August 13, 2021 – Spammers, scammers, fakes and flakes.

If you’ve had an opportunity to watch the documentary on Netflix called ‘Misha and the Wolves’, you’ll understand when I say how well it ties into today’s theme. I’m not going to give anything away but I recommend you check it out. It’s very well done. Anyway, I just finished watching it with my husband and it was the perfect film to cap off my day. And before I get too far ahead of myself, I probably should share that we passed the house inspection with flying colors and have been advised by our realtor to ‘start packing’. I am so glad that ordeal is over because it had us both really stressed out; however, I think it was just a ‘sneak preview’ of things to come. For the last two days, I’ve been going from room to room with my camera, notebook, pen, and a measuring tape, and taking photos and writing down descriptions of all of the ‘big ticket’ items I want to sell. Most of the ‘big ticket’ items are quite large in size and cost us a pretty penny when we purchased them, so we’d really like to see them go in order to recoup some of our costs. Bringing them with us is out of the question because they’re just too expensive to ship.

That’s where Craigslist comes into play. After taking numerous photos and writing down descriptions of items that I intended to sell, I pulled up Craigslist on my computer and posted multiple ads. In many cases, within 5 minutes of posting an ad, my phone would ‘beep’ or ‘ding’ (indicating I’d received a text). The text would be from an unfamiliar number (not local) and would usually say something to the effect of, “Is the XYZ still available?” “Yes, it is!” I would reply enthusiastically, believing the inquiry to be legitimate. “Hey!” I’d then call out to my husband, “Somebody wants our XYZ!!” “Hook ’em!” he’d respond (as if referring to a fish), “Before they get away!” My enthusiasm never lasted though because without fail, the next text I’d receive from that unfamiliar (not local) number would be, “I would love to purchase it from you. Please do not reply to this text but to my Gmail account instead.” For all you Craigslist virgins, this is a ploy. Don’t ever respond to someone’s Gmail account. This is one of the most common and effective ways scammers get into your pocketbook.

Would you like to know another way they try to lure gullible people? It’s somewhat similar except rather than (or in addition to) routing you through their Gmail account, they tell you that they’d like to send you a cashier’s check, and once you are in receipt of the check, they will come and pick up the advertised item. Don’t fall for it! It’s more BS!! With Craigslist, ‘cash is king’. If you remember to avoid any other types of payment, your chances of becoming a ‘fraud victim’ will be greatly reduced. If you’ve had much exposure to this particular ‘marketplace’, you’ll know this is one of the hazards you’ll face each time you place an ad. You are bound to deal with spammers and scammers. You will also deal with your fair share of ‘flakes’. I had the misfortune of getting tangled up with one today and wasted a lot of valuable time as a result. As it happens, some ‘yahoo’ called me and asked if the desk I had just posted was still valuable and I confirmed that it was. He said he was interested in taking a look at it, and after requesting my address, said that he’d be over to view it in about an hour.

Wanting to present it in the best possible light, I got busy cleaning it. I not only vacuumed off all of the dog hair (which clung to the sides), I wiped down the surface with furniture cleaner. My husband and I also moved it outside (to avoid having a strange person traipsing through our home). An hour came and went, then two hours, then three. After three and a half hours, I sent this ‘gentleman’ a message and asked whether he was on his way. I received no response. I waited a little longer and then called his phone and it went directly to voicemail. On the message I left, I asked again whether he still intended to come, and if he wasn’t, to please let me know as I had moved the desk outside in order for him to view it. Again, no response. After waiting nearly 4.5 hours for this character to show up, I finally decided it best to bring the desk back inside. It was obvious by then that he had no intention of following through. Damn flakes! I did learn something from this experience, fortunately. My husband and I decided that we’re not going to break our necks trying to get something ready without it being a ‘sure thing’.

Craigslist, as much as I utilize it, doesn’t reach much of the population. Since our move is in a month, I cannot rest on my laurels, I’ve got to make things happen. With that in mind, I thought of alternative ways to market my household goods. It makes me sick to admit it, and as much as it pains me, I actually rejoined Facebook (solely to have access to ‘Marketplace’). I swore I would never return to FB but I don’t know of any other way to reach the masses better than by using Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘baby’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only using it for this one reason, to get rid of my ‘crap’, and then it’s ‘adios’. Believe you me, I am not getting sucked back in to that black hole again. Just the thought of receiving a ‘friend request’ makes me shudder, and to avoid all of that, for my name I used a pseudonym, and for my profile picture I used a photo of a mother duck and her ducklings. I am staying incognito because the last thing I want is to get ‘discovered’ by my sister ‘Cactus Annie’ or any other members of my highly dysfunctional family. Once Cactus Annie gets her hooks in you, short of dismemberment, it’s tough to break free.

Sad to say, but despite all of the people who monitor Facebook and all its ‘goings on’, scammers and fakes still manage to find a way in. I really thought that by using Facebook, I could post my ads and sell my goods ‘harassment free’. Such is not the case! Much like with Craigslist, within 5 minutes of placing a couple of ads, I received messages from ‘interested parties’. Ha! It was the same ol’, same ol’, “Is your XYZ still available?” When I’d reply that it was, the next message would read, “Ok. I want to buy it.” I would then be asked for my phone number, followed by a request to confirm a six-digit code. Because I’ve read about this particular scam, I know to say ‘no’ when asked this question. And I’m telling you, I highly encourage you to do the same thing. By providing this ‘six digit code’ to these ‘fake’ people, you are essentially giving them permission to hack your account and wreak havoc with your life. I don’t want this for you and you shouldn’t either. Life is complicated enough, right? So if you happen to post an ad on Facebook and some unscrupulous person tries this on you, promise me you’ll say ‘no’. ‘No, shame on you’ works, too.

As far as what else has happened today, a lot has happened actually. In addition to posting well over two dozen ads on Craigslist and Facebook, I took the dog for a walk (where she took it upon herself to swim in the canal 3 different times), my husband finished restoring the Shopsmith he purchased, I unplugged all of the cables and wires and power cords from our stereo equipment, removed each piece from the TV stand, set them in various places throughout our sunken livingroom, and wiped down the TV stand (in preparation to sell it to another person on Craigslist who ‘flaked out’ on us). We then went out to dinner to celebrate passing our house inspection (only to discover my car wouldn’t start, so we had to take the truck instead), and upon returning from dinner, my husband troubleshot the car and determined it was either the battery or alternator that went belly up. We won’t know for sure until tomorrow. After the car debacle, I indulged in a slice of chocolate mousse cake from Safeway (what ‘proper’ celebration doesn’t include some type of dessert?) while my husband and I lounged on the couch and watched ‘Misha and the Wolves’.

Oh my gosh, I just realized I missed something critical! It’s also my youngest son’s birthday!! Geesh, how did that slip my mind? Yep, 27 years ago, I had my third and final child. Twenty six and a half years ago, I went to my doctor and said, “Tie my tubes, I’m done!” Thankfully, he complied. What I want to know is, how has 27 years slipped by so quickly? It’s not very reassuring to think I only have a month to sell a houseful of furniture, pack up all of our ‘crap’, load it onto assorted crates, wave it goodbye, clean the house top to bottom, attend the closing, and commence ‘hitting the road’. Ack! With all of that in mind, I probably shouldn’t waste another minute ‘ranting’ about all of the unscrupulous people out there who try to take advantage of others (via Craigslist and Facebook) or all the different ways I’ve spent my day. I’ve got stuff to sell and boxes to pack and far too much to do before the day arrives when I need to hand over my keys. I just hope I can get it all done before we run out of time. Like the old saying goes, ‘Time flies’. And if I intend to get everything done ‘on time’ and ‘in time’, I had better stop yappin’ and get busy!!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

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