This should be interesting

I’m pretty sure I got a scammer to send a cashier’s check to the Federal Trade Commission. I despise Craigslist scammers (all scammers, really) ever since I moved to Vancouver. My dad had driven up with me, all the way from Tucson with Heidi in his lap, and we were staying in a hotel downtown while I tried to find a place to live.

Dad and Heidi

1600 miles in a Miata with a 35-pound dog in his lap. My dad is a hero.

To say the Vancouver housing market is tight is an understatement. I was desperate to find a place, as I could see my meager savings evaporating every extra day we had to stay in that hotel. I fell for a scam from the other (seller) side of Craigslist: the old “I can’t show you the property, but I’ll send you the keys as soon as I get first/last/security.” By “fell for” I just mean that I wasted a trip to the property, costing me valuable time but no actual money. I’m sure lots of people get screwed much worse; if I had really fallen for it, I would have had no money left to rent a legit apartment.

Three universities and five moves later, I’m moving again within Atlanta. The new place comes with a stackable washer and dryer, so I’ve listed my very nice Samsung front-loading washer on Craigslist. The first response was from a classic cashier’s check scammer. Their opening move, the tried and true “let’s move this conversation off of Craigslist”:

Scammer 1

Sure thing, Tina; obviously there’s nothing sketchy about wanting to use your personal email for a Craigslist purchase:

Scammer 2

Poor Tina won’t be able to come in person, though:


Wait, what happened to Tina? None of my business, I guess; if she’s going by Nora now, that’s cool. Tina/Nora is sticking to the playbook:

  • Can’t come in person ✓
  • Pay by cashier’s check ✓
  • ‘Mover agent’ will pick up ✓


What? If Tina can change her name, so can I. That’s the address and phone number of the FTC, by the way. I don’t know if Muad’Dib actually works there; I hope so.


Well, that’s a complication. Obviously I won’t see any text messages sent to the FTC.


I don’t really have a land line; I think the last time I did was in Florida. Tina/Nora’s cool with it, though:


And she did:


I was going to blur the tracking number, but fuck it. In fact, here’s the link if you don’t want to wait for my updates. Here’s what it shows right now:

Scammer FedEx

That is a totally legit FedEx tracking number for a package that is presumably en route to the FTC! I will keep you posted.


  1. Owlmirror says

    I note that Nora signed off as “Victoria” in her first response, so that’s actually another name change.

    Why does the top line of the tracking report say “San Diego, CA” when the pickup was in Union, NJ?

    • Matthew Herron says

      I didn’t even notice that! No wonder Tina/Nora/Victoria is so forgiving of my name changes.

  2. Owlmirror says

    [Trying again by breaking up the comment]
    Answering my own question: Apparently, any random person (like me) can request a delivery confirmation, and that report says that the shipper is located in California despite the NJ pickup.
    Thinking about it some more, I realized that I naïvely thought that the scammer would use their own money to ship something. No, they probably grabbed some random credit card with a SD, CA billing address, either from a stolen card or from an identity theft.

  3. Owlmirror says

    For some reason, the blog software does not seem to like the fact that I posted something from the FTC’s own website saying that some frauds are using their phone number — the one posted above under the name of Paul Atreides — to spoof their caller ID. Calls from the FTC will not show that number, it says.

    [What the hell, really.]

  4. Owlmirror says

    It occurs to me that it might be worthwhile to forward the tracking number to the FTC. Fedex records can presumably be subpoenaed, and while on the one hand fake information was probably used everywhere, if the person was dumb enough to not Google an 877 number (toll-free in the US), they might have been sloppy enough to leave some incriminating data with Fedex.

  5. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    ROFLMAO … I posted a house share on Craigslist and for some reason most of the respondents were grad students off doing field research, coming to the local uni for their PhD and their dad would pay the move in costs by cashier’s check.

    Oddly, none of them was going for a degree in anything offered locally, and they were all quiet Christian women who liked karaoke.


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