Buying a Mac on Craigslist and Avoiding Scams, guide?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jng, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    I think that craigslist scams are very prevalent now, esp. among ads for Macs. And although there are threads about scams in these forums, they're not stickied and the information is scattered. Therefore, I think it is worthwhile to start a thread meant specifically to advise people about purchasing macs on craigslist and how to spot a scam.

    Most of it sounds straight forward, but people nearly fall and probably do fall for them everyday. :eek:

    The has anyone heard of Paysafe thread is a great thread but unfortunately located in the marketplace where less users read and I think a thread belongs here that needs to be stickied.

    As posted on the Craigslist About Scams Page, the best way to avoid scams is to deal LOCALLY with people you can meet in person.

    But many ads don't initially mention a) where the machine is located and b)how a local transaction would proceed. Therefore an e-mail correspondence must be initiated.

    How to tell from E-mails that this is a scam

    • The price is too good. Examples: A Macbook Pro for $900 or a Powermac and 23" for less than $2000 or a Mac Pro and 30" for $2400.
    • Person won't give you his phone number.
    • Seller claims to use an escrow company and/or storage companies, many of which are reputable, including TNT Shipping.
    • Payment should be sent using:
      • Paysafe
      • Moneybookers

      Seller claims that funds are held until goods are received and that there is a "14 day return policy." Paysafe and Moneybookers are shady already and payment will be asking for a western union transaction through the web anyway, a direct transfer, NOT escrow.

    The person is in a foreign country!
    Unfortunately, this was not revealed until 2-3 emails in. The seller also claimed the machine was in local storage and that I could gain access and see it before making the purchase.

    They use a fake address in the UK, for example:

    The "seller" address is in a commercial district, not at all residential and the latter goes to Mulberry home, according to user flyinmac, our resident Agent Mulder.

    I had also received the same seller address but a different agent adress:
    What to do about it

    Hopefully most people don't ever actually complete the transaction.
    Unfortunately, the names addresses are fake. So reporting to the police probably won't go far.

    The emails are also fake, like hotmail accounts.

    UK Police won't do anything. If you want to file a report with the U.S. police, you have to walk into a station to file a report.

    User Keebler suggests reporting it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center here:

    You can also report to Craigslist, but usually those listings go up and down really quick.

    Samples of Correspondence from Scammer

    Response from scammer as transaction proceeds further

    Please add to this "guide" in progress and not just flood it with comments. If someone could get a mod to sticky this, that would be great!
  2. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    You can often also judge if a listing is a scam by the included pictures. If you've been on CL you know that every scam listing (especially the MBP ones) use the same pictures. They're not stock photos just poorly taken ones of a nondescript machine.

    The listing itself can also help you judge. It should be an initial warning to you if the seller posts specs that are just copied from Apple. Many real sellers do this do but it is an element of many scam listings.
  3. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    i found several times pics on craiglist that were copied from legit ebay auctions. in that case you can not see from the pictures that it is a scam.

    i would recommend to contact the seller, meet at your bank, check the machine (easy with a notebook) and then go with the seller INTO the bank, you withdraw the cash, have him sign a reciept and everybody goes their way. that avoids the risk that you get robbed with $1500 in your pocket.
    the seller also never gets to know your account information.

    of course you only buy a machine if the seller has the install disks, reciept/packaging slip and most/all accessories to make sure the machine isn't stolen.

    if the seller is unwilling to meet you at a bank then something is wrong and i would pass on the deal. picking up the machine and paying cash at his home is something i would not do as a women and not without a strong friend or two on my side.
  4. KYBOSH macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2007
    The beauty of Craigslist is that local sellers can connect with local buyers. If the seller isn't local then you shouldn't deal with them. You should go through ebay instead where at least you have some protection.

    If they are local then they should have no problem meeting up with you to let you check out the goods. If all is well you pay and take your item with you. I wouldn't use Craiglist to do any transaction where I couldn't drive to see the product. Period.

    Good Luck
  5. richard4339 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    While there are tons of people on the internet who do not utilize proper grammar, this is another way I've seen tons of times. The scammers tend to use horrible English and not follow any capitalization/punctuation scheme known to man as a whole.

    They also tend to never state the item by name, or will not mention you by name. That's an easy way to tell that it is a form letter.

    For example: "Dear buyer, the item is in escrow in your location." Notice there are no specifics, which is one thing that tips me off. Same thing goes when selling on Craigslist; you'll find they're never specific because its simply a formmail they wrote a long time ago.
  6. geoffy macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2007
    I find that fraud artists tend to offer the latest gear. If you are looking to buy something that is a few years old, then it is likely legitimate.
  7. bhern53 macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2007
    BMW scam via craigslist

    this guy is selling a 2000 BMW $2980. too good to be true
    I asked for verification the Bike existed, a paper trail
    no response so far but I'm sure many may have taken the worm
    listed: 9/7/7 nashville TN. USA
    sweet deal but still a scam
    seller and agent listed below
    **notice Agents street address been used on other scams
    Seller Details: First Name: Peter
    Last Name: Wilson
    Street: 96 Mount Street
    City: London
    Zip code: W1Y 5HG
    Country: United Kingdom
    MoneyBookers Agent Details:
    You have to send the payment to:
    First Name: Steven
    Last Name: Daniells
    Street: 180 Brockley Road
    City: London
    Zip code: SE4 2RR
    Country: United Kingdom
  8. hjs macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2008
    Just avoided one of these

    Here's one currently on Craigslist:

    When I got instructions to pay (via WesternUnion) some third party, supposedly an agent with MoneyBookers in the UK, I figured something was up. This is almost exactly the same as one reported above (Mac Pro w/30" display). I just reported it to the I3C.
  9. fov86 macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2009
    Craigslist buy

    Buying a 17" Mac Book Pro 2,66ghz, 4gb RAM, 512mb Nvidia, For 2450 bucks.
    Apparently its sealed and the Serial Code checks out with Apple.
    Any thoughts?

    concerning this thread I also had someone tell me he had Craigslist insurance. watch out!

  10. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    There is no such thing as craigslist insurance.
    "sealed" means nothing - it could be a box full of rocks.
  11. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2008
    I like rocks. Also you should just be careful about craigslist.
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    There are scammers everywhere, be it on CL or elsewhere.

    Here is the CL site on the scams:

    Also applies to any situation / site where you are trying to buy or sell things.
  13. armbpr, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012

    armbpr macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2012
    Almost robbed and almost scammed

    A couple of weeks ago we arranged to meet a seller with an iPad for sale. it turned out that the same person had robbed (at gunpoint in Little Rock) someone else responding to the same ad. We were lucky. I arranged to meet them in front of a busy Walgreens and I guess they were scared off by a patrol car that happened to be cruising nearby.

    Today we were almost scammed:

    MUST SEE AppleCare Imac With Box 10/10 CONDITION - $770 (little rock)
    Date: 2012-08-23, 9:45PM CDT
    Reply to this post [
    The computer is under Apple care.
    Also includes Windows operating system
    Intel Core i7 2.8 GHz
    16GB RAM 2000GB HD plus 256 GB SSD

    The first email said:

    On Sep 12, 2012, at 4:13 PM, "Roxanne Warner" <> 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?


    This morning this email arrived:

    From: Roxanne Warner <>
    Date: September 13, 2012 2:40:39 AM CDT
    Subject: Re: the 21.5" iMac from Craigslist $600

    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 Interparcel 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 Interparcel website and it explains their procedure. Please check the link and the procedure and let me know if you agree to the terms.

    With this procedure Interparcel 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.


    I checked for Craigslist scams and found one almost identical to this but for a Macbook Pro.

    $600 with free shipping for an almost new $2,500 iMac still under warranty? They got too greedy and this deal was far too good to be true.



    UPDATE: The listing now shows "This posting has been flagged for removal."
  14. jmacproi7, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012

    jmacproi7 macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    Same thing hit over the weekend in Omaha and Lincoln Craiglists - I reported both pages as spam, but the Omaha listing came back up.

    Here's what it looks like:
    And the following e-mail came back:
  15. thekb macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2010
    So if I am selling a 27" imac and prefer to meet in public, would it be just too weird to meet at a Panera or Starbucks so they can try out internet? Or what are some other good locations to be able to plug in the imac so they can try it out, and I could just tether to my smart phone?

    Maybe a library?

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