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Those wacky foreign scammers...

If there's anything I have that's worth selling, I usually give it a shot on good ol' craigslist first. It usually works out well since the buyer is local and I can meet them for a straight up cash exchange. It's not entirely roses though as prospective sellers also have to wade through their fare share of scavengers and outright scammers.

Scavengers I mostly ignore. You know, and they know, that their offer is ridiculously low but hey, maybe the seller's a dumbass and they'll get lucky. It happens. Hagglers, on the other hand, are fine. I always expect some amount of haggling so I usually bump up my initial price appropriately. I still wind up getting an acceptable amount and the haggler goes away feeling like he accomplished something. Win/win.

The emails that I find most amusing come from the foreign scammers. I'm not exactly sure why these guys still try to do what they do on craigslist. If you're a seller, and you fall for their line, you should just return your computer and stay off the web. For starters, craigslist has this convenient page that warns potential bonehead sellers what to look out for. And the emails that I receive are just chock full of signs that the person on the other end isn't who he/she wants you to believe they are. For instance:

"Hello, How are you today? I saw your item on display on craigslist and I'm interested in buying from you. I'll appreciate if you can give me a good description of the item and probably send to me the picture so I could see its condition. Please get back to me ASAP.Thank you."

Now, here are some tips for you scammers out there:

  1. Skip the pleasantries. No one I've ever received an email from who was a legitimate buyer types crap like "How are you today?"

  2. RTFA (Read The F*****' Ad). Send you a description and picture? Hello? I described the item and posted not just one, but FOUR pictures with it. Obviously you just worked up a bot that trolls through the classified ad emails and shoots crap out to everyone selling anything remotely of value.

  3. Stop being so damn polite. A "thank you" at the end if you're requesting information is perfectly understandable. Pleasantries in the beginning of the email (see point #1) along with unnecessarily "nice" ways of requesting things just don't wash. Especially here in NYC.

  4. Work on your grammar. The combination of polite writing and poor grammar is just weird.

  5. Offering to pay MORE than what the seller is asking for will not make them like you. It just raises warning bells. People who frequent craigslist classifieds are trolling for a cheap deal. They rarely offer you your asking price much less more.

A couple more examples of what I'm talking about:

"What is the best price you offering for this item? will be expecting yourprompt response at your earliest convenient time."

"Hello i want to know if you still have this product for sale and what problem is having before i proceed with the payment, if no problem i will offer you some extra money to it."

I want to know, who, WHO falls for this type of stuff? Obviously somebody is otherwise we wouldn't be seeing this kind of crap constantly. It'd be a waste of the scammers time. Argh!
Anyway, even after all this I'll still hit craigslist as my number 1 selling destination. Just like with almost everything else out there on the web, the signal to noise ratio is annoyingly lopsided but the ones that do get through make it worthwhile.


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Comments (1)

I think #4 is totally awesome! I never really thought about it - but in all foreign scams it's always exactly that a combination of bad grammer and excessive politeness!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 12, 2007 2:10 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Aural Battle.

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