A sure sign of a con artist responding to your ad on Kijiji or other on line site, when you’re selling something:

Now and then clients ask me to sell something for them on line. It is, of course a lot of time and effort that is never, ever worth it for an Organizer. Clients just don’t get that they’d have to pay for your time and that it can take months to make a few bucks. So I decline more often than not. People also just don’t realize that there are a world of con artists out there fishing for trusting souls that they consider an easy mark.

Fortunately there are easy ways to spot the tell tale signs of such con artist clowns in progress and make it easy for you to simply run away, run away from them. (and delete posthaste)

Let me introduce you to one of more common con artist schemes in the classified world. It’s all part of the unseen time wasters I have to deal with when I post for people.

Say you post something for over $100.00. That gets you in the range they are after. And you get an email that is oh so pleasant and promising.

First of all the tip off is the cut and past format. I’ll break it down for you so you can know to simply walk away from what at first seems like a good prospect buyer. It’s not of course.

1) The person does not haggle the price but accepts it right away. Be suspicious. Everyone who is serious haggles. A serious buyer would say, “What’s your best offer?” or “What’s the condition?” or more often than not a quick 50% offer of whatever you are listing it for like – “$50.00.”

2) They never make mention of the actual item that you are listing. Never “I love your mountain bike.” or “I am happy with the price of the Bike. It’s just the model I wanted.” This is a sure sign of a fishing email designed to cover a thousand other listings they’re responding to out there above $100.00. It’s a mass mailing – run away.

3) If you respond positively – they know one hook is in and the tug begins: They lament that they can’t come personally and pick it up because they live in the Yukon or are part of an engineering group off shore or it’s for their brother in Seattle – but they LOVE your item (again no mention of the item itself). They prod – can you arrange shipping and they will pay a too high premium for your trouble. Run away, fast.

4) They want to pay via a certified cheque, money order or western express or Paypal. If you accept they will ask that you cover the simple cost of getting it from the bank and mailing costs or doing some transaction requiring you to send them information. Or if they do send it pay too much requiring a refund. It all sounds innocent and chummy. They may ask for a small reimbursement to cover bank costs like a mere $9.75 or some such. Bye bye money as it’s the last you will hear from them and they will have conned a hundred people in a day to do the same. Very lucrative over time for nothing more than sending a few cut and paste emails. Easy con on people too eager to find that perfect buyer. Run away.

5) Never click a link to fill out a form. It gives them access to your computer and eventually your bank account. Run away.

6) They try and elicit sympathy by saying they are a single mom living in wherever and it will help them if you comply. Never a word about why a single mom would need a $2,500.00 Mercedes bumper or whatever. Run away.

So there you go a very quick review of con artist emails you will receive. All seemingly positive and responsive at first. No Nigerian Princes involved. But do not respond to them. Do not engage with them. Run away and use my notes to help you spot the cons. Bottom line from the very first – if they never mention the actual item you are selling?…It’s a con. Run away. Be safe.

I’d love to hear form others other tip offs we can ad to the list.

Cheers for now. Stephen ilott – your Domestic Archaeologist digging for you.