Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Learning to Think Like a Criminal

I put a 2005 Jaguar X-type for sale on boise.craiglist.com.  A "Dustin Welch" texted me asking to buy the car, sight unseen, for payment of $5000 through PayPal.  This seemed suspicious and I asked for his PayPal account address, so that I could verify his existence with PayPal and duration of his account. No response.

I added some pictures to the ad, and soon received essentially the same message from him with no apparent awareness that we had exchanged messages two hours before.

This suggests fraud and a computer program searching all regional Craig's Lists for cars for sale with a phone number that accepts text messages--hardly the actions of a legitimate buyer.  It is pretty easy to create a false PayPal payment notification email which takes you to a false PayPal web page for capturing your account and password.


  1. CL's vehicle sales listings are full of scams. There are a number of obvious tells that give away most of them. CL doesn't care. In fact, they locked me out of their site for tagging a bunch of them. I no longer bother since that "warning".

  2. My son has had the same experience selling a motorcycle. "My boyfriend is interested in the bike. What's your address?" Doesn't ask about the bike, but keeps asking for the address. The plan is to steal the bike if it's sitting outside.

    My son always offers to meet them at a store, like Walmart, in the parking lot. They never agree to that unless they really want to see the bike.

  3. Unless it is cash, inside of a bank at the tellers window, I will not perform a transaction with someone I do not know.

    Counterfeit money is often difficult to detect, wire transfers can be falsified (and can take up to 2 weeks to discover), and cashiers checks that will pass muster at a bank as legitimate can be created on laser printers.

    If someone wants to do the deal, meet inside your bank, have him give pay cash to the bank for a cashiers check performed as you watch: his cash to the bank; the bank's check to you.

    After he leaves (you remaining inside the bank), cash the check for cash. Stay inside the bank (I only use credit unions) well after the buyer leaves. Sit in the lobby and relax. After 15 minutes, deposit the cash into your wife's (separate account) account, and then cautiously leave. Stay aware of your surroundings outside of the bank, watch for anyone following you or strange vehicles at your residence when you arrive home.

    Do not, for one second, think that I am pulling this out of thin air.

  4. First of all: I always carry the Browning to such a transaction, and at the credit union even for cash protects against counterfeits and robbery.

    Second: This is Idaho. That's not a common problem. It does happen. A couple years ago, a guy saw a bargain priced Mac on Craig's List, met with the sellers who were there to rob him of his cash. Stupidly, they hadn't asked the buyer what he did for a living. Ada County Sheriff. They became his guests until trial.