By Dr. John L. Reizer
Editor at NoFakeNews.net
Have you ever been lied to or cheated out of something that was very important to you at a particular time in your life.
Maybe you were the victim of a serious crime such as robbery, identity theft, Internet fraud, or something more tangible in nature. Maybe someone robbed you of your precious time or creative energy. In most instances it really doesn’t matter what you were cheated out of. The fact that someone else or a group of people pulled the wool over your eyes for a period of time and separated you from something you valued is enough to make a sane person become very upset.
I don’t normally write articles here that have to do with my personal life. Today I will make an exception to this rule in order to inform others about a scam that is currently taking place on the Craigslist website. For those readers who have never heard of craigslist, it is a website where people can quickly sell merchandise to prospective buyers. Craigslist is a wonderful tool that can be used free of charge in order to sell lots of stuff. A few months ago I sold a boat in about 3 hours and received the full asking price in cash. Two weeks ago I sold an automobile on craigslist and received the full asking price in cash. I like craigslist because it is, in my opinion, a damn good way to get merchandise sold and usually in record time.
Unfortunately, there are many disingenuous people in the world that will attempt to rip you off and steal your last dime if given the opportunity. You can never let your guard down and you really cannot trust people that are strangers when it comes to dealing with money. This advice is also true with regards to craigslist and other Internet sites that offer similar services.
About a week ago, my daughter decided to list her bed for sale on craigslist. She asked a price of $480.00 and very quickly received a text message on her phone from a prospective buyer. After a few text exchanges, the prospective buyer agreed to purchase the bed at the full asking price. The arrangement was that the buyer would send a cashier’s check to our address for the full asking price as well as an additional amount to cover the shipping charges. We were supposed to send the additional funds to the buyer’s shipper. This would most-likely be completed via Western Union or a similar wire transfer service. I am not sure because we never got that far along into the scam.
My daughter made the arrangements with the prospective buyer and asked them to make the check out in my name and sure enough a cashier’s check arrived at my house a few days later via FedEx.
I immediately contacted the banking institution where the check had originated and after about thirty minutes was able to establish that the document was a fraudulent check. If my daughter or I would have cashed or deposited the check at our bank, the money would have been given to us and then we would have turned over the additional funds to the buyer’s shipper via money transfer. I would have lost over $1100.00 dollars. About 30 business days later my bank would have discovered that the cashier’s check was a fraudulent document and then they would deduct the entire amount deposited or cashed out of my account. Meanwhile, the scammers would have had my money that I would have wired to them. Nice people out there in the world! Thank goodness we did not fall for the scam and the only person that lost money in the deal was the scammer for the price of the FedEx delivery to my house.
I called the local police, FBI, and a few other resources I mistakenly believed could help me in my effort to stop the scammer. I quickly realized that the official authorities were not very interested in helping me stop the person or persons responsible. For all intents and purposes, the authorities were going to be completely useless in helping me get some revenge. So I decided to “erect” a plan on my own.
I realized at this point that any revenge I might be able to achieve on the scammer would be minuscule in comparison to the damage he was doing by stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from innocent people every week. This scamming operation was a huge one and there has been much written about it all over the Internet. But I figured that this little exercise of me getting a little revenge on this creep was some much needed therapy for my soul. In addition to this, I believed that for every minute of the day the scammer was chatting and dealing with me, he was not stealing as much from others.
The first thing that I did was to set up a fake phone number that I would be able to use to communicate with the scammer. I needed to communicate with the person or persons via sending text messages. This is how he/they originally communicated with my daughter regarding the bed she was selling. They never would answer their phone when I called the number. They always wrote back and claimed they had a hearing disability. So text messages would be the way I would have to proceed. After I set up an alternate phone number that could receive and transmit text messages I was ready to begin.
I initially baited the scammer by sending a text that said the following:
“How are you going to pick up this horrible looking furniture from my house?”
I’ll be very honest with my readers. I didn’t even know if the scammers would respond to my message because they originally responded to my daughter’s phone through her craigslist ad on the Internet. I figured that they were so busy and that there were multiple scammers working different scenarios with many prospective suckers that they might reply to me. I also believed these people were foreigners, probably working out of Nigeria or another distant location. I arrived at this premise from reading their texts that regularly butchered the English language.
The initial text message I sent did the trick. I have added most of the screen shots from my cell phone that highlight the best parts of my conversations with the scammers below. I identified myself to the scammer as Norman Bates, the character from the “psycho” movie. I think this is hilarious. Enjoy!
At this point, I intentionally pretended to send the transfer to the wrong address just to drive them crazy. I also told them that I was driving around with a police detective named Columbo. You know, Peter Falk from the TV series. There were too many screen shots to include so I am just filling in the details here.
And then I sent them the picture of the Western Union Receipt! 🙂
And I thought they took it rather well. The scammers actually had a good sense of humor.
Have a good day!