My near scam experience began when I tried to sell an antique cast iron mantle on Craig’s list, an internet classified ads site. The day after the mantle was listed, I received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org telling me he wanted to buy it and asking me to remove the listing. My response was that I would not remove the listing until I was paid with a cashier’s check and then only after it cleared the issuing bank. Mr. Bobble then asked for my name and address so he could make the check out and have it delivered next day mail. I had my suspicions, but I gave him my name and address, which I figured was no big secret.
The clincher was his next email, in which he told me that he was going to send a cashier’s check much bigger than my asking price. My instructions were to cash the check, keep the cash I was asking for the mantle and give the rest to his mover, who needed the cash to pick up other merchandise while he was in the area. Oh yes…I was told to keep an extra $100 cash for my trouble.
I told him that I would not release the mantle unless I was paid cash. Of course I never heard back from him.
So what was his scam?
He was going to send an authentic looking, but fraudulent, cashier’s check made out to me. My bank would probably cash the check, but when the fraud would be discovered, they would rightfully hold me responsible. But of course I would have already given most of the money to his “mover”, along with my mantle. I would have been bilked out of not only the amount of the extra cash, but also my mantle.
On a footnote….
I tried to register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, but was thwarted because no actual scam occurred. Therefore be warned: if you ever encounter email@example.com or any of his ilk, run!