Nigerian Scammers on Craigslist Still Common

Today I was in the post office mailing out some No-IP t-shirts from our past giveaway, when a college age girl came running in frantically. She rushed to the next available clerk and started explaining her issue. She had sent a package to Nigeria yesterday, and she had just found out it was a complete scam. The postal clerk said there was nothing that could be done.

The girls face dropped as she quietly thanked the clerk and walked slowly out of the post office surely ready to burst into tears at any moment…

I was filling out a customs form in the corner when this scenario was playing out and I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard the girls plea. I thought in my head, “do people really still get scammed by craiglist scammers?”

Apparently, Yes.

What can you do to safeguard yourself against scammers?

1. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, these scams start by the scammer replying to an item for sale or a job posting on Craigslist or another online posting site. The scammers often say that they are overseas or want the item fast and will send payment immediately. This is scam. The payment would have been a fake check for more than the price of the item. Upon deposit into your account, the scammer will request for you to send the extra money back to them via Western Union. After a few days, your bank will call you to let you know that the check was fake and the funds/fees are now your problem.

2. Be mindful of the sender of the email. If the address seems funny, or if the email is sent to more than just you, it is probably a scam.

3. Scammers often use stories that will pull at your heartstrings. “I lost my wife and three children and am now in Nigeria on missionary work feeding the poor, so please send the money here.” NO!

4. If a Nigerian Prince emails you and says he needs your help depositing money, please stop reading. You will not be handsomely rewarded, you will be scammed and feel really dumb. The same goes for someone that says they need your assistance claiming an unclaimed lottery ticket.

Microsoft recently did a study “Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?” It is very interesting. Obviously, I am not the target audience of these emails and the scammers probably know that. 9 out of 10 people probably aren’t the audience, but that one person, (probably a grandparent, parent, or really gullible college student that refuses to listen to their much wiser parents) is their audience and it seems like they are still winning the battle.

Please don’t end up poor, scammed and feeling really dumb. Let me reiterate, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do you know anyone that has been a victim of an online scam? Leave your thoughts and comments below!



  1. Abhishek

    Well, its not just on craiglist. My room-mate had put up an add for selling his laptop on He was contacted from a potential buyer, who stated that he wanted to make the payment via paypal. My room-mate sent a paypal request. After a while, he got a email, saying, that payment has been received on Paypal, and as soon as he ships, and confirms shipment, money would be available in his account. The shipping address was from Nigeria. Upon carefully looking into the email, it was a spoof email from paypal.

    He just saved himself. Coz after shipping, nothing could have been done.

  2. I recently had a response from gentleman saying that he was interested in my sailboat which I had posted up for sale on Craigslist. He quickly made a decision to by my boat at more than my asking price then proceeded to tell me that he was out at sea and had made arrangements for someone else pick up the boat for him. This guy who called himself Michael Robert then asked me if I would accept an immediate papal payment… but here’s the twist. He would pay extra and I was to Western Union the extra money to his “agent” picking up the boat to

    Name: Peter Adegbenro
    Address: 756 Harlow Road
    City: Springfield
    State: Oregon
    ZipCode: 97477
    Country: USA

    After insisting that he sent me the money (which he didn’t) He began pressuring me to send the money to his agent. When I ignored him he then started accusing me of fraud and threatening to report me.

  3. D. Smith

    After passing through the public education system (government indoctrination into political correctness) , kids and eventually adults alike are so pre-programmed with political correctness that their common sense is deactivated and they instead follow the dogma they have been brainwashed to follow whenever this type of situation arises.
    No-one can claim ignorance to the globally-infamous Nigerian scammers. Even on Ebay many of the sellers refuse to do business with Nigeria because of the illicit nature of their national past-time and they even declare that they refuse bids from Nigeria in their terms section of their auction.
    But if political correctness were instead directed at benefiting the devil himself, rest assured that there would be brainwashed people who would be doing wind-sprints to the post office to send their baubles and care-packages to his eminence , the king of demons, Satan himself at a postal address of 666 demoniac st.,HELL.
    I’ve seen it all my life and it never changes.
    I doubt it ever will.

  4. jeff j purcell

    Most frequent requests I get are via Skype. An unexpected IM from an appealing young lady with suitable image. After a while they reveal they are ‘in Cote d’ivoire/Nigeria.. and struggling with school fees’. They usually can’t speak English properly and tell inconsistent stories. If a victim, report for abuse on Skype.

  5. Daniel

    This happened to me yesterday. I received emails that I thought were from PayPal showing I had received the funds and were awaiting the shipping number.

    I posted to Nigeria without a thought of scammers however when I got home and phoned PayPal, there was no record of these payments and they confirmed my emails were spoof.

    I drove straight back to the post office and luckily managed to get it back. I lost the postage fees though and eBay are about to take the funds for selling. It’s very expensive being scammed.

  6. Rick

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten e-mails that a civil engineer with the same last name as mine (not a common name) died in an airplane crash in Nigeria, along with his wife and (varying number of) kids, leaving millions of dollars behind. The individual contacting me ia a poor, lowly official who can’t find any heirs for the deceased so he’s willing to claim I’m the heir if I’ll split the money with him. All I have to do is give him my bank account information so he can deposit the money directly. LOL!

    There’s one born every minute.

  7. I always turn it around on them,
    I ask for a good-faith payment or deposit first before I send anything, or for those who say I need to send money, I repeat in summary the bad luck story, and ask if they will send me their banking details that they ask me for, so I can get money from them first to prove the account is real … I get very few spam emails from that account again… as they think I am another scammer just like them. Sometimes they actually send me an address (usually fake, not really them).
    Actually messaged years ago with one person who said (admitted) they did this for a living and did very well and really did live in Nigeria, had excellent English language skills, not the usual poor grammar, they learned it in the U.S.A.

  8. Richard Moll

    When You say spoof email from Paypal, how do you know that it is spoof.

  9. Nerocon

    LOL the guy above me believes in magic..

  10. Mack

    I used Craigslist a few years ago and I got an email from someone saying they will buy my item. Their name was different from what their email said and they weren’t saying the item name. They sent 2 checks with Overnight UPS, package name + both check names + email name were ALL different, and all the addresses were different. We brought the checks to the police (around $2000 written on them and I was trying to get like $5) and the checks were fake. That was a while back though, I know a scam when I see it

  11. Steve J

    The reason they say they are from Nigeria is a cost saving for them. Anyone who understands the Nigerian scams is filtered this way and allows them to focus their energy on the gullible. If they didn’t say they were from Nigeria, their efforts to make money would increase as time would be wasted. Makes sense when you think about it. So you are correct, that if you know the Nigerian scams and delete the email, you were not the target.

  12. Bazz

    There was a documentary on the BBC about the Nigerian scammers.
    They found them in an office in Nigeria.
    The room had about 15 Nigerians at computers all around the room emailing away at their victims.

    It appears to be big business there.

  13. CSO

    Microsoft did not do the study “Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?”. It was written by an ill informed academic type who when presented with the facts, refused to recant his “study”.

    It should be noted that Nigerian Advanced Fee Fraud and W. African Organized Crime Syndicate operations are not limited to operating from Nigeria. Cells and organizations operate from Canada, US, The Netherlands, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Ukraine, UAE, Philippines, Malaysia, S. Africa, Cote d’Ivory, Benin, Ghana, Australia, S. Korea and along with other countries, even Japan. While the majority of “nuisance” 419 scam emails emanate from Nigeria, these scammers are often less educated and less sophisticated. On the other hand, those in other countries are often better educated, have better language skills, are more sophisticated in the frauds they attempt and avoid any mention of Nigeria due to the country’s negative reputation. Therefore, it is important to investigate those in countries that cooperate with law enforcement in other countries.

    Chief Security Officer, Law Enforcement Support Division – Fraud Aid, Inc. 501(c)(3) a not for profit corporation

  14. zach

    I got one of these scammers when selling a guitar on CL. He wrote:

    Thanks for the prompt response, I am quite satisfied with the condition .I am also interested and I will like to make an instant purchase, so kindly end the advert on Craigslist, I do not mind adding an extra $25 for you to close the advert on craigslist so that I can be rest assured that I am the prospective buyer, I would have loved to come take a look but I am a very busy man I am very sure you understand. I will also want you to know that I will be paying via Certified Check, and it will be sent to you via courier service due to the distance. You don’t need to bother about the shipment, as that has been taken care of…… So I will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check.

    My response? Sure, I’m agreeable.

    I gave him the name & address of the agent in charge of the local FBI office. I received more more email from him stating “I have ordered my secretary to issue your payment immediately”

    Always wondered what happened, if anything…

  15. Ed

    Seriously, are people that stupid? It never ceases to amaze me.

  16. Bill

    Craigslist Housing is filled with Scammers. I had advertised a house for rent on CL. Within 1 week, Scammers had replicated my ad at 1/3rd of the going rate with different contact info. Shocking thing was when I replied to the ad, the imposter said he was the owner and signed it with the owner’s full name (me!). I did not have that info in my ad, so he must have searched county records for property owner. Scam was to send 1st month’s rent to hold the property. I have since created my full ad as a gif or jpg to minimize adulteration.

  17. frenchman

    hey guess what , nigeria ain’t the only country popular for scam cause it’s for english speaking persons only….but we also have this kind of scam for french speaking person in cote d’ivoire and a few old naive french peoples have been robbed too…sad to figured that’s still in africa

  18. Tonto

    Every time I post something on Craig’s List I put in “Will not ship. Must pick-up in person.” I will get an email saying they want to buy the item and they want me to ship it and will pay more than the selling price. His agent will send me the money and the instructions of where to ship the item.

    I e-mail back and ask “What part of ‘Will not ship. Must pick-up in person.’ do you not understand?” I never hear back after that.

    If someone is going to give you more money than your asking price, there is a scam in the making.

    The new scam is where they pretend to be Microsoft and call you saying you are having trouble with your computer. They then try to rip you off for $300 or more to “fix it”.

  19. Amno

    Can these nigerian, somalian all connected to terrorist funding? If you support terrorism by funding them or other support please don’t try to argue. I just want to hear what others have heard about it. Every year there are confidential reports that these money and recently ransom money from kidnapping in Madagascar are partly going to terrorist group funding.

    Be careful when you send your money it can be used to buy a gun to kill your kids.

  20. Amno

    Please add this note.

    Dont get overwhelemed by flashy emails or sms that say you won something but you need to pay around $300 to get you prize. Never use the email or phone given to contact the sender instead try google to find about the sender. E.g if you receive a mail from NOKia you have won a lottery forward that mail to your local nokia representative and ask them to do the necessary if its true. But i ve seen some person they are not ready to accept it can be a scam and they sent the money. Once money gone these person suffer silently they dont have the courage to say they were greedy and got stolen. Dont get greedy instead work hard.

  21. Yeah, Craigslist is a minefield. A year ago looking for an apartment to rent, we saw a condo for rent in a building we were interested in. Asking price was lower than expected by a few hundred. We sent email to the lister, who got back to us immediately and explained he was out of the country, his work contract was extended and we could move in right away and even use his furniture he left there… all for the low price of an immediate bank transfer etc etc. We sent one more email asking him if he knew the property manager (who we’d already met). Never heard from him again…

  22. Allah Ackbarf

    Nigerian and other scammers target the “low-lying fruit” of society. Not only dumb people, but people depressed; down on their luck. People who are in any way vulnerable.

    It’s the reverse of “don’t go shopping when you are hungry” to say “don’t sell when you are desperate for the money”, but both apply.

    People who need to sell things just to eat are likely targets, it’s nothing personal. Scammers don’t discriminate, they take anyone’s cash.

    Don’t give it to them!

  23. Jim

    It’s not just Nigerians – this stuff happens right here in the good ol’ US of A. I bought a DVR off eBay a few years ago. The seller tells me, “Don’t send the payment by PayPal, because someone hacked my account and I can’t access it right now. I’ll ship you the DVR and when you get it, you can send me a money order.”

    Sure enough, the DVR is sent – overnight! $50 just to ship it. But the person selling it was a woman located on the east coast, and the invoice in the package said it was billed to some guy in Kansas City. So this lady had stolen the credit info and using it to order stuff from Walmart. Of course I didn’t send the money order, and I had a lot of fun telling her that I sent the money when I didn’t.

    But you know what? The sad part is that I took the DVR to my Brick & Mortar local Walmart and told them the story, hoping to return it and avoid the police showing up on my doorstep. The woman at the return department told me to keep it, because she didn’t deal with stuff like that. “Walmart will contact you to return it.” And my local police said, “not our jurisdiction.” The Post Office said, “since you’re not Mr. 5#@@!$ from Kansas City, you can’t file a fraud claim.” The police in the little town on the east coast said, “no crime has been committed.” Mastercard said, “We can only act if you’re Mr. %@$@$@.” And the guy in Kansas City? I tried to track him down. I found out he had sold his house and moved, so I contacted the realtor handling the deal, asking that they give him a call to let him know his card was being used this way. They very reluctantly agreed, and I’m convinced they never did call him.

    So I still have the DVR. Never got a call or mail from Walmart. This is why your credit card rates are so high – nobody ever wants to deal with it.

  24. Dave

    Had this Michael Robert trying to buy my car also, though this time he went by the name ‘Jessica Thomas’:

    Hi,i will like to inform you that payment has been made and the money has been deducted from my account, you will need to get the pickup fee of $700USD which i included with your payment via paypal forward to shipping company headquarter via western union money transfer at the post office or any western that the total amount of $5,800.00USD will be credited into your account as soon as you done with the transfer.. pls make sure that is done as soon as possibly you can to avoid delay..of your payment.

    Here is the Pick agent info:

    Transport Company: “Representative”

    Name: Peter Adegbenro
    Address: 756 Harlow Road
    City: Springfield
    State: Oregon
    Zipcode: 97477
    Country: USA.

    Pls note, transfer can be done at the nearest post office or any western union office,i also add sum of $100 for transfer charges.

    Looking forward to read from you.

  25. Ellis

    Had the same thing happening to me, from a guy who called himself John Williams. He wanted to buy my car (I live on small island in the Caribbean) and ship it to the US. From the start on I thought it was fake but I was curious, I checked his IP which was in the US. I asked him for contact details and he gave me those of his agent ‘Peter Adegbenro’ and in no time I got this email from a fake paypal address. There were a few give aways, there’s was no footer on the email with the copyright statements by paypal. And if you see the full header you could see the return address was not a paypal address. Just in case I notified gmail and paypal and yahoo about all the addresses used in this little setup. And sent Mr. Williams a friendly email that the car was sold. Here is more info on how to see from which IP an email is sent. and this site has some nice tips on how to get back a scammers

  26. I ger a lot of the scammer letters. Occasionally will try have a
    little fun at their expense. In the header line I call them nasty names. Every filthy , obscene reference to their heritage I lay on them. Once in a while I will get a reply. Every reply shows they are almost illiterate. Cannot spell or
    construct a simple sentence extemporaneously.
    Show me they are just magpies for the most part and if you fall for their trash you probably just a little too greedy.

  27. Denise Marrone

    The scammers have been wasting my time, too. I saved fake checks & money orders hoping they can be used as evidence. Someone told me there’s another big investigation about the craigslist scammers. Any new info is appreciated! I’d love to help prosecute these slimeballs.

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