Working a Craigslist Scammer (and his friends)

If you use Craigslist or other similar bulletin boards to sell goods locally, you need to be acutely aware that there is a whole raft of bottom-feeders out there (usually overseas) who use these vehicles to separate innocent victims from their hard-earned cash. I will occasionally engage these drones, a) to waste their time and money, and b) to see if I can gather any information that might be useful to the authorities.

Executive summary of this post:

  • Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
  • Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
  • More Info:

Never accept payment by check. Never send money by Western Union. Deal locally only!

Note: Today, 12/18/2013, I received a comment on this post from someone named Devil (very appropriate choice). While I’ve spammed the original, I’ll show it here (redacted a bit for decency) to give you an idea of the mentality of these bottom-dwelling scum-eaters.

SHUT THE **** UP OLD WOLF!!!! **** u.. ***hole. Find yourself another job and allow the fools pay the price..#HATER

Hit you where it hurts, didn’t I, Devil? “Allow the fools to pay the price?” That’s exactly why I post things like this. These criminal drones have no ethics, no morals, no sense of human decency. They steal from their victims and hold them in contempt for their gullibility at the same time. While it’s true that most of the people who fall for these Nigerian 419 advance-fee scams are victims of their own greed, there are many who are in financial distress and who are taken in by the cruel and insensitive lies fed to them by the Lads from Lagos. No, Devil, I’ll continue to do all I can to thwart you and your scamming friends. If I can keep even one person from being taken in by your criminal antics, all the effort will have been worth it.

Be careful out there.

Here’s how the scam works. Take note of this if you’re not aware of it, and let anyone know who might be interested. Education is the best weapon we have to make these scams unprofitable.

1) Here’s an ad I had on Craigslist.

It’s real. Notice the part in color, it’s important – there will be a test later.

Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550 (location redacted)

Date: 2012-08-13, 12:55PM MDT
Reply to: your anonymous craigslist address will appear here

This is a piece to refinish, it’s had a long life and needs restorative work, but would be gorgeous with some TLC.

A similar item recently sold on eBay for $750.00.

Principals only. Cash only sale. No checks, money orders, shipping agents, Western Union money transfers, or anything else a Nigerian scammer may be using this week.

2) Invariably, the first few emails I get simply say, “Still available? -Sent from my iPhone”

3) I respond, and let the writer know that the item is still available.

4) Here comes an email from my buyer:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk
From: Lewis Duke <>
To: (Name Redacted)
I really appreciate your response and consider this item sold.Am very
okay with the price and condition as stated in your advert I promise
to give addition $50 if you remove the advert from Craigslist
completely,so I will be rest assured am in hand of this item.
I will pay you as soon as possible with USPS MONEY ORDER OR CERTIFIED
CHECK,so I will be sending the payment to you via FedEx or USPS
courier company and it will be delivered to you.So you need to
provide me the information to facilitate the mailing of the payment as
Full name on the check…………………………………

Physical address to post the check………………………

City, State and Zip Code……………………………….

Home & Cell Phone to contact you…………………………

NOTE:I would forward all your details to my secretary to make the
payment out to you quickly and the payment will be shipped to your
address via FedEx next day air service or via USPS and i will take
care of the shipment of the item.As soon as you notifies the clearance
of my check,I will inform my shipper to come down to your address and
pick my item.
Thanks and I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Regards. Lewis

Notice the guy has totally ignored my warning, posted clearly on the ad, that I only deal locally, in cash, and all the rest. He has offered to send me a check, and wants his “shipper” to pick up the item. They never even read the adverts – somehow they have a scraping system that notifies them of recent posts.

5) I respond thusly:

Dear Mr. Duke,
Name for the check: Wolfington X. Analemma
Address: (Redacted)
Cell Phone: (Redacted)
Just one thing – I won’t be removing the Craigslist ad until the transaction is complete, I have been dealing with Craigslist for a long time, and I have had bad experiences with buyers who did not buy after asking me to take the ad down. I hope you’ll understand.

6) A couple of days go by, and I get this email:

Hello dear seller,
am very sorry for the delayed or inconvenence i might caused
in sending your payment, i lost my cousin on Sunday in a vital
accident, hope my apology is granted,
i have send out the payment to your address,also i will email you the
tracking number asap and the instruction to follow

N:B, please do get back to me you got my message

7) I let him know I will wait for the check

I have received your message, please accept my condolences on the loss of your cousin.
I will watch for the payment.

Of course, he has not lost his cousin or anyone else.

8) Today, I get this in the mail via USPS priority mail:

I loved getting a piece of mail with this name on it.

Inside is a check:

The check looks real. It comes with the stub information and everything, and is obviously printed on a stock check form, but the check is as bogus as a $9.00 bill.

Note that the package was supposedly mailed from San Francisco, but the tracking number indicates that it was actually dropped off in Torrance. Note also that it cost someone $5.15 to mail this.

9) Now I get the following two emails:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk
From: Lewis Duke <>
To: (Name redacted)
Your Tracking Information
Last Scan: August 15, 2012 11:43 am Delivered
Delivery Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Delivery Time: 11:43 AM
Delivery Location: (redacted)
Carrier: US Postal Service

US Postal Service Tracking Number: (Redacted)

From: Lewis Duke <>

To: (Name Redacted)

Thanks for your endurance for the payment of the item sold, the
payment will delivered to you via USPS with tracking number I had
to spent $10 to the payment with USPS….priority overnight so that
you can quickly receive the payment.
Get the check cash deduct the money for your item sold, plus the $50 i
promised for keeping the item hold ,then the rest fund will be send
via money gram to the shipper, who will come down to your house for
the pick up.
Name: William Alvarado
Address: 802 S Virginia Dare Trl
City: Kill Devil Hills
State: NC.
Zip code: 27041
Note: You have to deduct the Money gram charges from the money you
are sending to the shipper and make the money available in a minutes
after you have send it and then get back to me with the
money gram transfer details below as it is appears on the money gram
1….Sender’s Name and Address
3….Total Amount Sent After the Money Gram Charges
What’s your schedule regarding pick up as i have some other
properties to be moved alongside the item.


10) Here’s the rub:
  • The check is bogus
  • Anyone who sends money to one of these scammers will lose all of it, without recourse
  • Cashing a bogus check is grounds for prosecution, and victims have been arrested for attempting to pass fraudulent documents

So, I send the following email back to “Lewis”.

Hello, Lewis.

Yes, I have the check in hand. It’s lovely. I’ve always wanted a souvenir.
So, you read the advert for the item very carefully, and you were satisfied? Perhaps you didn’t read the part at the end where it says, very plainly:

Principals only. Cash only sale. No checks, money orders, shipping agents, Western Union money transfers, or anything else a Nigerian scammer may be using this week.

The fact that you ignored this, combined with your lousy English, was a solid guarantee that you are a criminal, a liar, a thief and a moron. I will keep your worthless check in my “Fraud Prevention” file.
Onioburu, dem no born you reach. Mugu no chop my dollar, chop only black powder from Olumba Olumba Obu, straight to you, not for me. U no fit comot face, just skip along.
I’m glad I wasted your time and money.

No love,
Martins Tanjul

Thus far, no response. Sometimes these scammers get their knickers in a twist and respond with a whole raft full of Nigerian insults, but usually there is no answer to my “game over” message.

Update: Wait, there’s more! Despite my sending Lewis the above email, I get this the next day:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550
From: Lewis Duke <>

To: (redacted)


why did you keep silence since you received the payment

from USPS, you are to deduct your money out the money received
if i did not read from you today, i will report to the authority.


Name: William Alvarado
Address: 802 S Virginia Dare Trl
City: Kill Devil Hills
State: NC.
Zip code: 27041.
am looking forward to read from you the money gram transfer detail

and the best time for the pick up

I again send him the same letter as above, with some additional “up yours” information. After that, no further response.

As a followup, I notified the following companies and agencies so they would be aware that their name was being used for fraudulent purposes:

  • Liquid Realty Partners
  • Hamilton Health Center, Inc.
  • Fulton Bank

I also contacted

  • The Torrance, California, Police Deparment
  • The Kill Devil Hills, NC Police Department

Now, how this waste of human cytoplasm has something mailed in Torrance, CA and gets funds picked up in North Carolina is a mystery to me. All I know is he won’t get a red cent out of this transaction, which has cost him time and money.


On the top of every Craigslist response is the following text:

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
And that’s solid advice. Yet despite this, people continue to fall for scams like this, or others – including apartment rentals, relationship scams, “grandson in trouble,” and lost pets.
Follow the advice. If you use Craigslist, always deal locally, and face to face. Never send money via Western Union to anyone for anything, unless you initiate the transaction and you know your recipient.
Be careful – it’s crazy out there.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

Update 8-20-2012

Absolutely gobsmacked at the number of scammers that have landed on my Craigslist page for this same item. I’m not sure what sort of network they have, but something out there is being passed around. Whee! More fun for me.

So here’s the next one. After the usual “Is this item still for sale?” (that seems to be the standard opener for all of these bottom-feeders),  I get:

From: “Menia Dykes” <>
To: (redacted)
Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk
Hello! thanks for getting back to me let’s do like this, actually now
I’m not in town for now, I came to visit my family so i wont be able
to meet with you to see the item but am ok with the price as seen on
the advert. I don’t mind to give you $50 to withdraw the advert for
you to see how serious i am in the transaction, i will contact my
secretary to issuing a Check out to you and when you received the
check I will make arrangement for pick up. So get back to me with
below details to be on the
check asap.
Postal Code:
Phone Number:
And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
and i will let you know when its mailed out. I need you to be honest
with the sale as I am a God fearing person.Note you don’t need to
worry about shipping the items for me as soon as you have the check
and have the check cash my shipper will come over for pick up

God Bless

Wolfington X. Analemma responds with an address, and get a similar response back:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk
From: Menia Dykes <>
To: (redacted)
Hello I appreciate your quick response sorry for late respond and am
happy you are selling to me. I got your details and have forward it to my
secretary, payment has been issued out to you and sent to you via
USPS POSTAL SERVICE, I will email you with the tracking number for
confirmation as soon as am provided with it. I will also like to let
you know that shipping company funds was included with your payment
due to i might not be around once the payment arrive to you because
am going to ALABAMA for my honeymoon Once the payment arrive you will
go ahead and have the check cash then you deduct the money for your
item with additional $100 for your Gas and running around then you have
the rest of the money send to my shipper via western union and money
gram then i will contact shipper to get ready to come over for pick up
immediately. LET ME KNOW IF I CAN trust you in this transaction.
Note you are not responsible for shipping as soon as you have the check
and have it cashed my shipper will be coming over for pick up Hope to
hear back from you soon.

Thanks for your understanding

Aside from the noise about a honeymoon, it looks very similar. These people must either copy from or share with each other – the scam is almost identical in nature. I respond:

Thank you for the message, I will keep an eye out for the payment. I look forward to completing this transaction.

Next communication from the scammer:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk
From: Menia Dykes <>
To: (redacted)
Hello how are you doing i just want to let you know that the payment
had been issued and sent to you via USPS courier service which is
going to arrive to you latest on on friday 3PM once you receive
it let me know so that all the arrangement for pick up can be getting
done immediately i will soon get back to you with the shipper
information and USPS tracking number so you can be able to check

the status of delivery till then stay blessed.

I respond,

Thank you for this notification.

The Scammer has sent me a check.

Notice that her name has now changed from Menia Dykes to Menia Elliott (with an extra “L”). It is almost guaranteed that she does not work at Sultana High School, but it is interesting to note that this package was indeed dropped off in Hesperia, CA according to the USPS tracking number.

I like the “Pay with Valid ID” bit. “Daniel J. Saxt on P.C” and Suntrust Bank have been notified that their identities are being stolen for this scam. So here are a couple more emails from the scammer, first the instructions on how to send her the “overage”.

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550
From: Menia Ellliott <>
To: (redacted)
Hello how are you doing today i had a confirmed from USPS that the
payment had been delivered to you Here is the tracking number for
you to check the status of the delivery {redacted} As i told
you before that i might not be around when the check arrive due to am
going to ALABAMA for my honeymoon Here is what you need to do. Just
go straight to your bank and cashed the check instantly or you can deposit
it into your bank account it will only take 24hrs for the check to be verify
and the money will be available in your account and as soon as you have
the cash go ahead and deduct your money for the item with additional $50
for your Gas and running around then have the rest of the money send to
mover via western union money transfer so that shipper can be coming
over for pick up immediately. Herae is the shipper information to send the
rest of the money to via western union or money gram transafer.
NAME: Lara Sepanosian
ADDRESS : 4827 Romulus dr
CITY: Glendal
ZIP CODE: 91205
Shipper have ready to come to your location anytime from now She informed me
that the only thing holding her up is the shipping funds. so immediately you
have the money send to shipper i will require the following information on the
western union transfer receipt such as……..
1: Sender’s name and address used in sending the money
2: The MTCN number which is the 10 digits number on the western union receipt
3: Actual amount sent.after western union charging
4: date and time you want shipper to come over for pick up
Note. email me your map quest for shipper to locate to place with the best
time you want the shipper to come over for the pick up today cos i do
still have some other items at another location with shipper need to pick up for
me that is why you need to send all the rest of the money to my shipper for
shipper to proceed on is work immediately **Please note that youwill be paying
whatever the western union charges to send the money from the excess fund
before sending the rest to shipper thanks for your understanding hope to hear
back from you soon.

God bless you

Interestingly enough, there is a Lara Sepanosian in Glendale, CA – but Western Union doesn’t require ID for pickup, as far as I know – all you have to do is provide a name and a control number to pick up funds. Later the same day I get this – she’s really anxious to get her money, isn’t she?

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550
From: Menia Ellliott <>

To: (redacted)

Hello how are you doing what is going on? i was wondering why you keep
silent since the payment had been delivered to you i will like you to
get back to me with the western union details that you use to send the
rest of the money to my shipper for me to contact shipper to get ready
for pick up immediately i will also like you to email me your map
quest for shipper to locate you with the best date and time that you
want shipper to come over for pick up. Hope to hear back from you
Your Tracking Information


Last Scan: August 17, 2012 11:52 am Delivered
Delivery Date: Friday, August 17, 2012
Delivery Time: 11:52 AM
Delivery Location: (redacted)
Carrier: US Postal Service
US Postal Service Tracking Number: (redacted)

Notice the “keep silent” is very similar to the “keep silence” used by Lewis Dukes in the first scam above. An American would say “I’m wondering why I have not heard from you” or something similar. As it happens, it’s the weekend, so I respond:

Menia, the parcel is probably in my mailbox, which is a long way away. I usually pick up my mail in the evening. When I see if the payment is there, I will get back to you.

and later that evening,

OK, I have the check in hand. Tomorrow is Saturday, banks are closed until Monday so I won’t be able to cash the check until then. When the bank has cashed the check I will send you the rest of the information you asked for.

The scammer writes back:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550
From: Menia Ellliott <>

To: (redacted)

Thanks for the updating i will contact shipper to wait till monday
then as soon as you have the check cash on monday go ahead and deduct
$550 for your item then deduct additional $100 for your gas and
running around making $650 Then have the rest of the money send to
shipper via western union and get back to me with the western union
details for me to contact shipper to get ready for pick up immediately

Hope to hear back from you soon

Today is Monday, but I’m not going to respond at all until I get her frantic “Where is my money” email. In a previous post, I tweak a scammer who is obviously in Africa, and get him to go to Western Union five times in an attempt to collect money. I could do that again, but I really don’t have the time. I’m just interested in collecting enough information from these people to see if I can identify a pattern in where they are working.

More as it becomes available. For what it’s worth, I now have several other scammers promising to send me money:

  1. “Tim” or “Ben Carson” (
  2. Natasha William (
  3. Kristal Beauchamp (
  4. And just today, “Chloe Burton” ( has inquired about three of my items for sale. It will be interesting to see how that one turns out.

Update: 8-23-2012

Here’s Menia’s “Where is my money” letter:

Subject: Re: Solid Hardwood Antique Secretary’s Desk – $550
From: Menia Ellliott <>

To: (Redacted)

Hello how are you doing i was wondering why you keep silent since
monday you promise to get back to me i have been awaiting for the
western union details that you use to send the rest of the money to my
shipper for me to contact shipper to get ready for pick up immediately

Hope to hear back from you soon

And here’s what I wrote her back:
Menia,I took the check to my bank and they looked at the name on it:
They are telling me a certified check should never have typographical errors on it, and they think this check might be faked. Can you explain this?
I don’t want to proceed until I know these funds are valid.
Please get back to me at once because I have several other people interested in my item.

I’ll be curious to see if I get a response on this one, or if the scammer will assume he’s been outed and just fade away. As of 8/29, “Menia” has not responded – but it looks like he actually got lucky with someone else, which is a shame.


Another scammer takes the bait. I’ll not report the entire email exchange, but here’s the essential marrow:

This one was posted from Memphis, TN.

The Priority envelope supposedly came from John Sharon at the University of Memphis:

and the Western Union transfer is supposed to go to:

Rachel Fowler
8382 brooks road
Memphis TN 38116
According to Google Maps, Rachel lives in the middle of a container storage lot, but oh well – I guess the economy is not all that great for scammers. Seriously, though – every piece of data these drones use is falsified, but I noticed one very interesting thing about this check:
The signature above is from the check from “Krystal Beauchamp,” (Memphis, TN); the one on the bottom from the check sent me by “Menia Elliott (Glendal,e CA). Identical. Are we dealing with a ring of connected people here? Do they swap information and files among themselves?
Impossible to tell. I only wish that the FBI would consider investigating these drones and getting them off the streets – I’m willing to bet they’re taking a lot of people for a lot of money, and very little of it ends up in a centralized database anywhere.

Update 8/29/2012
Another one bites the dust:
The printing on this one is abominable – I’m not sure who would think this is a valid check. Sent by scammer “Ben Carson,” package mailed from Los Angeles, with a supposed “shipper” at
Samara Olivo
804 Hampton Drive.
Sacramento, CA 94203
This address is just totally bogus.
According to FedEx, I should have another one coming tomorrow from “Natasha William.”

The Old Wolf keeps on speaking.

91 responses to “Working a Craigslist Scammer (and his friends)

  1. hello the same person tried doing this to me too. i wawondering what the police can do about it? or what ca ni do about it?

  2. I just got one from Menia myself. It’s for a $20 item.

    The opening was asking about the condition for me. The next one about wanting the shipping address for the money was sent instantly after I responded. As soon as I saw that, and the content of the message, I immediately decided to ignore it. Only reason I’m even here is I was curious to see if the name and the email would show up on a google search and it did.

  3. I received a check as well. But I am curious if these checks are able to get cashed? These scammers wouldn’t be doing this unless they were getting funds returned to them. Any ideas or helpful information?

    • Oh yes… some of these look real enough to an uncareful eye (they are printed on stock purchased check forms, so they have some security features). And a bank will cash them. And people *do* send money to these scammers. And then in a week or so, the check is returned, and the people have lost their money – and may also be in trouble for trying to pass a bogus check.

      I have now collected eight of these checks – all of them have the names of real businesses and real banks on them, but of course the names have been culled from the internet. I always inform people that their names are being used fraudulently – one bank wrote back to indicate they have over 150 open cases of checks like this… and that’s just one bank. It’s a huge problem. I wish the FBI would get involved and shut these people down.

      • Yeah, the pherrysmith002 email is used for the alias Perry Smith management… tried to do a job scam involving western union and secret shoppers. i didn’t fall for it (tho at the start i thought it was a real job offer) I realiezed what it was after i got my ‘assignment’… to hit a local western union and ‘secret shop’ them. unfortunately it happened to be in one of the local convenience store chains that i had just worked for two years for… and the store he was wanting me to evaluate via sending just under 2k to his other alias bobbi autry happen to be brand new and right next to my house… and I knew it didn’t have a western union lol… I saved all our correspondences and informed local authorities. then wrote him a rather nasty email back stating what a moron he is for not even checking my resume… or he would have realized I was ‘over-qualified’ for his job…:)
        But, yeah, the police cant do much unless you actually lost money by cashing it, but then unfortunately you would also become liable as an accomplice for money laundering or various other charges…

  4. I was a.lmost scammed twice this month but was alert enough to bluff him{?} He also was going on a trip and “would I wait for the check?” I got it and called the SanDiego Credit Union and SURPRISE! the check was bogus..Have not heard from Marti again. That was #1. #two was almost the same but I called his{?} bluff also. Have not heard from either one again. From now on I will only do CASH/ PICKUP

  5. Thank you for taking the time to post your experience – someone with the same name – is asking me to do the same – which I wont do – I learned the hard way – I am not a fool twice – I have some real people interested and they are local – but I will email your link to so him/her can read it

    Chloe Burton
    6:21 PM (23 minutes ago)
    to me
    Okay,sounds good.I should be able to pay you with a certified bank check ,Hope that works for you ?I Will send both your payment alongside with the mover’s payment.He would come over to your place and pick up the stuff as soon as the check clears .Willing to pay $50 extra if you can reserve and take the post of Craigslist so i can be rest assured.All you need do is Deposit the check it clears within 24-48hrs. deduct yours and pay the mover the rest .if it works for you Kindly send me details to make the check payment out Full Name that should be on the check ,a physical address where the check will be delivered and your house or mobile # ASAP..Regards

  6. got very similar one…… of course my check had the worst English – you would have to be a moron to even begin to think the check was legit

  7. After a while, you can recognize the initial scam response to your CL ads. Here’s a reply I routinely send. It’s a bogus threat, coming from J. Edgar Hoover I

    Your response and offer has been identified as meeting the typical
    profile of an internet scam and has been referred to the Internet
    Crime Complaint Center (IC3), an office of the United States Federal
    Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime
    Center (NWC3). Internet offers and activities that are not legitimate
    are contrary to the legal code of the United States and will be
    aggressively investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
    prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. Your Internet
    Protocol (IP) address has been recorded and forwarded to both the
    United States Internet Crime Complaint Center and INTERPOL office for
    unlawful Internet activities.

    You have been warned! Cease and desist immediately or you will
    subject yourself to arrest by FBI agents in the United States and
    stationed at every United States Embassy and consulate.

    J. Edgar Hoover
    Director Decedent

  8. Kristal Beauchamp is still at it. Received a check yesterday for $2,050 for $50 worth of high end literature. Should have done the math when I saw the poor spelling and grammar – really Kristal? You read Shakespeare?But being a sucker for humanity (and she claimed hearing impairment) I followed along with “her” request until I received check and latest email. I was shocked by the amount of secretarial “error” in the check – who does that? as well as the fact that no address was provided to ship the actual books. Then I did a little research and found your blog – THANK YOU!!!

    I will be calling the bank to report this as well as contacting the internet crime center as you recommend.

    • Nice work! Of course, these drones tend to use each others’ scripts and names, so “Kristal Beauchamp” probably doesn’t exist as such. The rampant ignorance makes my head hurt. The names they come up with are painful: Martins Tanjul, Bob Mark, Grace John, Williams Cole, Barrister Phillips Emovon… they have no clue. Glad you caught on to this one early.

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I fell for this scam and sent my info, but when I started to receive similar e-mails, I got suspicious. I googled and found this. Thank you again! When the check arrives, I love your “Thank you for the souvenir” line!

    I also sold an antique, and the e-mail came from David Collins. When I googled him, he is an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow. lol.

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  13. I just wanted to say thank you so VERY much for posting this! I was nearly scammed out of several hundred dollars as well… I now have a nifty bogus check souvenir, just like you! Tomorrow I will begin following the steps you took as far as contacting companies, ic3 and the police stations. Thank you again :))

  14. Thank you for sharing your stories. I am in the middle of this same scam. Got my 2k bogus check yesterday with instructions to send funds via western union. Replied to the guy that I am going to send him his check back as is and got another email about a secretary etc etc. My fear is, will they bother to come after me? Track me down because I didn’t fall for all of it?

    • Rachel: Frame the check as a reminder to yourself and others – don’t bother to send it back. These scoundrels are in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and elsewhere; they run networks of accomplices or other people who have been scammed into “relaying payments”. They send checks from bogus addresses around the country – One I received yesterday came from “Michigan State University, 620 Farm Lane, Room 210, East Lansing, MI” but these addresses are always fictitious.

      I have done this dozens of times just to waste their money and time; the madder they get, the better I like it. They won’t come after you, because they’re not even in our country. Just tell him what you think of him in no uncertain terms, and he’ll move on to greener pastures.

  15. Tried to sell a toilet on Craigslist, got an email in rotten English from someone who claimed to be a hearing impaired busy mother of 2 who would FedEx me a certified check and have a friend pick it up after I had gotten the money. I emailed back that I’d prefer cash, and her friend could pick it up at my business. No answer back. Another foreign scammer “flushed out”.

      • I just got my “souvenir” cashier’s check (Suntrust Bank, TN) from some camel jockey, terrorist funding, stink-ass, who goes by the name of Robert Dennis. I know his email didn’t pass the smell test, and after checking things out, I sent him a neat “gotch’a” email…in addition to other things said, I added that I thanked him for his nice fingerprints that he left on the envelope and phony check, and that I turned it all into the proper authorities who are now fully aware of who his is, and where he is. I told him that the FBI has issued a warrant for his arrest, as well as a warrant for his “shipper”. LOL That should make good ol’ Robert crap himself and get some paranoia working for him. LOL

        Love your warnings and replies…good work Old Wolf.

  16. Pingback: Shipping Scams: One way the Nigerians find their accomplices | Playing in the World Game

  17. Thank you so much for writing this. I got the exact same emails from Lam Kelvin ( and Rose Mccarty ( They gave me all these weird and lengthy explanations about why they cannot come to pick up the product themselves and how I should transfer money back to them via Western Union or Moneygram. When I received a check from them, I went to the bank to cash it and the teller knew it was a fake check right away!! I reported to the local police not because I was hoping they could do something about the scam but because I was worried that these skanks know my address and phone # and so on. But thanks to you, now I know they can’t really do anything bad to me because they don’t live in this country!!! One last concern I have is that this sucker keeps emailing me to follow up and I don’t know how I should react to it. Or should I not react at all from this point? Thank you again!!!

    • I usually send them a “game over” email indicating that I know who they are and what they are, in addition to a few choice insults around their intelligence and their breeding. Sometimes they write back with some Nigerian slurs and obscenities, but usually I never hear back from them again.

      • Can you post what you send to them. It might be “fun” if the scammers all started getting identical emails from their victims!

      • What I send is a bit of Nigerian pidgin:

        “Dem no born you reach, onioburu. U no fit comot face, just skip along.”

        Essentially, it means “Don’t even think about it, you dung-handler. You’re not worthy to show your face in public. Scram.”

  18. Since they ask for name and number, etc, why not give them
    [Info Redacted]

    I would love to see them actually send their bogus checks to their own people

  19. I noted the starting date of Aug 15, 2012 for this blog. It’s now New Year’s Eve 2015 and the scammers don’t appear to have changed a thing. Still illiterate and using the same e-mail text. They must have someone just sitting creating e-mail accounts.

  20. just got my fake check in the mail which lead me here. this one doesnt even have the guys name and i cant read the signature. it says its from fort collins housing authority federal voucher program and is for $1,630. he said the exact same thing to about payment plans and paying movers. he wanted me to remove my item from my page and how hes gonna pay me 70 instead of 45 for holding onto the item for him. should i contact fort collins housing authority and first bank to let them know hes using their names for fraud? i dont understand though how they benefit from scamming if these checks are fake. how would they ever get money for it?

    • You deposit the check, keep your “70,” and send the rest to the “mover” (which is either him or a crony.) The request for payment is almost always via Western Union which is instantaneous and untrackable. Someone in Africa collects your money. In a couple of days, your check bounces and the bank makes sure you cover the entire cost plus a fee. Too many people fall for this scam.

      • i could tell from his first email that he was weird. the way he talked was so emotionless and demanding. i still have the check that im giving a cop friend even tho i know they cant do much about it. i called him out and never got a reply. he was dumb enough to put fort collins housing authority which is a section 8 housing check and can only be used if you are on section 8 and can only use it for buying a home or paying rent. he was so dumb he couldnt even pick a believable source of where the check came from. they dont realize how dumb they sound. telling me to send money to movers in texas when they are getting my item from arizona and then sending my package (check) from devenfort IA but the check i received is from colorado. cracked me up the entire time. i googled mapped the address for the “movers” and its a house in texas i clearly saw. yes he was very passionate about me sending it western union and mentioned it so many times. i let him know the piece of shit he is and how he needs to update his word usage because they have been saying the same shit for years like robots. thank you so much for your response and taking time to read this. i appreciate you site and i wouldnt have been so informed otherwise. you are helping a lot of people out.

  21. Ha, ha, ha!! You love to play with them too?? I thought that i was the only one!!! So far i have received two very lovey peices of work. First one better than the second. If i am able to post the pictures somehow i will do so. Most recent check which was supposed to be a Certified Check, but was not was from dealing with a “Richard Mason” with a semi-local phone number.

    • I have one on the hook RIGHT NOW and am trying to figure out how to get the most entertainment out of him, since it doesn’t seem the police, post office, or bank want to pursue it. he is already in for $22.95 to send me the check!
      The sender’s address is in the middle of an intersection less than a block from the post office they sent it from. I wonder why a postal employee in a podunk town in ND would not KNOW that was not a valid address.

      • Most mail is automatically handled and the return address is never looked at unless the item is undeliverable to the addressee. In that case, it would be automatically returned to sender, and if at that point the return address was found to be bogus, the item would probably be destroyed or sent to the dead letter office, if there is still such a thing. Ah, Bartleby! Ah, Humanity!

  22. Hi! As I am reading this, this all happened to me as well. I was selling a dress for 550 when the scammer sent me a check for 1,650. After reading this, I’m a bit frightened that I gave the scammer my real address since it was my first time using craigslist. Do you think anything will happen now that they have my real address? What should I do?

    • The odds are in your favor. With greatest likelihood, these scammers are in Nigeria or Benin or some other flea infested African country. It is very unlikely that they would be able to use your real address for anything. As soon as they realize you are not going to be suckered, they will most likely forget all about you and move on to another potential victim.

  23. You people got the gut to complain when your devilish forefathers stole Africans from their lands brought them over to your country and used them to develop your nation leaving their fatherland underdeveloped with abject poverty,sufferings and confusion. This is Karma and it’s will keep catching up with you guys

    • Thank you for demonstrating the attitude that two wrongs make a right. Take responsibility for yourself and make a positive difference in the world instead of blaming people who have been dead for 200 years for your troubles. Nobody owes you anything, onioburu.

    • Ex-Squeeeze Me? Our devilish forefathers? Rather presumptive of you, since you don’t know how many were in other lands till fairly recently.

      And the real slave takers and sellers were rival African chiefs of tribes that won the wars with the neighboring tribes and captured the fighters as slaves – what better way to get rid of your enemy’s soldiers than to sell them to be taken far away forever.

      And of course no records about where the slaves came from or went were kept, that’s deliberate so as to not incriminate the guilty. That was what led to the Third Reich’s downfall, they kept very detailed notes on everything.

  24. Pingback: 419 is just a game | Playing in the World Game

  25. I wonder if it’ll be fun to fool around some of these drones like “hey I lost a cousin too and your ‘money’ came in handy so I’m keeping it.” Wonder what kind of threats they’d fire at me. I got a bunch of those drone emails in my google voice. Maybe I’ll try that haha.

  26. Beware of James Brenard ( had applied for a job through Craigslist for front desk help. He emailed me back telling me the position has been filled but offered another position as a warehouse clerk. He then began to talk about pay and says I’ll be paid via cashier checks or money orders and takes my information send it. Once he said anything about a check I knew it was a scam. Who pays someone upfront for a job?? So I baited him and sent him a picture of the check I received. He was very persistent about me depositing it so I lied and told him i did. That’s when he did what I knew he was going to do which is ask me to send money to his “secretary” for her pay. Lol I thought ” why would a complete stranger be sending me over $1,000 and rely on me for other employees to get paid?” So after a while of not hearing from me he sent the “why have you gone silent” message lol. So I told him i cashed the check and I didn’t want to deal with western union so I would send a check (another fake check I’ve received in the past), he tried to convince me to use western union or money gram and when I refused he accepted my offer… Good luck with that check James! Lol

    • Good work. It pays to be careful, and I hope Karma catches up with this drone and all criminals like him. He probably was writing you from some rat-infested internet café in Nigeria or somewhere.

  27. Thank you so much for this!!!I received this same thing and I have a check as well!!!I am going to contact the bank and let theme know that someone’s identity is being used!!!

  28. On 11-26-2016 I was contacted by “lucky fred” in response to a local Craigslist ad asking for donations of used Christmas decorations.

    I had already had a few replies saying I was a cheapskate, or greedy (I wanted these items for a young family in need), so I expected more of the same.

    He asked what I wanted and I explained I was looking for free or used ornaments and an artificial tree. Not anything anyone was going to have to spend money on.
    He asked my address and I gave it, and thought he would be leaving a bag on my porch or something.

    The first time he mentioned money, I was suspicious he was going to try to get me to “do a favor” for him (I know a woman who posted an ad looking for food who got some solicitation/prostitution emails) and replied again that I really only needed used items nobody needed.

    The next day he said he was sending me a check and I was to keep $250 and send the rest via Walmart Transfer to a woman who needs surgery. He made it sound like he was going around doing good deeds, but I recognized the scheme and decided to play along. I had a few ideas about how to handle it, but at the minimum he was going to waste some time and whatever it costs to send me the Priority Mail Express envelope ($22.95).

    He actually asked me “Can I trust you?” I answered “If I can trust you, You can trust me.”

    So far, although i got it yesterday, I have not opened the envelope, as I assume there would be fingerprints on the contents, and that the scammer is assuming the recipient will open and handle the check, give it to bank employees who will do likewise, and destroy the evidence. But he did not tell me what bank it was drawn on, or how much it is for.

    I stalled when he emailed me yesterday, telling him it was at my home and I was at work. But today he is bound to contact me to ask me to follow through. If he contacts me, I have no good explanation for NOT knowing how much the check is for, who it is from, or the bank it was drawn on.

    I called local police, who don’t seen to be able to do anything. I called the Post Office, and left a message. I filed a complaint on the Postal Inspector’s website. I also spoke to my bank to see what they advised. They too said it “happens all the time” and that they can’t do much about it.

    I am 100% willing to do the Walmart to Walmart transfer… for $1. That would draw him (or accomplice) out to pick it up, and they could be detained for police.
    But so far, I do not know what Walmart he wants it sent to, or what name. I assume he put this information into the envelope with the check, but may be planning to email it.


    I’d love to catch him, but I’m happy just to waste more of his time and money.
    There is a return address on the envelope, but there is no structure there. It is less than a block from the post office from which it was mailed which seems really odd. Wouldn’t the Postal worker know there was no such address?


    • Wow, great response. I kept about a dozen of these envelopes and their included bogus checks in my files (handled with gloves, so as not to disturb any fingerprints) for a couple of years, hoping the FBI or someone would be interested in trying to track down the US intermediaries who must be complicit for this scheme to work. Sadly, they are too busy with cases to give this much energy, and I ended up throwing most of them out except for a couple of souvenirs.

      The people who print and send these checks are, in all likelihood, other victims – “mules” who have been suckered into working for them in the guise of “reshipping” (another form of this scam is discussed here: I’ve never seen a writeup on this particular aspect of the fraud, but I have a hard time believing that the overseas criminals who infest Craigslist and other such places would have a network of accomplices in this country. They thrive on criminality and dishonesty, and wouldn’t legitimately pay someone if they could get away with scamming them too.

      I wish I had better advice for you. In order for a local police department to catch someone at a Walmart (and they may actually be a network like Western Union where you can collect money at any location) they would have to allocate valuable resources away from pressing local cases; you’d have to find someone in the organization with a passion for helping to shut this scam down, like yourself, with a probable result that the “catch” would only be another victim and the “big fish” would end up being in Lagos or somewhere.

      Like the incessant robocalls from “Kelly from credit card services,” this is one thing in our society that seems to be impossible to stop at the moment. The best we can do is educate people and hope that at least some are protected.

      Keep up the good work.

  29. I just rec’d a text telling me to contact, phone #877-960-1449 as he needs pet care (usually it’s someone’s “secretary” sending me the text). I’ve gotten these before by text. I am a pet care provider and these scumbags get my info from the website I use to communicate with people looking for pet care providers. I reply to them that I know what they’re doing and if they contact me again I’ll turn them in. I’ll hear from one of them again in a few months but they seem to let their other croanies know who not to contact. Keep getting the word out but, sadly, too many people still fall for this crap.

  30. This has happened to me and I followed through and cashed the check at Shaws and got cash..I’m terrified. Will u be going to jail or something will I be in trouble ? I didn’t know I’m upset I just seen your post

    • Now first of all, I’m not a lawyer so anything I say is just based on common sense. Did this just happen? Can you go back to Shaw’s and explain the situation, give them back the money and retrieve the bogus check? The most important thing is ☞ DON’T SEND ANY MONEY TO THE SCAMMER WITH WESTERN UNION ☜ or by any other way.

      Many people are aware that this kind of thing happens, you shouldn’t be in trouble if it’s clear that you’re a victim of a scammer and not trying to rip anyone off.

  31. I’m so glad I saw this page! You just saved me from the hassle of dealing with a scammer.

    I’m signed up on to get babysitting jobs, but I forgot about it after a while, and have never actually gotten a job through them. So, when I got a text on my phone today, that seemed to be a contact from the website regarding a job, I was interested but also a little suspicious, because of the lack of both professionalism and information in the text (other than the contact email), and the curious wording).

    After logging into and not seeing any messages about a job, I got suspicious, and decided to google the email address from the text. I found this page and several others, that all mentioned various scams tied to the same email.

    In the interest of helping others escape, I am providing the exact text that was sent to me (typed exactly as recv’d, including spacing):

    1 of 2
    MSG:Hello from The Care
    Team,Mr James is in need
    of your care service for
    his 7yrs old
    (Con’t) 2 of 2
    for more details.

    • Thanks for posting the full email. One of my loved ones was stung by a nanny scam of this nature. I’m astonished that Gmail has not cancelled this fraudulent email account! Glad this was useful.

  32. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I stumbled on it yesterday completely by chance … Providence … Divine Intervention … I have been dealing with a “Jessica Rose” for a few weeks regarding a piece of furniture I am trying to sell (ironically, also a desk). Her messages are almost word-for-word identical to the ones you quote here. According to the USPS tracking number, I should have her “check” today, but I guess I should not rush out and spend the money! I would have naively cashed the check and followed her shipping instructions without hesitation if I hadn’t seen your post. THANK YOU again! I doubt I’m the only person you’ve saved. (1-22-2018)

    • It is comments like this that make me feel that any small thing I can do to stop these scammers in their tracks is worth the effort. I’m glad you saw my post and I’m glad you saved yourself some money!

  33. oh I wish I had the time to post my texting screen shots and the whole story, its very entertaining I’m sure! I got’em good!!! and I’m glad they spent so much time and effort to try to get my money for nothing. not to mention the check I had them deliver to my RV parked on the street. oh and the best part, I told them my name was Jim Lahey (from the show trailerpark boys) haha so I have a fake check sitting here for Jim to cash…. priority overnighted via fedex!!! hahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahhahahahahaaaaaa.

  34. Hasn’t anyone wondered how these scammers get almost instant info from Craigslist regarding new listings? I get a scam text within seconds of posting my item on Craigslist. I don’t care how many scammers in how many countries are looking for new listings on Craigslist, its not humanly possible without either inside help (intentionally or un-intentionally from Craigslist) to see a new listing within a minute or two of its posting.

    • Yes, I absolutely wondered how they do it. And they do get “help” from Craigslist, although not in the form of “inside information.

      They just set up a bunch of email alerts, like this:

      And as we have seen, they rarely even bother to read the advertisement. Just last month I took a scammer down the Primrose path and the item I was selling was a car. At one point he said to me, “Okay I will need you to hold this package for me until I can arrange for my shifter to pick it up.” It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of these scammers barely speak English, but operate from scripts that are shared among them.

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