Dealing With A Scammer On Craigslist

My head’s a mess.  Herewith, an anecdote.

Craigslist is that wonderful website that utterly destroys classified advertising revenues for newspapers.  I use it frequently, or when I need to.  A few months ago, I needed to.  I needed to paint someone’s house a color, or something, and be paid for it.  So I checked Craigslist and responded to a poorly worded and spelled ad requesting that I paint the interior of an apartment.  Steven (or Nelson, as he sometimes calls himself) responded with some weird letter about how he was out of the country, how he thought that I would be a good painter, and how he would pay me six hundred dollars to do the whole thing, flat rate.  I responded, all like, “Um, dude, wait.  I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, how ’bout you give me some details before we decide on a price,” yadda, yadda, yadda.  He wrote back, all like, “Here, I tell landlord to send you check, you deduct your cost, you paint me house,” and I was all like, Hmm.

That was it for a couple of months.

Then three days ago, I got this:

You must have forgotten me since all this while but am not, I am Steven, you are Tom that want to help me paint my new house I secured some months back. I am very sorry for getting for getting back to you so late but its not my fault.
I have been on sick bed since 25Th of April and I had a long battle with cancer which almost cost me my life but I thank God that am fine and healthy after the operation took place. Once again am sorry for the delay and all that I might have caused you, I checked my mail yesterday and I found about the painting of the house, am still much interested because i cant get another person for the job because it will take me much time to do that.
The plan still remain the same just tell me if you are ready to receive the check now and cash it as we agreed on and deduct your job expense from it and send the rest to my landlady as well.
I want you to email me as soon as you get this message. Am so sorry and may God bless you.


We never agreed to anything, Steven.  And it would probably only take you twenty minutes to find another out-of-work painter to paint your fucking apartment.  But that’s neither here nor there.  I replied with the following:

Dear Steven,

I’m having a hard time believing that you are a real person, or rather that you are a real person who actually wants his house painted.  I find it more likely that you’re trying to steal from me or scam me.

To which he responded:

I am not who you think Tom, I am diffrent i understand you that you are just being careful but am telling you now that am a legit man that works before i get my moneyand I dont indulge in such acts.
I am giving check and i am not saying you should give me your money its my money and am paying it for my apt i just rented.
I expect you now to apologise for all the insult you passed into me.


And to which I responded:

Go fuck yourself, Steven/Nelson.

Life is interesting.  Craigslist, especially.


3 responses to “Dealing With A Scammer On Craigslist

  1. Dude, you should have at least checked out the apartment. Maybe you just reamed out a perfectly innocent ESLer.

  2. He wanted to send me a cashier’s check. Fuck that shit.

  3. tom i agree. when i first moved to sf some dude tried to pull that shit with a tutoring add. i send you mail order you deduct cost and mail rest to someone else. my final email response was very similar.

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