A stranger called Beth. He knew where she lived in Manhattan, in the upper West side. He knew Beth had a fireplace in her bedroom. Beth’s apartment was not for rent, but the caller saw an ad on Craigslist saying it was. Beth did not place this ad.
After investigation, Beth found someone was running a version of the 419, or “advance fee,” scam, using Beth’s name, address, and photos of her apartment gleaned from her blog…
When Beth asked Beth to see the apartment, Beth said said she was in Fremont, CA and could not show it. When Beth asked if a super or a friend could show it, Beth offered to overnight the keys, after Beth moneygrams $1500. If Beth didn’t like it, Beth would send her money back.
When she asked to speak to Beth, Beth said, “I would love to speak with you by phone but I can’t because I’m a deaf-mute person and I am teaching in CA for a deaf-mute school.”
Beth has no recourse except to ask Craigslist to remove the ad every time it goes up.
She searched far for an agency to take up her complaint and the only one who will is The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), co-sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
Be careful what you reveal about yourself online. People can aggregate it and masquerade as you. Honesty may be in vogue, but that needn’t extend to your personal details, like address, phone number, and pictures of your apartment. — BEN POPKEN