By now, it seems like half of my blog posts have been about the scammers on Craigslist. I feel like it can get a bit repetitive, but it always amazes me that even though the scam works the same way, they are always a little different.
I usually just delete the initial emails asking if the posted item is still for sale because I already know it’s a scammer.
However, sometimes I like to mess with them and make the scammers think I actually shipped something to them. I like picturing them in their Nigerian town high-fiving each other waiting for the arrival of a free item from an unsuspecting Craigslist user. And every-time I decide to mess with them, their response emails are always a little different. In this case, their responses were extremely long.
And even though I do talk about these scammers a lot, I hope that by putting this information out there that it might help a few people realize they are getting scammed before they ship an item to Nigeria.
How to Spot a Craigslist Nigerian Scam
Keep in mind, the scammer is both the “buyer” that contacts you for the item and they are Paypal. They will send an email that tells you to be expecting a payment from Paypal. Then you will normally get two emails from their fake Paypal email address.
One email will have an image similar to this one that lets you know you have new funds in your account. At first, it looks legit until you see the rest of the email. And if you check your Paypal account, there won’t be a payment.
How They Try to Scam You
The scammers try to explain that Paypal holds the payment and the payment will be released when you provide a valid tracking number for the shipped item. However, Paypal doesn’t work like that and never will. If you reveive a payment to your Paypal account, you will see it when you sign in.
Notice how the payment is coming from Mrs. Ana Regalado, but it is being shipped to a person named Onasile Oluwaseun?
False Sense of Security
There is also a lot of talk on the right hand side about protecting your Paypal password, which is their attempt at making you feel safe and secure. I guess they are trying to sell the idea that it is a legitimate transaction.
You will also receive a second email from their fake Paypal email account with the shipping details. It is a long email (not always this long), but they need a lot of space to explain the ridiculousness of the “new” Paypal shipping process.
Below is an actual email I received from a Nigerian scammer. The email is supposed to be coming from Paypal, but there are countless grammar errors that would never be sent out from a real Paypal email.
Here we go. It is long:
This is a confirmation email of the payment of $260.00USD you received from Mrs.Ana Regalado.The funds are already processed as of now and what is required of you in order for your account to be credited is the item’s tracking/reference number, this number will be given to you at the courier office after you might have sent the item to the bearer, this is part of our new policy and a security measure in order to protect both the buyer and the seller, also to verify if the item was really bought from you we have sent you a confirmation email earlier to inform you that the payment is legal and has been confirmed, also to guide you against fraudulent acts.
We would like to also inform you that this transaction is monitored and secured, your funds are been held with us due to the high risk of scam going on with PayPal, so we urge you to be rest assured as you will be worried you have not seen a pending payment in your account or in the pending tab located in your account. The buyer’s account has been deducted of $260.00USD as this is done to protect both the sellers and the buyers. We urge you to send us the TRACKING DETAILS AND SCANNED POSTAGE RECEIPT and do not try to send the buyer the details not until we instruct you to do so.
We have included the buyer’s full name and amount paid for you to know this message was really sent from PayPal®. We advise that you make sure the item is sent out as soon as possible and request for a tracking number at the Post Office after you might have sent out the item, then you can email us the number by replying directly to this message after it might have been given to you at the courier office so as to credit your account without delay.
After we receive the number from you for security verification, your account will be credited at once, Our system has witness new upgrades, Please don’t be surprised if you see us forwarding you to new customer attendants, its due to the amount of fraud going on involving our name which we are trying all our best to limit and put a stop to. As soon as we receive the requested information from you, your account will be credited. Please reply us via this mail after shipping.
To a very large extent, reviewed measures have been certified under the United States Economic Law concerning all transactions made under the auspices of the PayPal® Company.
Such measure are that:
1. Once a payment is made, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the seller that the payment has been made to state the transaction details which has been sent to you. Also a confirmation would be sent to the buyer as well that the money has been deducted from his or her account. So once the seller gets this mail, he or she should ship the item immediately to the address that has been given to you by PayPal in the first e-mail message sent and send the tracking number to us. Once the tracking number gets to us, the seller’s account will be credited.
2. Once a payment is made and it has been approved by PayPal, such transaction is Sealed (because both seller and buyer have concluded before the payment is being made by the buyer via PayPal) so therefore, neither the buyer nor seller can cancel this transaction or ask for a return of money to the buyer’s account. Also, this is where we generate our trust, because the more transaction made through PayPal, the more we generate our trust.
3. Failure to abide by these laid down safety measures by PayPal may lead to suspension from PayPal and further more invitation for an interrogation with the FBI AND DOJ. So can you see we are very considerate about the safety of both buyer and seller.
Note: Please Do Not Call Us For Now. We Have Detected An Unusual Unauthorized Hacking Attempt On All Our Call Lines And To avoid Any Form Of Mix Up. Therefore, Our Call Lines Are Under Supervision And Rectification, So We Implore You To Message Us Via This Mail. Please Bear With Us.
So kindly complete the shipping today, so we can credit your account as soon as possible.
PayPal Account Review Department.
End of scammer email. I hope you are still with me.
There are a few things to point out in that email that should send big red flags to whoever reads it (besides all of the grammar errors). One is that fact that they mention that Paypal has been recently used for scams. Hey Mr. Scammer, you are the one using Paypal’s name for a scam! They also assure you (more than once) that this is a legitimate transaction.
They also urge you ship the item quickly, send the tracking number and also scan the shipping receipt. They pressure you to ship quickly so you don’t have time to process the fact that it is a scam. They also ask for a picture or scan of the shipping receipt because it is easy to make up a tracking number. A scan of the official tracking number gives them proof it was shipped and helps deter people, such as myself, that just want to mess with them and make them show up to a Western Union and humiliate themselves.
Even More Scam
Another red flag towards the end of the email is that they tell you the FBI will get involved if you don’t ship the package. Really? I’m sure the FBI has better things to do rather than interrogate people failing to ship iPods to Nigeria through Craigslist.
They also warn you about contacting the real Paypal, because the real Paypal will just tell you it is a scam if you call with questions.
Along with these two fake Paypal emails, you will get another email from the “buyer” explaining the Paypal shipping details.
Sorry for such a long post. However, if you find yourself receiving emails similar to the emails above, it is 100% a scam and do not ship anything. You will never get paid and you won’t have the item anymore because it will be arriving in Nigeria. Also check out 1800 USPS. And you can use this website to search Craigslist nationally.