A Craigslist Scammer Wants Me To Cash This Fake Check, What Should I Do?

Reader Sean got a package with a (presumably fake) check for $4,500. Someone from Craigslist wants him to cash the check and for his trouble, he gets to keep 10%!

I just received a strange UPS package this morning, a check for $4,500

It’s obviously a scam but I was wondering if I could get some expert advice on how to handle the situation in the best and most entertaining way possible.

I believe this got started when I posted a “roommate needed” ad on Craigslist. One girl replied right away, saying that she was coming here from another country. She also mentioned that she was having many things shipped to her here… like a BWM?!?!?

I had already given here the address and she said that her Dad was sending a money order. I had nothing bad bad feelings about the whole thing so I told her the place was already taken. A couple of days ago she emailed saying that she needed my help. She needed me to cash the check that her Dad had already sent and that I could keep 10% of it as a transaction fee.

So I’m guessing that the Craigslist ad is how these people got my address.

Should I just not respond? String them along?

Thanks in advance,


There’s really no point in stringing them along — unless you’re secretly Batman or something. You’re not, right? Anyway, one option is to collect all the information you can about these folks — emails they’ve sent, the package, all that stuff, and file a police report. It may sound pointless, but Reader Chris managed to get his Craigslist scammer arrested by filing a police report. For all you know, these people have been trying this all over town and you may have the missing puzzle piece. Or they could be in Nigeria.

You can also contact your local FBI field office and ask them if they’re interested in seeing the check. If you’d fallen for the scam, we’d advise that you report it to the FBI’s internet crime complaint center. Thankfully, you didn’t!

Sean sends an update:

The scammer contacted me again and asked if I got the check. She wants me to cash it and send the money to a person in Oklahoma who she says is a car dealer at a place where she wants to buy a car. Also that I need to send the money through Western Union. For clarification, the check was sent from a Florida address and has contact name, address and phone number.

I called the JP Morgan Chase Bank to tell them that I have a lot of contact information from someone who made an obvious forgery of their check. Chase basically said “yes, we’re aware of the problem”. I asked if they wanted any of the information, like the name and address in Florida that it was sent from. The name & address of who it’s supposed to go to? They said, not really.

I called the local FBI and they said they get lots of this and had me go to IC3.gov to report the information. I filed the report but I’m not counting on getting any response.

Well, Sean, you did everything that you could do.