Craigslist Job Scams

Craigslist is being swamped with tons of fake employment ads offering unusually high pay. Most of these ads are posted by someone with a gmail, gmx, live, in or even yahoo addresses, but now they get smarter by just using craigslist auto response addresses. The jobs sound very generic, usually Receptionist, Administrative Assistants. By responding you will notice you get almost an instant response where they prompt you to fill out an application – DO NOT DO THIS – IT IS BOGUS. I am unsure of what the scam is and how they profit, I can only imagine they fish for information, hence you email gets clogged with spam. Legit job ads follow general pay scales and tend to elaborate about the company, with company website info, phone number, etc.

This post was submitted by Nikkole.

  1. nicole, 28 October, 2010

    some company called bit by bit is supposed to be sending me a check and i cash it and i send some money to someone else and keep 300 of it some and the person told me that he wants to meet me in person. i have a gut feeling this is a scam so i emailed them n told them i don’t feel comfortable doing this until i meet them in person and if the check comes im going to send it back to them.. do you think i did the right thing?

  2. JulieM, 17 November, 2010

    I recieved this after applying for a bookkeeping position, I replied to their “offer” and if you look at the bottom, this was my reply…..STAY AWAY FROM THIS!!!!!

    This is very unusual and extremely unprofessional, from the spelling to grammar, etc. Not interested.

    > Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010 07:20:00 +0100
    > Subject: Re: bookkeeping position
    > From: [email protected]
    > To:
    > Hello Applicant,
    > I really appreciated for your best reply and i can see you are ready
    > to work with us plz my yahoo messenger ID is .smithcules . i work as
    > a contractor by Outsourcing payment for various companies. Now i am
    > looking to expand my service and therefore want to hire a book-keeper
    > on contract who have an idea on how to operate and work with the
    > VersaCheck gold 2012 accounting software or if you are quick learner
    > you can easily learn it. Please read carefully. Just come and chat
    > live with me on Yahoo Instant Messenger as that is faster, and easier
    > for quick communication, My Id on Yahoo IM is ([email protected]).
    > For job processing and detail: add { smithcules } at yahoo dot com to
    > your yahoo IM or give me your messenger IM I will like you to add me
    > for further discussion as soon as possible..Your Utmost Response will
    > be highly appreciated,Please note that even if you are not
    > interested,do so by sending a simple not interested message so i can
    > move on by searching for someone else.
    > Im awaiting your best reply,
    > Regards,
    > Smith. A . Cole
    > Senior Accounting CPS Specialist

    > Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2010 14:16:04 +0100
    > Subject: Re: bookkeeping position
    > From: [email protected]
    > To: >
    > fuck your mama

  3. GinaG, 02 December, 2010

    OKAY so I put an ad up on Craigslist advertising myself as a Personal Assistant and I got a Phone Call and I am pretty sure this is a SCAM too because each email I get is asking me for my PayPal Account. I can’t see how the guy will benefit from Paying me for working for him through PayPal but I have just spent 4 Hrs on different sites and I it seems my concerns might be legitimate because
    1) he could be using a stolen credit card
    2) once I give him my login, he is one step closer to accessing my account info which is linked to credit cards, bank info etc
    3) IF he did pay me for hours worked i honesttly would NOT be stupid enough to send him money under NO circumstances because I have got screwed over enough times in this country to have learned about the different scams BUT I read PayPal can reverse the transactions….sooooo, still not really sure how that can affect me BUT still Red Flags…so here it goes..

    FROM: [email protected]
    Hi Georgie,

    I really appreciate the fact that you work with a company already,i did not want to hire just anybody, i need not,explain,direct,correct etc all the the time. I need someone who already knows the basic just a little briefing to top it up.You should be efficient,self-motivated,organised,posses good communication skill,be IT literate and above all be socially presentable.(be elegant)
    As my PA you duties are not limited to reading, monitoring and responding to the principal’s email, – answering calls and handling queries, – preparing correspondence on the principal’s behalf, – commissioning work on the principal’s behalf, – liaising with staff, clients, etc., – managing the principal’s electronic diary, – booking meetings, – organizing travel and preparing complex travel itineraries, – writing minutes, – taking dictation, – planning, organizing and managing events, – managing a budget, – attending events/meetings as the principal’s representative, – conducting research on the internet, – writing reports, executive summaries and newsletters, – preparing presentations, – preparing papers for meetings, – managing and reviewing filing and office systems, – updating websites, – typing documents, – sourcing and ordering stationery and office equipment, – managing projects, – managing a driver.

    The terms below apply
    Bonus (or Commission) Potential: Effective upon satisfactory completion of the first 5 days of employment, and based upon the goals and objectives agreed to on my arrival you may be eligible for a bonus. The bonus plan should such a plan exist, will be based on the formula determined by both parties.

    Non-Complete Agreement: My standard -non-complete agreement must be signed prior to start.Balance of salary will be forfeited

    Personal Emergency Time Off: Vacation is accrued at 2 hours per pay period, which is equivalent to two hours per week.

    Expenses: Spell out any reasonable moving or other transition expenses will be reimbursed.

    Car/Phone/Travel Expenses: Normal and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed alongside the bonus at the end of the contract.

    Your employment is at-will and either party can terminate the relationship at any time with or without cause and with or without notice.

    Am willing to pay $25/hr,half at the beginning and the balance at close of business every day.Do you have a Paypal account in case you do not want to work from my hotel room you might need to rent a little office space and order some stationary ahead of my arrival.

    Acknowledge conformity by sending an acceptance letter.I look forward to hear from you.


    Fredrick Hughes

    – See, some of this didn’t make sense like renting an office?? The bad grammar BUT i know he isn’t American just from talking to him and what he said over the phone didn’t match what he emailed me. I WANT to stay hopeful cos i need the income BUT the RED FLAGS r up.

    If anyone knows for SURE about this 1 pls message.


  4. GinaG, 02 December, 2010

    Okay this answers my question….YES its a SCAM and I think you’ll find this article VERY useful about online job scams. Thanks G

    1. Introduction

    Job seekers who use online job search web sites must be careful to avoid a type of job scam in which the applicant is asked to accept payment to his or her own bank account. These are known as payment-forwarding or payment-transfer scams.

    Payment-transfer scams involve a con artist who pretends to be an employer. The con artist uses a job ad to lure an unsuspecting job seeker, or they may use information from a resume they have found online. Such con artists can be quite convincing, and may even steal company names and corporate logos to convince victims that they are legitimate employers.

    After the con artist has won the job seeker’s trust, the con artist tricks the job seeker into giving up bank account numbers. The reasons given for this can be clever. One ploy is to tell the job seeker they can only deliver paychecks by “direct deposit.

    “The “job” a job seeker will be asked to do involves forwarding or wiring money from a personal bank account, a PayPal account, or from Western Union to another account. The other account is often overseas. As part of their pay, the job seeker is instructed to keep a small percentage of the money as their payment. Sometimes the payment for making the money transfer is as low as $15. Sometimes it is as high as several hundred or several thousand dollars. Almost always, the money the victims are transferring is stolen, and therefore, the victims are committing theft and wire fraud. Usually, this kind of scam involves at least two or three victims.

    There are many variations of payment-forwarding scams. Following are very simple tips that will go far to protect you from falling victim with some clarifications noted below. Again, this scam can be quite clever and refined.

    Do not give personal bank account, PayPal account, or credit card numbers to an employer.
    Do not agree to have funds or paychecks direct deposited to any of your accounts by a new employer.
    Do not forward, transfer, or “wire” money to an employer.
    Do not transfer money and retain a portion for payment.
    Legitimate employers do not usually need your bank account numbers. While direct deposit of a paycheck is a convenience, if that is the only option an employer offers, then you should not accept the job. A legitimate employer will give you the option of direct deposit, but not demand that it is used. You should wait until you have met the employer in person before agreeing to a direct deposit option.

    There is one exception to this: the U.S. government typically does require that employees agree to direct deposit. If you have been interviewed in person, and you are sure that you are dealing with a government agency, then agreeing to direct deposit is not a problem. Also, if you have been working for an employer for a while and you are very sure about their legitimacy, then agreeing to a direct deposit is usually fine. This is especially true if you have received a number of paychecks from the employer and you have met the employer in person. “Work from home” and telecommuting jobs are most at risk when agreeing to direct deposit, especially from brand new employers. Use caution and good sense.

    Regarding payment transfers, while some jobs may require an employee to make transfers for employers, legitimate employers making this request will go to extraordinary efforts to check the job seeker prior to making the hire. This would involve meeting the jobseeker in person and conducting rigorous interviews. This kind of job hire would not be made via email or even the telephone or a single meeting. And a legitimate employer would typically ask you to make transfers from their business accounts, not yours. You need to draw a line and understand that transferring money for employers from your personal bank account or personal PayPal account is off-limits, period.

    2. Known Red Flags

    Payment-forwarding scams contain certain “red-flags” that should alert you to fraudulent job ads. Here are the known red flags:

    Request for bank account numbers.
    Request for Social Security number (SSN).
    Request to “scan the ID” of a job seeker, for example, a drivers’ license. Scam artists will say they need to
    scan job seekers’ IDs to “verify identity.” This is not a legitimate request.
    A contact email address that is not a primary domain. For example, an employer calling itself “Omega Inc.” with a Yahoo! email address.
    Misspellings and grammatical mistakes in the job ad. lists descriptive words in job postings that are tip-offs to fraud. Their list includes “package-forwarding,” “money transfers,” “wiring funds,” “eBay,” and “PayPal.” World Privacy Forum researchers also found that the terms “Foreign Agent Agreement” often appears in contracts and emails sent to job seekers.

  5. GinaG, 03 December, 2010

    Me again, soooooo I emailed the guy and told him I was concerned it was a Scam because of my research which said

    If they ask for PayPal
    Poor Grammar

    yay da ya da ya da….and i told him in a really nice way I couldnt accept his employment because I was concerned it was a scam and the guy was very gracious and understanding….HENCE my Post that I might have been WRONG and I wish I could delete the poor guy’s email from my post above.

    I do want to keep the 1 article up above that does tell you about the online scams to watch out for BUT pls dis-regard my 1st posting and if the owners of the blog check and remove anything pls remove that posting w/his email and this one.

    STAY safe everyone

  6. GinaG, 06 December, 2010

    It WAS a SCAM, the guy finally confessed to me today that he IS a scammer and he isn’t even in this country…..sooooo EVERYONE beware of

    [email protected] or

    he says they are launching a new company here and he wants to posts ads on yahoo hot jobs OR craigslist and he needs you to do it

    He’ll go as far as saying they can give you a reference to people here verifying them.

    I was always 50/50 about this guy but in wanting to trust him BUT being cautious i had opened a separate PayPal not linked to any bank accounts, no money ever passed between me or him so that was good, he saw how persistent i was in trying to help him BUT i always tok a cautous road, not using my OWN CL accounts and tody to verify the account i told him i needed to use HIS phone number to verify it and CL couldnt so I told him i’d wait for him to get me a number…finally he fessed up that it had all been a scam so THERE you have it, WOW man.

    New scams every day, he started emailing me people’s PRIVATE information, like AOL user account information and a whole bunch of information like people’s credit card information, and told me he could make me tons of money I told him i was NOT interested and NEVER EVER in a MILLION years would be in scamming people and to stopemailing me all this information and that iwas keeping a record of everything.

    SO he got pissed off and told me to keep my mouth shut and started insulting me soo I signed off and removed him from my messenger. I will of course forward this information immediatelty to the FBI BUT since I already had a running tab of a posssible SCAM i wanted to keep everyone updated, you never know.

    Good luck and Take Care

  7. Josie, 26 February, 2011

    Nearly got scammed….. lucky I asked sooo many questions and didnt go through with it… I posted my ad online expecting someone local to buy my car, but then got this sms from some guy called Mathew… saying that he will offer more than my asking price (too good to be true), and to email him details of my car:

    I won’t be available to come for inspection my self due to my transfer to Newzealand . I have a pick-up agent that will contact you on where and when the pick-up will take place after have completed the payment but i will like you to tell me a little bit more about the present mechanical condition of the Vehicle on how often do you service it and the history ?
    Your quick response is greatly appreciated then i can proceed with this transaction immediately. but am sorry but I can only make the payment via PayPal. I can’t make a Bank transfer from another country because of the security attached to my internet banking neither can I send a Bank draft or cashiers cheque. In other words, I can only make a bank transfer from the IP I used in registering for my internet banking. The only available and secure method for me to make the payment is PayPal , but if you can not do that then am sorry i will have to try else where because i need to be safe and if you don’t have one i will advice you to on or and register with them and link to your Account and get back to me with your PayPal email
    And as soon as you reply me with your PayPal Account email i will make the Payment immediately i want to make the payment now when the pick up agent inform me i will have to pay for the freight fee before they can schedule a pick up time with you and they are charging $600 for the pick up and delivery to Tasmania and they said the payment must be sent only to their Co-Operate International Headquarter in Johannesburg and the payment must be made to them through Western Union or Money Gram money transfer.

    And due to the fact that i can only make a Payment only via PayPal i will add the $600 and the 2.4% that PayPal is charging you to the money am sending to you through PayPal and immediately i make the payment to you, I will contact you and please i will need you to help me send the money to my pick up agent’s Hq in Johannesburg through western union money transfer after i have sent you the full payment. I would have done it myself but I can’t send money through that means due to my present location. I’m a little incapacitated but I’ll appreciate your help here as soon as i make the Payment to you .

    Please respond a.s.a.p. so that I can proceed in making all the payment to you now

    HOW FUNNY!!! Obviously thinks I’m silly…. I dont even have a paypal account, let alone internet banking… 🙂
    I offered to give him some prices of a few local/national freight carries here, but he ignored my offers…
    The last email I got was:
    Here is the pick up agent information needed for you to send the money through western union money transfer:

    Name: Emmanuel Olawale
    Address: 413 Broughton Street, Gaston
    State: Johannesburg
    Zip code 27832
    Country: South Africa
    Amount: $600
    Question: what is the Color
    Answer: White
    Email me the necessary details; the mtcn which you will be given at the western union office after you have sent the pick up fee, the name of the sender, address and the question and answer you used in sending the money so that I can forward it to PayPal or better still, you can email it to PayPal directly, that is fine with me as well so that they can credit your account with $2,700.00. Please send me your address where the vehicle will be picked up and also your phone number because I must forward it to the agent who will contact you immediately they have received the payment and your account is credited so that a convenient pick up time can be booked.

    I didnt even get the chance to open a PAYPAL account…. how weird??? 🙂

  8. Mariano, 04 March, 2011

    This is my experience with scammers along this week:
    . is this item still availible and whats the least you will take for it. = sherwin johnson [[email protected]]
    . Still available for sale? My name is Mike = jeff thomas [[email protected]]
    . Hi there,Is this item still available for sale? My name is Mike = Timothy Massaro [[email protected]]
    . is this item still availible and whats the least you will take for it. = sherwin johnson [[email protected]]
    . Still up for sale? = David Davis [[email protected]]
    .I LIKE THIS ONE, more sophisticated. It includes the complete description, price and area, excellent job but not enough, received one hour after I posted the add:
    Concerning your posting Lot of 13 Dell Axim X50 Handheld Portable Computer w/ Windows Mobile – $495 (Piscataway) placed on the Craigs-List web site.
    Is it still up for sale?


  9. Emily, 03 April, 2011

    Another scammer….

    Email #1 Hello,
    I reviewed your resume and glad to get back to you with more details,this is more like a part time online job
    because you basically receive instructions by email from time to time.
    My name is Dave Moore ,51yrs ,Male ,old,married with 2 kids.i run a property management maintaining,
    leasing and managing apartment units,
    single familyresidential homes, condos and commercial properties for foreign investors .
    I need someone to work with me online from his or her home own as personal
    assistant to monitor and keep me up to date with my activities.
    Duties and Requirements:
    ***Assisting in Processing all owner distribution batches.
    ***Process rental applications in Resident Data.
    ***Prepare a week Notification for all tenancy expiration .
    ***Retrieve and process faxes
    ***Send unpaid rent notifications to tenants.
    ***Deposit and monitor payments of all owner contributions.
    ***send and disburse payment on rent,lease and tenancy
    and Attorney fees for drawing agreement plans
    Available during regular business hours
    Organized and able to take instructions well
    Dependable, Reliable, Trustworthy a must
    Excellent English language skills (both spoken and written)
    Must have good attention to detail
    Must be a problem solver and not a problem maker
    Have great work ethic and attitude, as well as people skills
    pay-attention to detail, capable of multi-tasking, and works well
    under stress at times.
    – Yearly performance bonus
    – Paid vacation/sick/personal days
    – Medical benefits
    Working hours:Mon-Friday
    Total Hours (Per Week):20
    Salary:$250 weekly($1000 monthly)
    This position is home-based and flexible part time job,you can be in
    any location you will be working from your home doing all the
    activities from your computer.
    Am out of state for contract in asia and i will be back month end
    hence i want you to start working for me and I do have a number of
    things you could help me with this week if you will be available to
    start.This can act as a stable foundation to our working relationship.
    I have the first task waiting for you to know if you are ready to work

    Hoppers Rental ©
    214 230 9096
    [email protected]
    Let God lead the way when opportunity presents itself

    Email #2:

    This e-mail is to notify you about your first assignment which starts immediately. Read and make sure you understand all that is stated below to avoid any mistakes.

    You will receive a package (Check) from fedex courier today.

    The Payment was issued to cover the assignment bills i.e office equipments needed,attorney fees and also your weekly wage.

    Once you receive the Check, you should take the Check to your bank and have it deposited for day or more to cash.. If cash is given immediately you should email me for the next step.
    Pls stay in touch and confirm receipt of this email.

    Email #3:

    It is most unfair and unprofessional of you to have ignore our numerous emails as regards the our money and the assignment you signed up for . Anyways if we do not hear from you in 24hrs, we will have to take a formal action against you by reporting the matter to the authority ( INTERPOL AND THE FBI) for theft.
    pls get back soon ..

    I actually gave the check to the police the day I received it. They confirmed my suspicion that it was a scam. So, just wanted to help keep everyone updated…

  10. rana, 09 April, 2011

    Hi a friend of mine actually just got scammed and she doesnt know what to do becuase she deposited the check in her account already OMG, has anyone else went through with it please give her some advice.

  11. SCOTT, 26 April, 2011


  12. My name, 24 May, 2011

    This idiot doesn’t even know his “other name” shows up in emails. He is Tim Massaro but also Pastor Mike Johnson. Oh because he is a man of the cloth I shall get right back to this loser!


    “Timothy Massaro”
    Add sender to Contacts


    [email protected]

    ** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
    ** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
    ** More Info:

    Hello,Is this item still up for sale?I am Pastor Mike Johnson.

  13. M, 02 June, 2011

    I recently applied for a job on Craigslist by sending an email to [email protected]. He’s a scam artist. He asked me for the following information which seemed reasonable.

    FIRST NAME ………………… SURNAME………………
    CITY ………..STATE…………..ZIP CODE…………
    PHONE NUMBER (S) ……………………

    Then he sent me the offered me the following job as an admin for $450/week and sent me the following letter. This fits into the Excess funds scam category. So, I rejected the offer.


    Have received your confirmation e-mail and Congratulate on your new job.

    That means you are ready to take the job position am offering , I’m sure you’ll understand I tend to have a very busy schedule at this point. Please note that this position is not office based for now because of my frequent travels and tight schedules, it’s a part-time, work from home basis and the flexibility means that there will be busier weeks than others, so it’s a little difficult judging the exact number of hours you’ll be doing per week. If you can manage your time properly, this job may even give you some extra while you do something else on the side. As I have said, I’d want us to get a head start with things as soon as possible. I do have a pile up of work and a number of unattended chores which you can immediately assist me with and i hope we can meet up with the workload eventually.

    Permit me to use the coming week to test your efficiency and diligence towards all this, also to work out your time schedule and fit it to mine. I really need to find the perfect person for this job, I’m confident you can take up the challenge and on the long run we should have a relatively sound working relationship between us. I am glad you are willing to work with me and i promise to be a good boss. I am also glad on the commitment in working. I have been checking my files and what i would want you to do for me next week is to run some errands out to some of the orphanage home, I do that every new month.

    The funds will be in form of check and it will be issued to you including your 450$ first week payment, am going to email the list of what to do to you as soon as i compile them all but it will be better to wait till you get the fund before i give you the list . You will make some arrangements by buying some stuff for the orphanage kids at any nearest store around .

    I will get back to you with the task for next week. Please understand you will be paid for the first week immediately ( Check Payment ) as i have stated in my message above ,its important for me to have everything setup before i get back from my trip. Hope i am clear with that.

    Get back to me asap..

    Mr.Younger Mill

  14. Milford Gascot, 13 September, 2011

    Hello there, I adore your weblog. Is there something I can do to obtain updates like a subscription or something? I am sorry I am not familiar with RSS?

  15. jetaime5406, 19 September, 2011

    RESPONDING TO “marvin on February 18th, 2009 2:12 pm” POST:

    Since it is now 2011, I don’t think the poster (“marvin”) will be checking this anytime soon, if at all, but the message you received is OBVIOUSLY a scam.

    Aside from the comments that other people have left, did you stop to think why would the individual would need you to send him back money for air fare to the States when he’s a businessman and could probably very well afford it himself? Otherwise, if he really couldn’t afford the flight to the States, why would he send you more than what you need, only for you to return a portion of it back to him? The message has “SCAM” written all over it. Hope you didn’t fall for it.


  16. seo, 31 January, 2012

    Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and superb design and style.

  17. Kay, 04 April, 2012

    beware of Michael Reynolds posting ad in craigslist for personal assistant. he is asking for personal information.

  18. David, 25 March, 2013

    I answered a job offer for a Warehouse Position for $18 per hr. This was the first thing that seemed strange.
    Then I received an immediate response asking for my personal info. I played along and less than a week later… I have a real FAKE check in my hands for $2450.00
    Who in their right mind would fall for such a thing. NO ONE will trust someone they never met face to face with $2450.
    First call in the morning in the University this check is drawn on, then to the bank on the check, then to the authorities. I can’t believe they sent it USPS, from a real address in NJ. Although that is probably fake too. But it was printed by a label printer through the USPS website.
    At the least i wasted a little of their time and a few dollars of their money to get the check to me.
    If you ever get one of these checks in your hands… NEVER CASH THEM. It is a felony in every state. And can lead to Federal charges, especially in the Post Office is used.

  19. David, 25 March, 2013

    His name is Michael Chad anduses the email [email protected]
    The address the check was sent from is a Judith Dunham in Morristown, NJ.

  20. Lisa, 14 September, 2014

    I wanted to know if anyone has seen this before, I came straight out and asked him if it was a scam, he did not ask for money or account numbers but for me to buy the Blank versa payrollchecks and to get some fedex envelopes. see add below:
    Hello, Would you be interested in carrying out payroll/dispatch duties and earn
    $1500 monthly? It basically involves printing and mailng out payroll checks. The
    position is part time and home-based hence you will only require a home-office
    if you don’t already have one and must be equipped with the following supplies;
    Laser-jet Printer: compulsory
    Personal Laptop/Desktop: compulsory
    MICR ink for your printer: recommended
    Versa Business Check Paper Blue Prestige Form #3000: compulsory
    Internet Access: compulsory
    I will provide software for printing.
    Get back to me via email or we can chat on Yahoo Messenger,im on there most of
    the time, my Yahoo ID is davidxpalmer.
    I will be looking forward to your correspondence.

    David Palmer.

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