Friday, September 11, 2009

Craigslisting and a Scam?

I have been busy on the local Craigslist lately. I recently purchased a couple of new lenses for my Nikon digital SLR on eBay which made surplus a couple of old lenses. The first was a 90mm true macro Tokina that was manual focus and therefore did not work on the new camera. It sold in about a week for $180 which was pretty good because I only paid $300 USA for it and got several years of use out of it. Next went a couple more surplus lenses, one Nikon 18-70mm that had some dust in it that I was not happy with. It went for $50 after full disclosure. The last was a Tamron 28-70 that I bought many years ago for my old film Nikon. I got $45 for it. These were all pleasant experiences with local buyers.

I then put my Nikon F-801 film camera on Craigslist just to see if there was any interest in the old technology. I got one very strange offer. Someone indicated he was interested and asked me what my very bottom price was. I was asking $50 and lowered it to $45. He answered immediately that he would pay me the asking price of $50 and was adding $100 to it if I would mail the camera to his son who worked in the USA Embassy in West Africa. He wanted me to send him my PayPal information so he could make the payment, told me to wait until the payment cleared and then mail the camera. Alarm bells started going off and I told him his son could probably find a similar used camera for much less than $150 in Africa and asked for some details. He answered that he worked at the British Embassy in Ottawa and that it was a birthday gift for his son. He was a very busy man and had no time to shop for a gift and that money was not an issue - I was welcome to keep whatever was left over after the shipping costs. All his correspondence was in very poor English that looked like it had gone through Google Translator. I told him I suspected a scam and that he had a lot of convincing to do before I would give him any financial information. He never answered.

I still can't figure out what the scam could be if I waited until the payment cleared but I am sure it was a scam.

Today I was cleaning out my workshop and found my old 35mm enlarger from the 60's so it went on Craigslist as a free item as did an old Homelite chain saw that would not start. We shall see how I do giving stuff away for free...


  1. That's definitely a scam.

    I came across a related one when I was shopping for a new computer this spring. Not exactly sure how it works, but I think it's an identify phishing thing.

  2. When someone wants to pay more than you are asking, it is time to walk away.

  3. As far as I understand it, it is about the same as those "cash a $X00,000 cheque for me" scam. The cheque will initially clear, then the bank will discover it to be counterfeit, and remove the sum from your account, and leave you short the money, and the item you shipped, assuming that it had legitimately cleared.