May 11, 2021 – When it sounds too good to be true.

My poor husband. Last week, I was the one in turmoil. This week, it’s his turn. As part of his routine, he gets on the computer and checks Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and the local classifieds (on average) 2-6 times each and every day. He is on the search for the ‘perfect boat’. Immediately after we sold the boat he’d brought back from the dead, he bought a kayak (via Craigslist). After watching a local kayak fisherman’s YouTube videos, he was convinced that having a fishing kayak was ‘the way to go’. Turns out, it doesn’t quite meet all of his needs. He’s already spent hours watching videos on how to ‘improve’ the kayak; if he attaches a trolling motor, he won’t be limited to small lakes any longer. The motor would also serve as a back-up if he got tired of pedaling or paddling. All that said, (according to my husband) if he gets an actual boat, he won’t need to worry about making further modifications to his kayak. He can use the kayak for small bodies of water and the boat for large bodies of water. Seems simple enough, right?

As much as I wish it weren’t the case, because we’re required to stick to a strict budget, finding the ‘perfect boat’ has proven rather challenging. My husband has very specific requirements as to what he desires in a B.O.A.T. and there aren’t many that fall within our price bracket that meet these requirements. In fact, there haven’t been any (so far). After rebuilding the last boat (which also happened to be our first boat), he has learned a thing or two. As a result of what he’s learned, he has decided that he’ll never again buy a fiberglass and/or wooden boat. Only aluminum will do, and not just any old aluminum boat, it has to be welded (instead of riveted). The reason for this is that riveted boats often leak. Regarding an engine, he has vowed never to buy a 2-stroke engine ever again. From here on out, the boat has to come with a 4-stroke engine or forget about it! He also has a particular ‘floor plan’ that he prefers over the others, no bench seats down the middle, just on either side (so there are no obstacles in the way).

He wants something that is low maintenance and easy to launch. He learned that having a boat that was 17 feet long was far too difficult to get into the water by himself; therefore, the boat has to be 14 feet. Not 13 and not 15, 14. Of course, the newer everything is, the better. Over time, things tend to get worn out and/or break down, especially motors. When you take all of that into consideration, the boat must be as follows: a 14-foot welded aluminum boat with a (newer) 4-stroke engine and an ‘open floor plan’. Do you know how many boats we’ve come across with those specific details? Well, a lot actually. The problem is, they’re priced for people who have money to burn. We don’t fit into that category. We’re more in the ‘how many ways can you cook ground beef?’ category. If you’re at all curious, I can provide you with at least 8 suggestions off the top of my head, 1) Hamburgers, 2) Spaghetti and Meatballs, 3) Chili, 4) ‘Super’ Burritos, 5) Tacos, 6) Cabbage Rolls, 7) Meatloaf, and 8) Sloppy Joes.

What was I talking about again? I nearly fell down the ‘recipe rabbit hole’! Geesh! It’s easy to lose your way when you wind up there. Anyhow, before I got sidetracked, I was talking about my husband’s quest to find the ‘perfect boat’. Day and night, night and day, my husband has been checking every possible ‘source’ for boats. Last week, immediately after waking up and making himself a fresh cup of coffee, he got on the computer, brought up the internet, went directly to Craigslist, and clicked on ‘boats’. To his amazement, someone had posted a boat (only hours before) that met his every need and want, and the price was right! Sweeeet! He was like a kid on Christmas Day! He could hardly contain himself. As soon as I woke up, he told me all about it. Every. Single. Solitary. Detail. He was ready to hop in the truck and pick it up; the tank was full and he was raring to go. He was just waiting for the person who posted the ad to respond.

The first time my husband reached out was 7 in the morning. Between 7 and noon, he’d heard nothing. When he checked Craigslist to see if it was still available, the ad was still posted. “Maybe they’re at work?” I suggested, “Or maybe it’s already sold?” I then asked, “Do you want me to reach out, too?” He did. I then contacted the person (via the email routing system) and provided all of my info so they could reach out to me directly. All I had to work with was the link, there was no name or number. Hours went by and neither of us heard back. I cannot tell you how many times my husband checked Craigslist to see if the ad was still posted. He started to look like he was going to crack. “Why won’t they respond??!!” he asked repeatedly (clearly frustrated). Over the weekend we heard nothing (but crickets). My husband’s emotions were all over the place. “It’s everything I want in a boat!” he insisted, “If I get it, I don’t have to look any more. I can just get out on the lake and fish.”

After an extremely long and agonizing weekend, the person who posted the ad (Ken) finally wrote back. His excuse for not writing back sooner was that he’d been ‘away from email access’. Where was he, in a submarine or down a mine shaft? First red flag. He then said he was selling it for someone else (his in-laws) and that the boat was located in another town. Uh-oh. Second red flag. I ‘bought his excuses’ initially but I know my way around a scam pretty well and after I asked whether there was a valid title and if I could speak to him directly on the phone, radio silence. My husband did essentially the same thing and then he got shut down. Third red flag. My friends, if someone is serious about selling something and cannot be bothered to speak to you about it on the phone, there’s a problem. In other words, something ‘stinks’. From what I could tell, this deal smelled so bad it could clear a room.

I just have to say, I wonder if ‘Ken’ is related to ‘Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams’? ‘Wendy’ contacted me a couple of months ago via email. According to her, “I write to Relate to you of my intention to use my money 20.5 million dollars for charity work in your country…I want to know if I can trust you to use these funds for charity / orphanage and others E.TC. And 20% will be for yours as compensation…I choose you after viewing your profile and I have confident in you because I have prayed.” Hmmm…I wonder what profile she’s referring to? Since I don’t have social media, the only other ‘profile’ I can think of that might exist would be through the FBI. No, they’re not interested in me. But apparently (they are/were interested in Kurt Cobain). Why? I have no idea. Maybe they were tired of him and his band stirring up all the flannel wearers in the country. I never was a fan of Nirvana but I think I was in the minority. Oh well, different strokes.

I wish I could meet ‘Wendy’ someday. If I did, I’d probably punch her in the stomach. ‘Ken’, too. People that prey on others are about the worst of the worst. When that ad popped up and it was everything my husband wanted, I should have known it was phony. It was way too good to be true. As much as I use Craigslist to buy and sell, there’s no getting around the scammers. Those little *ssholes seem to just lie in wait for vulnerable people to fall for their schemes. Sometimes I think about teaching classes to people so they don’t become victims. It’s usually little old ladies who fall for these crappy ruses. They hate to believe that there are actually ruthless, evil people out there who don’t mind one tiny bit cleaning out their entire savings account(s). Yes, unfortunately they are out there. They are out there in droves! Anyway, can you tell that whole deal with the boat ‘hit a nerve’? Yep, I’ve been scammed before but I will guarantee you, it won’t happen again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Not if I can help it.

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