As you may know, I'm selling dress #1. I posted it on Craigslist and I received a quick response from an interested buyer. I immediately corresponded with the person to make payment and shipping arrangements. Just when it seemed my Mori Lee gown would find a new home, I decided not to go through with it. I think now, I may have saved myself from being a potential victim of a Craigslist scam!
Looking back, there were a number of red flags from the very beginning. The "interested buyer" never would leave their name in their messages. I never knew if I was dealing with a man or a woman. They never asked any questions a bride would ask related to the dress. Was the dress taken in? What material is it made of? Is crinoline included? None of those questions were ever asked. They also wanted me to take down the post from Craigslist "immediately."
Then the person said they would send me a certified check and include extra money as payment to the person they've hired to pick up the dress. From what I heard, a certified check is considered more secure than a personal check because it's issued from the bank. So I went agreed to the terms.
After more than week, no check ever came. I emailed the person and said if I did not receive anything in the next few days, I would sell the gown to the next interested buyer (I had a few inquiries at that point). Then the person responded saying she or he would send me money orders of $2000, which is way more than I was selling the gown for! There must be a mistake I told them...you mean $200, right? Nope, they were sending me $2000 (red flag), and I am to cash the orders (red flag) and send to the remaining money to the UK (another red flag) through Western Union to their "mover ." Red flag! Scketchy!!!! That's 4 red flags in one sentence!
Before I responded, I did a little research on the Web (which I should have done before posting on Craigslist) and here's an advisory from Craig himself:
DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION.
So, I emailed the person back and told them I didn't wish to pursue the transaction any further. The person had the nerve to email me twice trying to persuade me otherwise, but no, it's not worth it! I'm not going to risk getting slapped with a $2000 fine!
Moral of the story: Deal locally. If you can exchange money in person, do so. It'll save you the worry and the money!