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#379022 by Ryan H. Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:16 pm
I rate myself pretty good at catching scams, but this one is really having me puzzled:

I listed an antique furniture for sale. I got a text from "Grandma Terry" which is a red flag. Wouldn't a normal person just use her real name? I can understand perhaps an elderly person is wary of scams online as well and not use her real name. The actual text is a bit suspicious too:

"Antique Vanity / Dresser with Mirror -- furniture by owner - sale
Hi xxxxx(my name), can you tell me about how wide this dresser is? I'm raising my town grandsons (my daughter passed away unexpectedly). I need somewhere my youngest can put his clothes and knickknacks away. Thank you! Grandma Terry. (link to the listing)"

This looks like a scam template, but this is what gets puzzling -- the phone number she texted me from belongs to a real person in my city. The phone # is registered to a legit mobile number but the owner's name IS NOT Terry. The owner's age does match someone who would be a grandma. Aren't most scams coming from a Google Voice account? It makes no sense to use your real #.

So I texted her back and she goes on and on about how the "boys are spending the first Christmas without their mom", and how their dad refuses paternal responsibilities and their now-deceased mother worked so hard to raise them. She also claimed that she moved from another state and doesn't know anyone here. Ultimately I told her there's no way for me to move the furniture from the second floor to the ground level without some help and we ended our conversation there.

Does this sound a weird to you? Why would anyone share this level of detail about their life to a complete stranger? What is this "scammer", if she/he truly is, trying to get out of this?

#379023 by AlanJones Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:28 pm
It's impossible to tell for certain.

There are some red flags, such as the name and also the unexpected death of the daughter and other oversharing - scammers like to throw things like that in to get sympathy.

On the other hand, scammers don't tend to ask meaningful questions about items (in many cases, they don't even mention it by name), so asking how wide it is isn't something you would normally see. It would be more like "is the item still available, consider it sold". And in most cases, these scams often revolve around having a "shipper" collect the item and asking to send extra cash (either via a spoofed PayPal email or a fake check) to the victim to forward to the shipper.

Please do not tell scammers that they are listed here - it will take them seconds to change their fake details and their new details will not be listed for any future victims to find.

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