Friends, I was almost that person you hear about on the news and think, “how could someone be so stupid to get caught up in a Craigslist scam??” Hi, nice to meet you. I was (and maybe still am a little bit?) a victim of a Craigslist scam.
It started so innocent. I was just looking for a part time job so I could make some extra money. We just bought a house and turns out I have champagne taste on a beer budget when it comes to house decorating. I found an ad on Craigslist (my first mistake, I know) posted by a man named Marcus who was looking for part-time nanny/babysitting help. We exchanged several emails back and forth, chatted on the phone, and I was pretty convinced this was going to be a great gig.
Marcus said he currently lived in Zurich, Switzerland with his wife and two sons. He worked for BMW, and they were moving him to North Carolina permanently. His wife was a fashion designer and was currently touring Europe doing fashion shows. They were very busy so having some extra help with the kids and house would be wonderful. He told me the address they would be moving to on July 25th, so naturally I looked it up on Zillow to see what kind of home these seemingly well-off folks would be moving into.
Well-off turned out to be a drastic understatement. Their new home was nearly $2 million, 7,000 square feet, and was designed by a man who has done renovations on parts of the White House.
Dollar signs appeared in my eyes and I saw flashes of what my life would be like with this family. Touring Greece and Sweden, wearing high-fashion garments and gold-rimmed glasses, driving a brand new, limited edition BMW every year. I would lounge by the pool with two perfectly-behaved Swedish boys while our butler would feed us Swedish Fish and Lingonberry sodas.
Everything felt like a dream come true, I was finally getting the break I deserved. I was giddy, right up until I got an email from Marcus that shot up the red flags. And fast.
“Courtney, I will make out a payment (Cashiers check) of $2900 to you via FedEx. We expect you to hire some house cleaners to have the house cleaned up, you might also need to purchase some few items like groceries before we arrive, however, the rest of the funds goes to the real estate agent. I have made it clear to the agent that you will make payment for his balance on my behalf so he will send you the keys to the house so you can get it ready before our arrival. I will need your response asap. Note: I need you to send me your full names and correct mailing address.”
Isaac and I re-read the email several times and I offered up, “maybe it’s a cultural difference? Maybe he doesn’t know how weird this all sounds?” But deep down I knew something was wrong. Isaac emailed the listing agent of the home he was supposedly buying to see if it was under contract, and if it happened to be with an international family.
While waiting for a response from the realtor, I responded to Marcus’ strangely urgent email with 10 questions that were very specific about what exactly he wanted me to do for his family. I also asked him to send me a family photo. He promptly responded with answers to about half of my questions, and no photo. As if we needed more proof, the realtor responded to Isaac and confirmed that the house was not under contract, it was still very much an active listing.
This dirt bag was somehow trying to scam me with either a cashier’s check (a popular scam right now) or some type of identity theft scheme. I instantly felt sick to my stomach because Marcus did have a pretty decent amount of my personal information, but hopefully not enough to do any real damage. Just in case, I put a fraud alert out to all three credit bureaus. All day at work I stewed over this, and while my better judgement told me to ignore him and not poke a sleeping bear, I just couldn’t help myself. People like “Marcus” really piss me off, and I needed to mess with him a little bit if for no other reason than to help pull my ego out of the gutter.
I decided I had to troll the troll. He had asked me again to please send him my address, so I responded with the following:
I’m great, thanks! So I do feel the need to disclose something about myself. I have some cannibal tendencies, and while they are mostly under control, sometimes I do have urges. I’ve been working with a specialist who has gotten me to a really great place, but she has told me that cannibalism isn’t something that just goes away. It stays with you for life. Will that be a problem? But don’t worry, I have a 5-step program I go through in my head every time I’m having an urge. It goes as follows:
1. People are not food. PEOPLE ARE NOT FOOD.
2. Skin looks tasty, skin looks fine, but take a bite and you’ll do time
3. Good job Courtney, you’re doing great. Smell and touch, but do not taste
4. DISTRACT yourself. Write a poem, go for a walk, drink some water. Make sure the water is either VERY hot or VERY cold. The water CANNOT be 98 degrees as it will be too close to the temperature of blood, and that may trigger more cravings
5. Good job! You have successfully gotten through another cannibal craving. Go buy yourself a treat, superstar!
Other than that everything is pretty squeaky clean about me. The only other minor issue is that I do have leprosy…weird, right? I thought that was a thing of the Bible times, but apparently you can still get it! I’m on medication though, so it shouldn’t spread to your sweet children. If it does, we could just wrap your big new home in plastic and we could all live together as one big bubble family!!!!! I’ve always wanted to live in a bubble. We could scratch each other’s lesions and drain puss from each other’s wounds. Oh my gosh, I’m getting all tingly and itchy even thinking about it!
One time I went on this African safari and it was really neat, I got to see some rhinos and lions up close. Have you ever thought about how weird rhinos are? They are basically REAL LIFE DINOSAURS!!!!! They even have horns and stuff. Weird. I wonder what would hurt more, getting attacked by one thousand hamster-sized rhinos or one rhino-sized hamster? See, Marcus? THESE are the types of questions and insight I can bring to your family. Your sweet boys, Joshua and John, will be full of useful knowledge when I’m through with them. If we can make it past breakfast. HAHA! Just kidding. Cannibal humor. See? I also am really funny and easy to get along with.
Anyway, here is my mailing address. Can’t wait to setup your gorgeous new home for you. It sure is a doozie of a house, huh? Almost 7,000 square feet and $2 million. WHEW! You must be doing really well for yourself. I can’t tell you how excited I am to become a part of your family. We are a match made in heaven!!!! See you soon TTYL XOXOXOXOXO OMG LOL ROTFL totes.
(insert local police department address here)
Your move, ya filthy animal.
Here’s hoping my response freaked him out enough so that he’ll leave me alone and not try to steal my identity. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want any part of me at this point.
23 thoughts on “That Time I Was (Almost) Craigslist Scammed”
Jesus that was beautiful. I hope you’ve gotten past the cannibal *issue.* If not, I am sure that with patience and a small donation to my therapeutic response center you will achieve recovery–or at least you’ll be able to come to grips with it all.
As a self diagnosed real estate whore can you tell me if that gorgeous Tudor is under contract? Almost makes me want to quit my job in NJ and relocate to wherever it is situated.
You are hilarious. I am glad I stumbled across your posts. Best of luck.
Thank you, Mike! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Therapeutic response center? Sounds amazing! Should I email you my credit card number or just post it here??
The beautiful tudor is still not under contract, it is just incredible. If you buy it you have to promise to at least let me come sit in the backyard for a bit, or clean the kitchen or something. I had so many wonderful scenarios already planned out in my head that I’d love to go through with!! 😉
Thanks for the comment!
Please, no need to post it here. We already have it. And thanks for the *donation.*
I am SO terrified of identity theft. But I LOVE how you dealt with your unease. That is quite the email, I hope he leaves you alone now 🙂
Thank you!! I emailed him once more just to harass him again and he has left me alone! It became kind of addicting harassing him though and my husband had to intervene and tell me to stop, haha!
BAhahhaaaaa!! Holy crap that is the most clever response to a scam I have ever seen!
I think you need to share Marcus’ email address with the world so we, too, can yell him how interested we are in baby sitting (and that feces fetish I’m working on overcoming).
baaaahahah that would be amazing. I’m sure by this point he has ditched the email address, but it would be fun to keep harassing him. Isaac strictly prohibits me from doing it though. I think he is worried about how far I’ll take it. I did send him another email after this one, LOL.
Courtney, I ran into this kind of scam when I was looking on Craigslist for a rental house in Raleigh. Similar MO…incredibly low/too-good-to-be-true rent for a house in a desirable neighborhood, owners (typically a minister and his wife) out of the country for an indefinite/extended length of time & in need of someone responsible to rent their house. No agent, so they’ll have to mail you the key (after you send them the first month’s rent and deposit, of course!). There were so many of these scam rental listings that I got to the point I could recognize them in the first sentence. I notified the listing agents for a couple of them and learned that the scammers typically target houses that are on the market but empty. Loved your response, by the way. Too funny. 🙂
Oh my gosh, that sounds so similar! It is really too bad, Craigslist used to be so much better than it is now. I feel like nowadays 80% of the ads are scams/advertisements. I’m glad you didn’t get scammed by anybody! Live and learn 🙂
Hahaha! That’s a brilliant response, I love it.
Who ARE these people?! I get these emails all the freakin’ time… and I do imagine that someone is sending these people money or personal information or else they wouldn’t keep on doing it! Urgh. How do they sleep at night.
Thank you! I actually watched a pretty fascinating documentary (Vice channel on Youtube maybe?) about people who do this for a living. In Ghana, it is HUGE. People spend all day every day scamming Americans. Yikes. It is amazing that people go through the whole process, especially knowing these scams exist. I felt stupid enough taking it as far as I did, lol. Glad it all worked out tho!
Courtney I am laughing so hard right now.
Such a good story. I’ll have to email you a convo of MY recent almost craigslist scam as well. I’ll just need your SSN & credit card info. And yes we need the ccv code on the back as well. 🙂
Glad you liked it Bri! Yes I would LOVE to hear your story. I’ll send you my ssn and credit card info ASAP hahah
Oh Courtney, this is so very funny!!! Now I am hoping it really is a scam — if not, you’ll have the police at your door! 🙂 Love you, Dad
No kidding– so far all is good 😀
Sooooo did he respond? LOL!!
Reblogged this on can you say momma and commented:
Warning: You will laugh until you cry.
I would love to see this person’s reactions to that email! Maybe getting your furniture off Craigslist is not such a good idea after all ;). That is how I found my last two roommates lol, no cannibalism though, thank God. Thanks for the laugh!
Right?! I did have the thought, what if this is a big misunderstading and they really are a nice Swiss family looking for a nanny?!!!? hahaha. That makes me laugh too, though. Glad you liked it! 🙂
Hahaha……no matter how old my kids are…..I still have to worry about them 😩😩😩
Great post Courtney! You are hysterical and scarry!
Yep– I promise you will never stop worrying about me. Sorry. But my bad decisions are getting more calculated, so that’s good?