Saturday, February 24, 2007

Take me on

I recently became a craigslister, and have been regularly scouting out deals on furniture and other things, and have also advertised my babysitting services. I’ve had several successful transactions. Of course, I’m very cautious about what personal information I disclose. I wont even contact someone by phone unless I’m sure it’s a legitimate transaction.

A few weeks ago, I received a very interesting email in response to my advertised babysitting services. “Lisa” asked, in somewhat broken English, if I could take on her three year old daughter in my home, in addition to the “care of her laundries.” She mentioned that she had a very generous weekly budget. I was a little surprised at the quoted weekly salary, and a little confused by it, and a little wary that it was too good to be true. Keeping myself as anonymous as possible, I probed for a little more information to see if it was for real or not. How much laundry? Can she drop her child off since I won’t always have a car? Does her child have any special needs (which would answer why she was offering to pay so much), etc. I even quoted her how much a private daycare costs around here and that she could do that for less than what she had offered me.

I got a reply from Lisa, who avoided answering my questions, but asked about my credentials as a caregiver. Am I certified? Do I know CPR? Do I have a drivers’ license and how long have I been driving? All of the sudden, this became a job interview for me. But she emailed me first! I was becoming more and more uncertain of this woman, and more certain that I was being fooled.

Then I got Lisa’s next email. She congratulated me on her decision to “take me on” and told me that I would need to submit some information to her so she could wire me my payment from some client of hers in the states that owes her money, and then I send her the rest…etc. The scheme was very detailed. To be honest, I didn’t even have to read the entire thing. I just noticed the bulleted list of needed information midway down which included:

  • Picture
  • Drivers’ License number
  • Social Security Number
  • Bank Account Number
  • and many more…

My response: Ha! Nice try!

Lisa never emailed me back.

Now, I’m an intelligent person. First of all, why did “Lisa” target a stay at home mom advertising her childcare services? Do I represent a cross-section of Utah Valley that is so easy to manipulate? Second of all, should I feel stupid for letting it go so far? I mean, honestly, it was too good to be true, and the English was so broken and awkward that it should have been a dead give away. And third, is the fact that I did let it get so far an indication that I’m desperate?

I really regretted that I deleted the string of emails, because you all would have gotten a great laugh out of it (whether you would be laughing at her or at me has yet to be seen). But then I got another one today! This time it’s from James and it was in response to a Wireless Network Adapter I posted for sale. Here it is. I have made no alterations to the spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

Dear customer,

how is everything including your work,hope all is well with you?if so splendid.It afford me a great deal of pleasure forwarding you this note from my desk.While i was searching trought i saw your past .i will like to buy your goods .Pls i will want you to get to me back so we can talk more better on it.


I know, it makes the ESL specialist who is reading this cringe. And he saw my past? Woah, that’s creepy. I’m almost tempted to “get to him back” and see what the scam is this time. Maybe he knows Lisa!


Aunt Joy said...

Jenny I too wonder if James' knows Lisa. Just kidding! All joking aside both e-mails sounded pretty creepy to me. Thank goodness you caught on when you did. Keep being cautious honey! Love ya!

Sarah said...

I'm really surprised too that she would go through all the effort for a craigslist post for babysitting services! The scary thing is how many people really do get fooled by these kinds of scams - way to go not falling for it!