scam one person. This bushwa (as my stepfather would have called it, god rest his alcoholic soul!) isn't sent to me and me alone.

The Craigs List job postings scams are being posted all over the USA. That's one reason why I get 5-6 replies from different people with different email addresses (and basically for different jobs as well) when I send one resume in response to a Craig's List job posting

. There are ways to tell whether a Craigs List job posting is legit or not. Poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation are usually dead giveaways to a potential scam. Extremely high salaries for very little work are another thing that should make your 'scam-o-meter' hit the red zone. Recently there have been a lot of postings that want something along these lines: full time/part time front office/back office receptionist/admin assistant. Yes all of that is one job title. A legit employer will post several listings if he needs both full time and part time employees. A receptionist and an administrative assistant are two totally different jobs, and one pays much better than the other. The scammers haven't taken the time to differentiate between them.

The room scams follow a distinct pattern. There will be a first email that is innocent-sounding enough; it usually asks if the room is still available, although I had one today asking if my apartment/sublet was still available. Once you answer their questions, you get a huge long email about how wonderful they are and how they are coming to the 'state' (state never specified though) to further their education. Then having convinced you that they are Mother Teresa, the Dali Lami, and Dr Phil all rolled into one, they say that they need your full name, address, phone number, email address, and other personal information so that their employer/father/friend/the man in the moon (alright, I haven't had one yet say the man in the moon) can send you a check for the room rent for the first month. The catch is that the check will be for more than the first month rental cost; you are supposed to cash that check and send the rest of the money back either to the person who sent it to you or to the 'flight manager' of the person who is supposedly renting your room.

The problem with that whole check scenario is that the check is going to be fraudulent. Your bank will hold YOU responsible for the total amount of the check plus any overdraft fees charged against your account when the check bounces. In the meantime the scammer has gotten the cash you sent them.

The room scam is also played out with ads for physical goods on Craigs List, and sometimes by the same people (or at least they use the same email address). They want you to take down the listing because they want your item very badly. They will send a check to you for it, and their 'agent' (who is usually in on the scam) will come pick it up. You need to give them your name,home address, phone number, and email address. Yes, the agent will come pick it up. The check will bounce just like the one in the room scam, and your bank will come after YOU.

I post the replies I get so that when other people search Google, Bing, or other reputable search engines to see if the replies they are getting are legit they will find out that they aren't. I learned to do this with my first Craigs List postings, for a large set of cocktail forks (not silver, but stainless) and a vintage creamer. I googled the email addresses and came up with a huge list of scams and attempted scams linked to those email addresses.

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