Anatomy of a Craigslist Scam

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Anatomy of a Craigslist Scam

  1. Anatomy of a Scam
  2. Common crime2 An Identity Theft 911 employee recently posted an ad to sell furniture on the popular website Craigslist. Of the 13 inquiries, five were almost certainly from con artists looking for a free paycheck. One of them seemed plausible, so we decided to write back… © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  3. Harsh reality3 What follows is a real-world example of how fraudsters are trolling online classifieds, along with tips on what to look for so you’re not the next victim. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  4. For sale4 The post was simple enough: © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  5. Friendly approach5 The scammer writes an email. Note the urgency: © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  6. Suspicious sender6 Notice the different reply-to addresses. Multiple email accounts is one way crooks try to cover their tracks. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  7. A closer look7 Our agent wrote back, fully aware it was a scam and curious about the direction it would take. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  8. More bad signs8 The scammer replies positively but: • There is no negotiation of price. • Will pay without seeing product in person. • Wants the product immediately. • Wants to pay through an online service. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  9. 9 Don’t try this at home Next, our employee sent a PayPal request from a dummy account not linked to a bank or credit card. At this point, if you aren’t certain the buyer is legitimate, DO NOT send an e-invoice. You don’t want the bad guys to know you use online pay services and what email address they’re linked to.© 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  10. Setup for fraud10 © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  11. Avoid transferring funds11 This is the nut of the scam: The crook tries to get you to use Western Union or PayPal to send them money. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  12. Spot the scam12 What followed next was an email designed to look like an official PayPal communication. Note the “from” address isn’t paypal.com: © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  13. Bad information13 The item title is Ford F450, but the ad was for couches. Also, in a real transaction, you would never get the warning in the yellow box saying that you won’t see the transaction in your Account Overview. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  14. More scam evidence14 The email uses a wordy explanation filled with bad grammar and typos on how to send money via a wire service. No online business, including PayPal, eBay or Amazon, will ask you to do this. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  15. The final touch15 The crook closes by saying the only way to contact PayPal is to reply to this message via email. The fraudster doesn’t want you to contact the real PayPal since then the scam would be revealed. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012
  16. 16 Not all bad Using Craigslist, PayPal and other sites is an excellent, modern means of doing business. (Our employee eventually sold his couches to a happy couple.) But like it or not, bad guys prowl these sites regularly. Stay sharp, and keep your identity and money out of the wrong hands. If it looks like a scam, it probably is. © 2003-2011 Identity Theft 911, LLC. All Rights Reserved - Confidential May 30, 2012

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