ASAP Department: Bad Check

Thank you, “Mark Smith,” for today’s lesson in internet economics.

Last week, at 3:51 a.m., you replied to my Craigslist posting about a bike. You asked if my “item” was still available for sale. I said, “Yes, call me about the bike.” Instead of calling, you emailed me again—again about the item. First from, then from Strange email addresses, my roommate said. Yes, I agreed, looking forward to the sale. Within 48-hours, you, “Mark,” were “ready to purchase it asap.” You liked using the phrase “asap.” You used it ten times in our brief correspondence. You told me not to “bother yourself with the pick-up.” You spoke of “certified checks” and “funds clearing in banks” and a mysterious man named “Grover Reese” who’d be shipping the item for you because you lived somewhere else. Where? “Omaha,” you said, after I asked three times. You wouldn’t give me your phone number or your physical address or “Grover’s” phone number or address. But you gave me plenty of assurances. I appreciated them, “Mark,” but they were heaped on too heavily. You began to sound desperate. You wanted me to take down the ad. So I did. You wanted me to give you my contact info. So I did that, too. Then a check arrived via USPS Express this morning, as you said it would. But it was for the sum of $3,300, and the bike was just $850.

The check felt light in my hands, despite the hefty sum. Why so much money on such thin paper, I asked. By that time you’d already emailed me three times to see if I’d gotten it, and taken it to the bank, and readied the moneygram for Grover, your “shipper,” who of course needed it asap. You seemed breathless as you wrote, at 7:45 this morning:

You’ve got the check? Get the check cashed at teller so they will clear it same day so as soon as the check clears, get the item ready to be shipped out and as arranged ealier that you are to deduct your money and send the via Money Gram Money Transfer only and get back to me asap with the Money Gram details such as Money Gram Reference Number, Total amount Sent and sender`s name and address.You will get a money gram at any walmart store or you check online on and look for nearest location close to you.It will cost you $100 to send the money which you re to deduct from the money you re sending. Is that okay with you??

I began to ask you more questions, “Mark.” You replied, “Your questions are too much for me.” Your italic letters sounded tired. I called ACP Mid-Atlantic, the company based in Herndon, Virginia, that was on the check you express-mailed to me. The receptionist said, “Oh yes, Mark Smith. He doesn’t work here, he just writes fake checks with our name on them. We don’t know who he is. Our fraud department is on it.”

I wrote you back, to one of your weird email addresses, and said, “I will find you, ‘Mark,’ and make you pay.” An empty threat, I knew, as I wrote it, but I needed to say something to you, “Mark.” In the meantime, the bike is back up for sale. Cash only. Trying to sell it asap.


  1. Charles Bethea
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Another scam email just arrived:
    I have gone through your ad once again on craigslist and i am interested in purchasing the above mentioned. I am paying Via Cashier Check and it will get to you within 2-3days. If you are comfortable with my method of payment, please get back to me with your Full Name, Full Contact Address not P.O Box, cause FedEx/UPS don’t deliver to P.O Box addresses and your Cell Phone Number. I will be offering you $40 extra to hold the item in my favour because i am sure that there will be other interested people. As per Pick Up, I will make arrangement with my shipping company to come for the pick-up after payment has been received and cash by you. I want you to take the posting off craigslist today and consider it sold to me. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a Blessed Day!”

  2. Rob
    Posted September 30, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you. “Mark” emailed me this morning and last night.

  3. Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Found you by googling “Grover Reese”, b/c the same thing just happened to me. Selling a car on craigslist for $800, we did our little negotiation, I got a check that looks exactly like yours for $2500. And then “mary smith” threatened my life when I got back to her about that.

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting. Now the OK Attorney General is on them too, as is my local PD.

  4. June Eng
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    This happened to me once, although for a much smaller amount, and I didn’t have the guts to write any threats back. Hallelujah craigslist.

  5. Taisha Perez
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I typed in the email I got from a craigslist ad to see if it would come up as a real person’s “facebook” or anything and came across this article. I put up a drum for sale, and he emailed me from that email: “” I realized it was fake when he called it “the item” in the 2nd email, rather than “the drum.” Most real people (serious buyers) would have questions,but he didn’t. Thanks for posting this anyway 🙂

  6. admin
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Glad to be of some small help to some of y’all. Fight the bastards!

  7. fenderbirds
    Posted October 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    nice article, keep the posts coming

  8. badmash
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

  9. admin
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Bad checks / scams aren’t my favorite thing to write about, but I”ll probably return to the subject at some point. Thanks for reading!

  10. jake white
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Does this look familiar. I just got this.

    > I am ready to purchase it asap.I anticipate that I’ll have a Certified
    > Check issued out to you from my bank.I’m in no rush with you till
    > fund’s are cleared in your bank. You do not have to bother yourself
    > about the pick up. I’ll instruct a Shipping Co Agent to come for pick
    > up at your door,when you must have gotten your cash at hand. Kindly
    > e-mail me back with your physical address as it is stated below
    > Name:
    > Address (NOT
    > City:
    > State:
    > Zip-code:
    > Phone Number:
    > I will be sending the payment via USPS Express Postal Service .
    > You can delete the advert asap!
    > Mark

  11. admin
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    yep. tell him to go to hell.

  12. Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

  13. admin
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Hmmm….do Firefox and/or Mozilla work?

  14. Posted December 25, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    It’s not that I want to duplicate your internet site, but I really like the design. Could you tell me which theme are you using? Or was it tailor made?

  15. Damon
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Great writing, been looking for that.

    previjalna miza

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