• Report: #481323
Complaint Review:

walter sam - Craigslist scam

  • Submitted: Mon, August 17, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, August 18, 2009

  • Reported By: Redtopt — Fort Lauderdale Florida USA
walter sam - Craigslist scam
Internet United States of America

walter sam - dr.samwalter6@gmail.com - Craigslist scam Also used walter sam (dr.samwalter1@gmail.com) IF YOU ARE CHECKING THIS PERSON/EMAIL - IS A SCAM Fort Lauderdale, Florida

* : Dr. Walther Sam

* : Bingo!

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Received email from "walter sam (dr.samwalter6@gmail.com)" asking if an item listed on Craigslist was still for sale.  Made me suspicious as there were a high number of spelling and grammar errors for a supposed Doctor, so I googled.  There are actually two doctors by the name of Samuel Walters, both out of my area, so responded I'd be happy to discuss the item if they were in the area as I would only accept cash.

Couple hours later I get an email from "walter sam (dr.samwalter1@gmail.com)"  (NOTE- there is ONE digit difference between the two email addresses).  I've had two other similar experiences with scams like this, as soon as I noticed the difference I knew it was another cashiers check scam.

He has supposedly been looking for my item for a long time, was thrilled to find it, but is away "on his honeymoon" in Hawaii.  Would gladly pay me an extra $50, which his secretary would send overnight if I will take the item off Craigslist and reply with my personal information, my full name, my street address (because UPS won't deliver to a PO Box).  Once he confirms the cashiers check is cashed, he will arrange for a mover to pickup my piece of furniture.

I've been selling several items recently, this is the third time I've gotten a variety of this same scam - IF YOU ARE CHECKING THIS PERSON/EMAIL THIS IS A SCAM.

What happens is you deposit the check, your item is picked up.  Then within a couple of days the buyer either changes their mind/wasn't what they thought, returns the item and requests a cashiers check back (less any fees-of course).  Or the item you sold, probably a much less than retail/resale value is actually worth some money, and they disapear.

Meanwhile the cashiers check is FAKE or BAD or FORGED, but it can take the banks up to a couple weeks to realize it, so you wind up losing your sold item and the fees for the returned check, or lose the money by giving the refund then the money comes back out of your account (plus any fees/penalties) when the check turns out to be bad.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/17/2009 04:07 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/walter-sam-craigslist-scam/internet/walter-sam-drsamwalter6gmailcom-craigslist-scam-also-used-walter-sam-drsamwalter-481323. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Dr. Walther Sam

AUTHOR: lcrosina - (USA)

After posting an item for sale on Craigslist Bay Area (a sofabed), I received the following email from Dr. Walter Sam:

I'm Dr.Walter, I hail within the state, I came across your advert and am highly interested in Purchasing the item which you offer for sale. Due to the fact that its been a long time have been searching for it, Please Kindly get back to me as soon as possible with the necessary answers to the question in mind, Are you the first owner? The present condition? Your final asking price?
I await your urgent response so that we can proceed further..

It looked super suspicious so I did a google search and was directed straight to the RipoffReport!

I will contact Craigslist immediately and alert them to the scam.

Thanks a million!
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AUTHOR: ReactorCore - (Canada)

Yep, this IS a scam.

It's a variation on a scam that's been used for quite some time on Craigslist, but usually on higher ticket items, such as a car. To detail it a little more in-depth for people reading this report, here's how it works:

You place an ad for, let's say, your car on Craigslist. You'll soon be contacted by someone who will be (as mentioned above) "very excited" about finding the vehicle in question. The prospective buyer has some manner of excuse as to why they can't be present in person to make the final purchase, but offers to send a couple of guys with a tow truck with a cashier's check in hand to act as agents on his behalf (the "purchasers" always seem to be invariably male). These "checks" can be very convincing looking, but really may be no more than a type of deposit slip you can pick up in a bank line up. If you get taken, these guys load your vehicle and drive away... If you go the extra mile and actually deposit that "check" and spend the money, you'll be left holding the bag for the entire amount including any fees, not to mention the possibility of being the target of a fraud investigation... AND you're out your car too.

So, how do you sniff out a scam like this on Craigslist?

1) As the OP noted, most of the approaches made by the scammer via email are rife with spelling and grammar errors.

2) As also noted; always an excuse the "buyer" can't make it to the final purchase, and will send "agents" to act on their behalf.

3) Refuses to conduct a "cash only" transaction.

4) Is willing to buy a vehicle sight unseen... Off the Internet. Off Craigslist. 'Nuff said.

5) Here's a big one: Remember how you listed the vehicle? Maybe you posted the title in ALL CAPS? Perhaps you made a slight spelling error? When that scammer comes knocking in that e-mail, you're going to see them "express interest" in the vehicle with the exact same text, because they've just done a copy/paste job of the title of the ad (or had an automated script do it for them), because you can be sure that they're trying to fleece more people than just you, all at the same time, to pull the scam off in volume. So if you posted; "MUST SELL Mint condition 1976 CADDY" and you get a reply that starts out; "Hello! I am very interested in your MUST SELL Mint condition 1976 CADDY", you can be damned near sure it's a scam.

So, how do you avoid the scam?

1) ALWAYS insist on cash only wherever possible! If not possible, arrange to meet at a bona fide financial institution where you can be present at the counter for the method of payment to be drawn. This not only provides you with maximum protection, but allows a bank to catch a scammer with you as a witness.

2) Never agree to sell to anyone but the intended purchaser. No "friends", "family" or "agents" in the name of them.

3) Do NOT sell to people outside your area of residence. It's harder to catch and prosecute once these sleazes get over state lines or provincial borders.

4) Be automatically suspicious of someone who will buy a high end item without having seen or tested it first. Would you??

5) The scammer is working under a specific time frame to pull his scam and get outta Dodge. YOU have all the time in the world (no matter how bad you think you need the money). Be leery of anyone who is employing "hurry up" tactics on you.

If you think you are being targeted by someone pulling this scam, be sure to do your part and report the activity to your local law enforcement agency. Many police departments have an Internet Fraud Division. Send the entire e-mail, including the full headers to their contact address. Remember, other people may not be so quick on the uptake and be falling for this scam. You can help save them from their own oversights.
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