By Eric on June 1, 2012 22

We Were Almost Scammed!

UPDATE (8/13/12): Paul Haydock, CEO of myParcelDelivery, has contacted us and assured us that his company is a legitimate and well-known parcel delivery site in the UK. I do not doubt him, but we are choosing to keep this post live because a Google search was the only reason we knew our situation was a scam.

Here’s an embarrassing story that we hope you can learn from…a story we hate to write because it still makes us sick to our stomachs.

Craigslist scam My parcel delivery

About a month ago we started looking for a new-to-us MacBook. The one we have is about five years old, and, while it’s served us well, it’s going downhill fast.

Hating to pay full price for a MacBook, we searched Craigslist, hoping to score a deal on slightly used machine. There were lots available, but many seemed overpriced and older than we would have liked.

There was one that stuck out to us, however. It was $600 and nearly brand new. It also had a few upgrades. The lady claimed to have recently gotten it for her birthday, but didn’t need it.

Kelsey emailed her for more details, which all seemed to check out, except for one: She had recently moved to Canada from Des Moines.

We thought that was strange, because the beauty of Craigslist is to sell items locally and not pay for shipping. Also, most buyers get to try out the product before buying.

Still, we pursued the deal because it was, well, just that: a great deal. She (under the name of “Emily Preston”) was very convincing and said that, if we wanted to do the deal, she had found a third-party service called My Parcel Delivery that appeared to have been created for Internet transactions such as this. She even offered to pay for the shipping.

“Emily” would deliver the MacBook to My Parcel Delivery, who would first verify that it was what she said it was and was, in fact, working. The company would then collect our money, deliver the computer to us, and then only after we were satisfied, deliver the funds to the seller.

A guarantee to get our money back if we changed our minds? Let’s do it.

“Emily” sent us a legit-looking PDF that appeared to be from My Parcel Delivery. It was branded and had our information filled in. The computer that My Parcel Delivery had received from “Emily” met the specs she had outlined for us beforehand.

Everything seemed to check out.

All we had to do was send the money via Western Union to our My Parcel Delivery agent, “Jacob Marshall.”

Thank God that Kelsey has good intuition.

She had already taken the cash out of the bank and went to the grocery store to fill out the Western Union paperwork when she read a disclaimer about not ever sending money via Western Union to someone you don’t know.

She could have easily ignored this (again, the My Parcel Delivery service seemed to be a legit business–and it may actually be, I don’t know), but she stopped everything and walked away.

A quick Google search for “My Parcel Delivery scams” made our hearts sink to our stomachs:

my parcel delivery scam. Craigslist

It turns out “Emily” has posted listings in numerous locations and once she receives the funds, email communication stops and the items are never sent.

We obviously didn’t even want to write this blog post. We feel so stupid for almost having gone through with this! But, we decided that this needs to be shared, to make everyone aware of this new scam.

In hindsight, we should have sniffed out this scam right away, but we were so elated that we were going to be getting such a good deal that we kept pursuing.

Here are the lessons we learned:

  • Before you use any service recommended by someone you don’t know, Google it first to see if there are scams surrounding it.
  • Western Union is to be used to send money to friends and family that you know personally.
  • When dealing with Craigslist, pay special attention to their warnings, such as only dealing locally with folks you can meet in person and never wiring funds via Western Union or any other wire service. The list goes on:
    Craigslist scams. Disclaimer
  • Ask questions, as many as possible, to sniff out fraud. We asked a lot of questions, but could have done better. We were too worried about offending the seller, as many of our questions seemed to be met with annoyance. Kelsey even searched for “Emily Preston” on Facebook, thinking that if she was, in fact, from Des Moines, that we might have some mutual friends.
  • If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Simply avoid these listings. The computer we found listed for $600 would have cost $2,400 retail.

So, there is our embarrassing story. We share it to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Scammers suck! 

We ended up buying a refurbished MacBook Pro from the Apple online store. We were able to save a few hundred dollars and they have a one-year limited warranty that comes with it–a happy medium from the would-be-scam and buying brand new.

Tell your friends! Have you ever come close to being, or actually been, scammed on the Internet?

 

Eric

Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I’m glad to hear you did not go through with the deal.
    My husband and I were recently looking for houses. We also used Craigslist hoping to find a local rental. I sent many emails about houses that looked wonderful. Several times we were emailed by people saying they were out of the country and wanted us to send them money for the keys. They said we could not look at the inside of the house because they had the keys with them and they were thousands of miles away. Some even said they were on a missionary trip to another country! I think this scam is a little more obvious since the house was local. Who would leave a house complelty empty without leaving keys with someone local? When i researched more I found out they were taking pictures from real estate websites and other rental listings on craigslist. I stopped even considering houses unless there was a phone number.

    It’s sad that a few people have to almost ruin a great concept like Craigslist.

    • My husband and I have also been looking for rentals on craigslist and were shocked by how many of these scams are out there! I started to fall for the first one I saw, but began to get very suspicious by the erratic emails he was sending. I asked to see pictures of the interior and next email he said he was sending me the keys! I spoke with one (real) landlord and she said she also gets scammers on her end asking to rent the house.

      I agree with Erin, it’s sad when people use Craigslist like this!

  2. We were almost scammed on Craigslist, too. We were looking to buy a car, and found the model we were looking for with all our specifications for a great price. Upon further discovery, the car was across the country and the price for the car included delivery fee! There was no way that the price could have covered both, and we also looked into it and found out it was a scam. Good job listening to your intuition, guys!

  3. Thank you for sharing this! It sure does warn people.
    Although it has never happened to me in that way I can still imagine how you feel. Until I moved out from home I was a pretty mindless girl who thought everything was always going to be fine and if not my parents would make it ok (I’m also quite embarrassed to type this). One day I parked my car absentminded in front of a factory entrance. I was in a huge hurry to get to my dentist appointment that I just parked my car at the first free spot. The gate of the factory was huge and basically nobody could have ever over looked it. But I did! When I returned to my car 45 minutes later I was confronted with a furious truck driver who claimed to have waited for my return for over an hour. Clearly that wasn’t true but I was so shocked that I just nodded and apologized. He made me give him my address and told me that he would send me the bill if he had to pay any fees for being late. I gave him my address but I did not write down his name, the name of the company nor the information on his license plate. When I returned home in tears and still in shock I had to explain the whole story to my parents. Thank god they are really understanding. But I still got a lecture from my dad that I truly deserved. Long story short nothing ever happened and I’ve never heard of that truck driver again. But I learned my lesson. Being careful and aware of our surroundings can safe us a lot of stress and regret.
    I’m sorry about the long comment but I just wanted to show you that you are not the only ones who sometimes feel stupid and embarrassed about what they did or in your case what could have happened.

  4. Weird – I feel like we almost just did the same thing. I was trying to sell my husband’s bell kit from high school on Craigslist and someone contacted me saying he’d have his “shipper” come pick it up and send us the money, I replied saying I could wait until he was in town from his business trip. Like you stated, wait until you can meet locally! Thanks for this post!

  5. I was scammed by a Craigslist posting!! When Verizon first launched the iPhone I was pretty far from an upgrade but I really wanted an iPhone. I searched Craigslist hoping to find one there. I had heard so many great stories from friends of mine who had purchased numerous items off of the site (funny I never heard any bad ones, probably because it’s embarrassing). Anyway, I found a posting for a new iPhone for the Verizon network for a reasonable price so I contacted the seller. All seemed legit, the phone worked and I bought it. Long story short I figured out the phone had been stolen because the seller didn’t reset the phone. I found the true owner’s phone number under the contacts and called her to let her know what happened. As sad as I was to have gotten scammed, I am happy I was able to gr the rightful owner her property back. I stick to furniture purchases off of craigslist now ;)

  6. It’s (almost) happened to everyone. I was looking to buy a car (this one on Yahoo Autos) and a very similar situation occurred. The craziest part is how well documented these crooks are. The person I was emailing even lied about having a new baby!! I even got a legit VIN number that checked out with the make, model, engine, interior…everything. Luckily I researched the 3rd party money holder and found it to be a scam too. Now it’s so easy to spot these (until they change their strategy again). I wanted so badly to write my contact back and tell them how much of a looser they are and to get a real job and be useful to society, but figured if they’re going to do much effort to steal from people my email probably isn’t going to change that. Good luck with your MacBook search!

  7. This almost happened to me with an iBook maybe 6 years ago. We actually wired the money before we realized it, but were luckily able to cancel the wire within a few hours! Lesson Learned!
    work-it-blog.blogspot.com

  8. That almost happened to me on Ebay! Long story short – my Dad wanted to get my Mom a fur coat for a fun Christmas gift a few years ago. We found one on Ebay. I paid for it using my Dad’s credit card. A few days later, I got an email from the “seller” directing us to send the money through Western Union as they were on vacation in Spain even though the coat was shipping from Florida. Had I not already paid for the coat, I wouldn’t have hesitated as much, but it just didn’t seem right. I contacted Ebay who said that it might be a scam, got my money refunded and thought that was the end of the coat. A few days later the fur arrived in the mail. I contacted the actual seller through Ebay and he had no idea this had happened and hadn’t received anything funky on his end. I still don’t know what actually happened, but I do know that we ended up with a free fur coat which a crazy story for my Mom on Christmas morning!

  9. My husband bought a GPS watch for running off of Craigslist from a guy who lived about an hour away from us. They talked on the phone and decided the best option was COD. This way if the item was not as described or didn’t work, he could return to sender without having to pay for it, and it’s all done at the post office. Luckily it all worked out. The seller got their money and we got a bargain on the watch.

  10. this happened to me as well! I was selling an iPhone and they guy said he was buying it from his grandson who was deployed. I even got a receipt from “PayPal” with his money being sent to me and I didn’t realize until I sent it via USPS that I NEVER got a a confirmation from PayPal. THANKFULLY I was able to stop the shipment and get my phone back. Now I never do ANYTHING via CL unless I am meeting the people face to face and they are paying in cash that I see come out of an ATM!

  11. I was almost scammed with renting a house. We asked all of the right questions but of course there was an issue with meeting to look at the house. We finally decided to drive by the address and we realized something was off when we saw the Realtor lock on the door. My mom checked out the situation (she’s an accountant for a firm that specializes in real estate) and it was definitely a scam. The true owners of the house didn’t even know about the CL listing! Great job listening to your intuition and thank you for being brave enough to post this story!

  12. I’m so proud of Kelsey for reading the disclaimer at the store and deciding to go with her gut and NOT send the money!!!!! That’s scary. Thank you for sharing this!!

  13. Hi, I’m the CEO of myparceldelivery.com – a legitimate and well known parcel delivery site in the UK.
    Recently, some people have been running a scam via Gumtree and craigslist – creating websites such as:
    http://www.vanc-myparceldelivery.net/en_language.internet.transactions/index.html
    http:// us-myparceldelivery.net
    (and a number of other extensions)
    With the intention of defrauding customers by pretending to sell iPads and requiring payment via Western Union.
    Our company – myParcelDelivery.com – is in NO WAY related to these scam websites with various prefixes.
    MyParcelDelivery.com is a UK based courier comparison site and we do not sell ANY physical products or work with agents selling or arranging shipments of such products through our courier services. As a further note, we do NOT accept any form of payment through Western Union to a specific person. All payments on our website are through Paypal or recognized Credit / Debit cards.
    As soon as we have become aware of any such sites adverting through Craiglist, Gumtree or other such sites, we have immediately contacted the company hosting the fraudulent site and provided evidence to prove that people are illegally exploiting our branding and content and asked them to remove the offending website. To date, we have closed over 10 of these domains.

    We want to protect consumers from these scammers who are defrauding people and also tarnishing our good name by creating these fake sites. If anyone comes across any further sites of this nature, please contact us via http://www.myparceldelivery.com/contactus.aspx and we will put all our efforts into shutting down these fraudulent sites.

    Regards,

    Paul Haydock
    CEO, myParcelDelivery.com

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks so much for clearing this up. We in no way meant to put down your company or what you do. It’s the scammers that are taking advantage of others and wreaking havoc on people’s lives. I appreciate you clarifying.

  14. Wow. I was just dealing with a lady calling herself Roxanne Keyser about a iMac computer. Sound like the same lady who tried to scam you. She is selling this iMac for $600 and said she just moved to Canada also. She said she researched and found CollectMyParcel to due the transaction. She said she would pay for shipping. This sounds the same as your deal. Here is the e-mails from her.

    Notice the pre-fix on the website like Paul was talking about.

    Hi,

    I won’t come back home so soon.
    I was checking for a way to make the exchange from here to you in the US and I came across this option, which is a very good way to make this exchange.
    It’s provide by a company called CollectMyParcel and it will help us with this transaction.
    They seem designed specifically for internet transactions, they handle both the payment and delivery part of this transaction. They seem pretty nice and trustworthy and they provide a service that we can use for our exchange.
    The link below is from CollectMyParcel website and it explains their procedure. Please check the link and the procedure and let me know if you agree to the terms.

    http://www.candepots-collectmyparcel.com/en_language.internet.transactions/third.party.html

    With this procedure CollectMyParcel will deliver the iMac to you, receive your payment and I will receive the payment for the iMac only after you instruct them to do so.
    I will pay the shipping.
    Let me know if we can proceed.

    Thanks.

    On 10/8/2012 11:36 AM, Frank wrote:
    Roxanne I am interested in your iMac but if your in Canada I’m not sure how I am going to be able to take a look at the iMac. It is what I am looking for and the price sounds good. You coming back anytime soon?

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Oct 7, 2012, at 11:09 PM, “Roxanne” wrote:

    Hi, I am getting back to you regarding the 21.5-inch iMac from Craigslist

    My name is Roxanne and I am now in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    The iMac is still available and I hope you are still interested.
    I am selling the iMac for $600 US. I have attached some pics with it to this email.
    It’s 2.80 GHZ i7, has 16 GB of RAM, 512 MB of Video Memory, 2 TB of storage and another 256 GB SSD so it can boot faster.
    The iMac was bought brand new from Apple a couple of months ago.
    About the iMac I can say it’s in perfect shape, as I used it only for a few weeks. Included in the $600 price is everything that came with the iMac and also the warranty papers.
    I tried to be as thorough as I could with the presentation so you can have all the info if you decide to go ahead and buy it. So what do you think? Do you want my imac?

  15. This post may have saved me $500. In this case, they were selling World Series tickets in STL. The tickets were well below market value on sites like stubhub (the first red flag). The craigslist posting was by a guy in STL, but after I emailed the hotmail account for him, and woman responded and said she was from a travel agency in British Columbia, and they had purchased the tickets to thank a customer, but the deal fell through and they were looking to unload them. Her email was @office-travel4fun.com so I checked out that site and it seemed legit. Easy Parcel (where we were going to make the transaction) also looked legit. We called “travel4fun” and asked for this woman and they not only do they not employ anyone by that name, but they dont even have employees in British Columbia, CA.

    High demand sports events are a great target for this because there is a sense of urgency to lock down the tickets and get them shipped in time!

    • Thanks for the comment John, and I’m glad you avoided the scam. They can be really sneaky and seemingly have all their ducks in a row. It’s a terrible shame that people would go those lengths to scam someone.

      • I guess if you want to go to high profile/demand events you’re better to just suck it up and pay market rates on stubhub or other secure sites. After reading more things online I’m even concerned about scalping physical tickets at the game.

    • I think I just came across the same people trying to sell Super Bowl tickets. Pretty much the exact same line about buying them as a bonus for deal with a US customer but that deal fell through. She claims to work in Winnipeg for yourstartravel and they have a website, but it is pretty basic and doesn’t have a contact phone number. Instead of myparceldelivery she wants to use Parcel4You which has the same basic rules of operation and payment (and a similarly minimal google presence). There was nothing in the Wayback Machine for either the travel site or the Parcel4You site before today and a brief whois check shows that both were registered in the past few weeks (I think). As usual, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  16. They are now using Easy Parcel online! I was trying to get tickets to a game. We were all for it until because on Easy Parcels page it lists paypal as a payment option but the invoice was only allowing western union. I have tried to send concerns to this company but my messages won’t load. Needless to say I am backing out and not following through. Thanks for the warning! Our seller’s name was Megan Cross so please be aware of her as well. We also couldn’t find her “travel agency” when we googled her email and her address was a mall that did have a travel agency in it under a different name and her name was not listed. The address for the “easy parcel” location was a tech store like best buy. My emails sound just like the other ones that are posted. Please everyone be careful out there!

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