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    I was victim of phishing attack on craigslist
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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    I made a fast cash sale of my EF 85mm F/1.2L USM Canon lens on Craigslist to a legitimate buyer, but not before falling prey to a phishing attack. The scam works like this:

    A perpetrator is on the lookout for people selling items that list their phone/cell number in the ad. If he finds one, he uses it to obtain a Google Voice phone number as a front for his various other scheming activities. He approached me saying "hi, i'm interested for your lens. i'll send you a google voice code. if your post is real reply the code, then i'll call you. can i send it? But it's not him sending me the Google Voice code, it's Google. But I reply to him with the code Google sent me allowing him to complete the registration making him look to Google like the owner of my number. Once he gets it, he completes the registration and whatever consequences arise from his scheming points back to my number. He can later disassociate the number from the trail leaving all the criminal activity pointing to me.

    I received the code and replied back with it, then realized what a dupe I was and had to start up the Google Voice app and reclaim my phone number, which I was able to do, and also notify Craigslist I was the victim of the phishing scam. Really a dangerous world of bad people out there.


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    Thanks for the report Tom. It's a good reminder to keep us all vigilant to the never-ending schemes out there.
    Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television


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    Senior Member JPNola's Avatar
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    Why do you guys list and sell anyplace other than here and similar forums?

    If I were ever to sell any gear, that is what I would do. Or possibly on eBay.

    If the answer is “fast cash”, well then you need to remedy your ever needing cash fast.
    Big sources matter.


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPNola
    Why do you guys list and sell anyplace other than here and similar forums?

    If I were ever to sell any gear, that is what I would do. Or possibly on eBay.

    If the answer is “fast cash”, well then you need to remedy your ever needing cash fast.
    I've bought and sold here before, and although I've had smooth transactions, scams can abound from anywhere. And I've been scammed on ebay too. If you were to ever sell any gear, you might know. There is nothing wrong with a fast cash sale. It just means you and the buyer have agreed upon a price mutually acceptable. I'm not using it for drug money and I don't appreciate the insinuation from you that I needed cash fast just because I lack your patience for taking the time to sell nothing.


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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you escaped unscathed, Tom!

    Incidentally, Ebay can be a risky place to sell - I've heard stories of buyers scamming sellers by returning an item with the wrong camera in the box or claiming they received the wrong/cheaper camera, etc. And Ebay is much more supportive of buyers than sellers because the buyers are the product ebay sells. I've sold there a couple times and bought many times and had nothing but good experiences. But I feel much more comfortable there as a buyer


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Glad to hear you escaped unscathed, Tom!

    Incidentally, Ebay can be a risky place to sell - I've heard stories of buyers scamming sellers by returning an item with the wrong camera in the box or claiming they received the wrong/cheaper camera, etc. And Ebay is much more supportive of buyers than sellers because the buyers are the product ebay sells. I've sold there a couple times and bought many times and had nothing but good experiences. But I feel much more comfortable there as a buyer
    Thanks Abe! Let me tell you though about one insidious ebay scam as a buyer. It happened as follows:

    I won an auction for Sony AXSM memory card for an AXS-R5 recorder (expensive). USPS tracking indicated the item had been delivered to my mailbox, but when I looked it wasn't there. I went to the post office to ask about it, speaking to the driver who remembered delivering it. He was incredibly helpful, and gave me the address of a salon where he said it was delivered. I paid a visit on the salon. They told me they had received a package addressed to them but there was nothing in it. They were able to pluck the empty packaging with label from a trash pail. The article was addressed to them but had the tracking number on it that had been given to me by ebay. What ebay does as a service for the seller, is allow him to print a correctly addressed shipping label containing the tracking number. The scammer doesn't use it. Instead he prints his own label to a phony address or front, but uses the tracking number that was provided by ebay. The customer complains to ebay he didn't receive his merchandise, ebay opens an investigation and asks of the seller who says, "Look! USPS says it was delivered on 9/11!" Had I not been able to produce the packaging with the false label, I don't know what the outcome might have been. The case ended with a decision in my favor, money returned.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I'm not clear what Google voice is and why you would need it for a craigslist transaction. You meet, he gives you cash, you give him lens.


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    For Craigslist transactions, I always meet in front of the police station, which in my town, only has 4 parking spaces and lots of windows looking directly at the parking spaces.
    Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C. View Post
    I'm not clear what Google voice is and why you would need it for a craigslist transaction. You meet, he gives you cash, you give him lens.
    Peter you're right! It had nothing to do with anything regarding the craigslist sales transaction itself. It's a phishing scam to use your Google account to obtain a proxy phone number, and Craigslist is an open pool of real, not proxy phone numbers belonging to item sellers. Google requires an actual phone number before they will grant a proxy number. That's where Craigslist fits into the scam.

    I didn't know what Google Voice was either. What Google does is offer you the ability to choose an available phone number from any city, state or country. A call to that number is forwarded by Google to your real number. You can make an outbound call from a computer using the Google number. And (I think) that number will then show up on the recipient's caller I.D.. You can also receive a call from the Google number, as the service will forward it to your real cell phone or land line. It will show up on your caller I.D. as the number Google gave you. Before Google Voice will allow you to take ownership of one of their proxy numbers, they require a real phone number from your Google Voice account. And to verify that, they send you a six digit code to the real phone that has to be returned. The scammer doesn't possess the real phone this code is sent to, so the 'phish' is to trick you into giving it up.

    So what the scammer does, is comb Craiglist for people who have listed real numbers, try to open a Google Voice account with somebody's real number to obtain a proxy number, and bait the unwitting Craigslist seller into giving up the code that Google sent to the real phone by making it sound as if the buyer was the one sending it (when it was actually Google who sent the code). The scammer's ruse is that he doesn't trust you are a real seller and will call you to discuss the sale once you confirm you are a real seller by giving him the code he sent you, except he didn't send it, Google did. The scam preys on people who like you and me who don't know much about the Google Voice service. What the scammer is going to do with the proxy number if he is successful in getting one from Google, is anyone's guess but the illegal activity ties back to your account and your real phone number.
    Last edited by Tom Roper; 04-15-2021 at 10:32 PM.


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    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul F
    For Craigslist transactions, I always meet in front of the police station, which in my town, only has 4 parking spaces and lots of windows looking directly at the parking spaces.
    Exactly what we did. I met with the buyer in the parking lot of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department, as they invite Craigslist participants into using their lot for that purpose as a 'safe' place with lots of cameras.
    Last edited by Tom Roper; 04-15-2021 at 10:36 PM.


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