I have various blog posts that are still drafts due to them covering complicated subjects. As I was writing the past few days, I decided to publish this one in the meantime. Also, I have a disclaimer at the end for anyone who needs one.
This one is not on the ever-interesting, fascinating and riveting subject of Travel Insurance. Instead, it’s a Tip For Selling Expensive Items online.
I am selling an Ethan Allen American Impressions Cherry Computer Desk for $500 on Craig’s List.
Within 30 minutes of listing it I received three text messages from area codes in California, Florida and New York. I live in Missouri. Each of the messages was worded nearly the same as the others, with the feeling of it being a scam, so I decided to have some “fun” with them. By the way, if you like my sense of humor, let me know if you ever come to Kansas City and we can hang out.
I copied one of the text exchanges. The other two were similar, but they wouldn’t play along and were shorter.
Their text to me: “Ethan Allen American Impressions Cherry Computer Desk 24-9011 – $500 Ok! I will pay you via Paypal and i will have a mover come pick it up but i can’t get cash across to the mover directly because i’m out of the city for work and they don’t use paypal. So, i will add extra money to the payment for the mover so that you can pay on my behalf. Send me your paypal info for payment if you have one so we can proceed.”
Me: “Oh I’m so sorry but we only take cash. When will you return to the city?”
Text: “Next month”
Me: “Send me your contact info and I will arrange for the sale. What date will you return?
Text: sorry paypal is the only way i can make the payment to you because it is linked to my bank account and i find it very easy to transfer funds there. so let me know if you are still gonna sell to me. paypal only take a minute to set up. log on to Paypal.com to setup
Me: “If you want to use Paypal, there is a 21 day wait for me to release the item so I can receive the money.”
Text: “PayPal is instant….The funds will get into your account Immediately you send them the details you get from western union.? thats the only way i do my transaction when am not in the state”
Me: “What state do you need to be in?”
Text: “Okay appreciate the furniture and just to let you know I’m okay with the condition, the price and I’m ready for the purchase plus I’m willing to add an extra $50 so as to have it reserved in my favor, I would have really loved to come for the inspection but due to my work frame it just won’t fit in my schedule but i already have a mover that will handle the moving”
Me: “Here’s the problem for me: It’s a friend’s account. I’m in the Witness Protection Program and it’s illegal for me to use PayPal due to my money laundering past. I have friends all over the USA so send me your contact information and they will get the money in person from you and your associate can pick it up after that. Don’t worry, you can trust my friends.”
I never heard anything after that last text. I guess they didn’t want to meet my “friends”.
*** Disclaimer for anyone who needs one: I am not now, nor ever have been in the Witness Protection Program. And, I do not have a money laundering past.
It turns out that Paypal is aware of this scam, too: