Online Sales and Scammers

I’ve sold enough things online to know a scammer when I see one. Things that generally stick out are:

1) Generic Greetings with no mention or questions about the item being sold

2) Poor grasp on the English language.

3) Uses generic email address ie:,

4) Is not in the U.S.

5) Wants a lot of personal info, but gives NONE

6) BONUS: Liberal use of “God Bless” or other religious phrasing

I’m selling a couple things on Craigslist right now and today I’ve lured a scammer into my domain. I generally like to mess with them for a while and waste their time so they have less time to mess with the more naïve sellers. What I do isn’t original, nor my idea. I just love hearing the stories about this stuff so I thought I’d have my own fun.

Here are places you can read more stories like mine:

419 Eater

Scambuster 419


This isn’t my first foray into this activity, I’ve wasted time on it before, but I usually get bored with it and let it die. Luckily for me, today’s contestant is responding fairly quickly which is keeping me interested.

The following is the “conversation” between the scammer and myself. Unfortunately, they didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

Scammer in blue.

Me in black.

My sidenotes in red.

From: Pauline Tason (

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Subject: Nikon N-80 35MM Complete Camera Package - $325

Kindly get back to me with your firm price.
God bless.

Ding ding ding. This one had all the great markers…let’s have some fun.

From: Me

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Where are you located and when would you like to pick up the camera?
God Bless.

PS Make an offer

I like to inject a little of their own stuff. I don’t mention the item, nor the price and I had to spread God’s love as well.

From: Pauline Tason (

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 12:23 PM

I think the amount you want to sell it is OK by me, I will want you to provide me with your paypal account for the payment to be send immediately or if did not have paypal account provide me your Full name and Address so that i will send the money through Money Order.
so you don't need to bother yourself regarding the shipping charge.
Waiting to hear from you.
Mrs.Pauline Tanson

Wow, full price! Amazing. First they want my bottom line, now the asking price is A-ok! Fab!

From: Me

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 12:48 PM

I have a paypal account associated with this email address. I will also need to know where you are located so I can tell you how to pick up this item or tell you how much shipping will cost.

Praise the Lord

I so wanted them to tell me they were in Nigeria! I knew that’s where they were, I just needed them to say it…for my own sake at least. I’ve also decided that they will get a new religious blessing at the end of each email.

From: Pauline Tason (

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Kindly understand that am not in the country now,but i will pay you with the shipping fee and when you get it you ship it for my daughter.
God bless

So, I’m getting closer! “not in the country now”…HA! Not ever!

From: Me

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 1:27 PM

OK, well I will still need to know where I'm shipping the item so I can send it to your daughter.

Jesus is the Lord

No response…so I ramp it down a notch.

From: Me

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 3:07 PM

All I need is a zip code so I can check USPS for the shipping costs. You can get me any other pertinent information later.


Tah Dah!

From: Pauline Tason (

Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 6:42 PM

My daughter's address,

9/15 Adelabu street uwani

God bless

I looked up the address, apparently her daughter lives at a video store...Results of an address search.

From: Me

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 9:34 PM

Oh mercy, that's a long ways away! What in heaven's name is your daughter doing in Africa? Is she a missionary? I pray for her as I hear there are many souls that need saving in Nigeria! You know they say a lot of scam artists are there? I hope your daughter is praying to our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ to watch over her.

I've looked it up and shipping to
Nigeria is $308.49 (That's a LOT of money to send such a little box!)

Jesus is my co-pilot

I assume I’m done with this one, no response. Maybe I over did it a little. But it was fun!

5 Response to "Online Sales and Scammers"

  1. Rin Says:

    LOL... I just did a google search because this person contacted me regarding a Craigslist ad I had posted for my TV. Her first few emails are identical.

    I figured she was some kinda scammer. Gotta love those Nigerians :)

  2. Yang Says:

    OMG, I'm glad I did a goolge search. This Pauline Tanson wrote me exactly the same thing for my Laptop on craigslist.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    this pauline character contacted me on craigslist too! good thing i googled her name and found this.

  4. Shannon Kaiser Says:

    I've gotton a ton of these too, by having my laptop on Craigslist... almost verbaitem on the verbiage too!!

    I feel so sorry for people who aren't wise enough to know or check and see if funds are actually in their Paypal account.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    LOL I'm playing the exact same game right now!

    I'll post my story when I'm done with them.