It began innocently; an acquaintance suggested that I run an advertisement in the Recycler©. I was selling my washer and dryer. I already asked friends and family if they wanted to purchase the pair. The machines were also offered to the buyers of my home. Realtors were contacted; surely, they would know of someone that needed a like-new washer and dryer. The duo is the top-of-the-line, in mint condition, and is barely three years old; they are Whirlpool Calypso’s. They will sell easily says the companion. “Place an ad in this periodical and they will be gone,” he reassures me. The chum tells me that I can submit the classified online; I do.
The public notice is free and that works well for me. I received an email almost instantly. A man named Luis Spencer wants more information. He requests photographs. He inquires of the condition, and what is my bottom-line price? We mail back and forth. I share all the details and Luis declares his interest. He will pay my price. He states that an associate of his will arrange for the shipping, he is writing from England.
Luis Spencer assures me he will pay with a certified check.
Later, he reveals that his associate owes him $4500 dollars. The business partner will send the full sum to me and Luis would like me to take my share and wire the remainder to him. I immediately respond that this does not feel good to me. I write, merely have the colleague send the money he owes to Mr. Spencer and then Spencer can pay me.
Dear Luis replies, it is too late; the check is in the mail. He asks me to be trustworthy and he offers God’s blessings to me. Mr. Spencer suggests that I get in touch with him once I receive the monies. He will tell me where to wire the funds. I assure him that the moment the note arrives; I will drive straight to the bank and then to Western Union. I have no desire to delay.
Therefore, I ask that he send me the information now, for I do not feel good about any of this. I want to get his money to him immediately, if not sooner. I really want nothing to do with this “extra” money.
I promise him I will photocopy the check and all papers received, inclusive of the envelope. I will disburse the currency as soon as I receive it.
Luis does not submit a response in his usual timely manner. I write . . .
“I do not understand the delay in sharing information. I requested the name and telephone number of your associate so that I might know whom I am working with. I also need your contact information. I need to know where to send the money and who will pick up the machines. Without this, I feel great concern. The sending of such a large sum to me, the lack of specific information . . . it all makes me very nervous. I am troubled, very, very troubled. I am not a person that hesitates. If the check arrives, I will want to take care of it and all issues involved with it immediately. I will travel from the mailbox to the bank and then Western Union.
I am very concerned. Why no information? Please help me to understand!”
Finally, I do understand. It is as I supposed, a scam, or at least the attempt to.
A day later, I received another mail, this one from Williams Thomson. He is in Texas. There were differences and similarities. I responded to the first of Williams’ mails, just in case. By the second mail, he too offers God’s blessings. I felt vindicated. This man too was willing to spend more to buy and ship used machines than he would have if he purchased the same new. Sellers beware! Others cannot genuinely give God’s blessing. Remember, it is said; God helps people who help themselves.