Spam-and-scam artists attacking Craigslist computer/electronic classifieds for Chinese websites


“Barton understood the common denominator in people –  that most people can be appealed to at their basic core:  Greed.” (MSNBC American Greed)

A chintzy internet scam with apparent ties to the Chinese mainland seems to be metastasizing throughout the web while attacking Craigslist world-wide with bot generated spam. But in the wider scheme of things, Craigslist doesn’t seem to be the only target. Reports from the web indicate that the racket runs the whole gamut from computers to colon cleansing concoctions. Backed by flashy-but-trashy looking websites, and the promise of electronics and designer doodads for the price of a song, the scam is spawning new websites,  even as old ones get shut down or compromised by internet watchdogs.

Craigslist HQ Logo

Craigslist.Org H.Q. in San Francisco, CA: The free ads upstart that has become carrion for internet spam-and-scam vultures. The irony of this is that these vultures would have nothing to feed on if Craigslist had no wherewithal to restrain them and thereby sustain itself and the vibrant marketplace it has engendered.

The Ultimate Perplex: Despite what one would consider common sense on top of prominent warnings by Craigslist and anti-scam websites, people are still being scammed and ripped off with promises of cheap electronics, shoes, clothes, and accessories. And by cheap we mean goods that are being advertised at 33% of what they would otherwise cost in a legit store.

The trend boggles the mind until one realizes that the scammers are relying on the greed, ignorance and the relative naivety of internet newbies  to provide them with a fresh “meat”. And they increase their chances by spawning more websites and spamming everything from Craigslist classifieds to its community forums. This  trend represents a subversion of internet-driven entrepreunerialism (characterized by low overheads) and Chris Anderson’s long tail economics.

Cyberaxis first became aware of the growing problem in early February of 2009 when evidence of spam-and-scam infiltration became highly visible on the computers and electronic classifieds of the New York and San Francisco webpages of Craigslist. There has since been evidence of an ebb and flow to the infiltration with Craigslist and the spammers deploying measures and counter-measures  with varying degrees of success.

Craigslist is (a bit) like the old Soviet Union. They rule with an iron fist of censorship but they are also slow to respond.  (Kokomo, CL Apple/Mac Forums 11/03/09)

To date, company sources and analysts say spam has just been a nuisance, but  the implications of even moderate success on the part of spammers can have ominous implications for Craigslist.   Check out “Inside Craigslist’s Increasingly Complex Battle Against Spammers” by John Nagle.  Could this be the Capitalist’s revenge by proxy?

The Two-headed Monster – Spamming & Scaming:  Spam is nothing new to Craigslist but there is a difference between spamming and jamming. Spamming debases the Craigslist user experience by filling the classifieds with redundant, useless or non-local ads. And jamming takes it to a whole new level by flooding local classifieds with spam to a point where the locals almost give up on finding local ads because of the need to wade through endless spam crap to get to them.

This should be the first tip-off as to the motives of  spammers currently jamming the  New York computer/electronic classifieds and trying their darndest to infiltrate the flagship San Francisco website.

To get a perspective on things, you really have to think like a local who just wants to buy a used widget from your neighbor Bob or someone across town.  Now given that scenario, are you gonna trust a spammer, two continents removed, just because they are selling a MacBook Pro for the price of a song? Are you gonna trust someone who doesn’t leave you or your neighbor Bob  space to advertise your wares in your own local classifieds? Hold onto the  thought if you haven’t gotten the gist of this yet.

Letter to Cyberaxis from Craigslist user, Jay, 11/06/09

I have just been scammed by these A$$H01E$!! at http://myelecshops.com/ !!

I knew that it was to good to be true before I did it, but I decided to gamble anyway. Well, I lost.  After I sent the required $300 to them, I received an e-mail saying that they had received the maximum amount of money for the year, and  could not accept any more Western Union payments.  So I went to Western Union and they said  they couldn’t  do anything  about it at that point.

I am not complaining because I knew going into this that this was probably too good to be true. Don’t do like I did. Please follow the old advice; “If it seems to be good to be true,  it usually is.”

Jay, Craigslist User, (See other  responses at end this article)

The spammers currently attacking Craigslist have been reported to be scammers,  and with each wave of bot-generated spam, they have become emboldened to the point of rubbing Craigslist’s nose in it.  (And Craigslist, which seemed caught up in its own annus horribilis with the Phillip Markoff/Julissa Brisman cause celebre,  seemed relatively powerless to do anything at the time. We could not blame them. The legal, human and P.R. stakes associated with the  case were just too high to ignore. But we digress.) The scammers involved in the current attack on Craigslist seem to be based in China, the location of scam website servers notwithstanding.  (The actual servers could actually be off-shore or anywhere in the world.) The  waxing-and-waning evidence seems all over the New York computer/electronic classifieds.

The  San Francisco computer/electronic classifieds have not yet succumbed to the onslaught because of the vigilance of the flagging community in San Francisco. But the flaggers will,  sooner or later,  need more than a wish and a prayer from Craigslist before flagger-fatigue sets in. The section intermittently gets cornered, with sporadic breaches  being made, especially at night when the flagging hordes are asleep. There is always the hypothetical chance of the site being over-run (like the New York or Toronto sites at points in the past) which would be the cyber-equivalent of the parasite killing the host.

UPDATE (As of 8/23/09) Whether the recovery/cleaning up of the New York website is the result of new CL filters or more aggressive flagging on the part of New York Craigslisters  is not yet clear. Bottom-line: The problem persists. There is also new evidence as of October 2009, of the Toronto computer classifieds being hit.

The big question: Now if spam-and-scam artists can hit Craigslist at will like this, what is there to stop the anti-Craigslist lobby from hitting it across the board with nonsense postings just to undermine its free ads platform and promote competing schemes? (Read that monetized alternatives.)

Think of the Craigslist user in affected areas. Where do they go right now if they want to browse or post in the computers and or electronics section? Get the point?

Partial list  Craigslist sites that have been hit: (Look for this to change from time to time)

San Francisco Computers and Electronics Classifieds

New York Computers and Electronics Classifieds

Los Angeles Computers and Electronics Classifieds

Chicago Computers and Electronics Classifieds

Atlanta Computers and Electronics Classifieds

Boston Computers and Electronics Classifieds

Toronto Computers Classifieds

You can usually identify the scam ads by the unusually low prices and idiosyncratic or nonsensical location information. The write-ups are usually cut and dried and look like they were copied and pasted from product write-ups from company or manufacturer web pages. They are done in about the same style and layout.

Blanket Warning to Craigslist Users: Do not send money to these spammers-and-scammers. Check out a verbatim post out of Miami Dade Craigslist:

________________________________________________________

south florida craigslist > miami / dade > computers & tech

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee . More info
DO NOT WIRE MONEY  TO JIANHUAN GUAN FROM WWW.SERVICE158.COM. IT’S A SCAM (CHINA)

Reply to: sale-ktyrz-1137774825@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?] Date: 2009-04-24, 10:14AM EDT
http://www.service158.com is a scam. I wired hundreds of dollars on purchases from their website they only accept wires so I wired them the money I never heard from them ever again and they never sent my products it was a scam! If you see their posting flag them we have to keep them out of our craigslist community and if anybody by the name of JianHuan Guan asks you to wire money to him/her do not do it this was the person that scammed me. He might had changed the website name because other people have also posted that they’ve been scammed by this same seller. He can change his website name and even his fake American name he use as a representative JianHuan Guan calls himself Chris but his real name cannot be changed because wires require you use a government ID to prove your identity in order to claim money wired to him and his real name is JianHuan Guan! Do not wire a penny to him he’s a scammer with a professional website that doesn’t send what you purchased from him.

  • Location: CHINA
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 1137774825          Copyright © 2009 craigslist, inc.

_____________________________________________________

Craigslist Spam and Scam List: Please do not buy from or interact with these scammers! The contact information of these apparent spam-and-scam websites is maintained here as cautionary registry. Please do your own research via Google and other search engines to reach your own conclusions.

The New Hide & Seek Trick: While most will put out their contact information right inside the ad, a few have started withholding that information in the hope that you will reply to their baited ads with your true e-mail address. Some newer websites are posting without phone numbers or physical addresses or what passes for them.

Notice how they use the same chintzy template. Someone who is really familiar with China should do some basic research into the addresses presented on this list and do a corresponding write-up. Some, if not all, are probably fake or made up, but it would be interesting to find out from someone who is familiar with the lay of the land.

Please have updated security and anti-malware software before clicking on these websites, if at all. (You can get free versions of AVG or Avira Antivir from the web as part of your security net.) Some of the spam-and-scam websites on Craigslist have have been reported by Google as attack websites – which is really  great public service. See the Google advisory on Safe Browsing towards the end of this post. And FYI, you can read more about malware and virus disseminating websites at stopbadware.org and related site you can find via Google.

Please Note:  Most of these websites may be now be defunct as the result of being jammed or closed down by official or unofficial action.

1. http://www.rich-deal.com (Probably defunct)
MSN:r.ichdeal@hotmail.com”>r.ichdeal@hotmail.com
Email:r.ichdeal@yahoo.com”>r.ichdeal@yahoo.com
Address: No. 88 East of Quinghua’s Rd
Haidian District, Beijing, China.
Tel: 0086-010-83270641

2. http://www.service158.com/ (Probably defunct)
MSN: service.158@hotmail.com
Mail: servce188@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-83250647
Address: 2307 Yuanyangshiji, Haidian District.
Beijing, China.
Tel: 0086-010-83250647

3.  http://bargaineb.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: No. 108 YuanYangKeji Haidian District
Beijing, China.
MSN: bargaineb@hotmail.com
Mail: bargaineb@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-86199634

4.  http://ebchain.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: No. 108 YuanYangKeji Haidian District,
Beijing, China.
MSN: ebchain@hotmail.com
Mail: e.bchain@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-83270634

5.  http://iseller168.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: Room 2018, SongGang Mansion,
Bao An District Guangdon 518105, China.
MSN: iseller1688@hotmail.com
Email: iseller1688@hotmail.com
Tel: 0086-010-86263601

6.  http://captin-b2b.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: No. 2307 Yuanyangshiji Haidian District,
Beijing,  China.
MSN: captin-b2b@hotmail.com
E-mail: c.aptinb2b@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-81863897

7.  http://olx118.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: Room 2013, Zhongguancun Mansion,
Hai Dian District Beijing 100088, China
MSN: olx118@hotmail.com
Email: olx118@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-86263601

8.  http://export-sell.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: No 2307 Yuanyangshiji Haidian District,
Beijing, China.
MSN: export-sell@hotmail.com
E-mail: e.xportsell@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-81898105

9. http://www.tutvw.com/ (Probably defunct)
MSN: tutvw@hotmail.com
Email: tu.tv_w@yahoo.com
Address: No. 118 Dongshong Street,
East City Region, Beijing, China.
Tel: 0086-010-81155361
Tel: 0086-010-86360794

10. http://www.wto198.com/
MSN: wto-198@hotmail.com
Address: No 2 Donghuan Road, Tai Hu Town,
TongZhou, Beijing, China
Tel: 0086-0377-66978060
Tel: 0086-010-89869000
Address: No 24 198 Lane, Silk Factory Road,
Nanyang City, Henan Province, Beijing, China.

11. http://www.ebay188.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: Room 2018, SongGang Masion, Bao An District,
Guangdon 518105, China.
MSN: e.bay188.com
Email: e.bay188@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-86263601

12. Webpage: http://www.hi8888.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: Room 2018,  SongGang Mansion,
Bao An District, Guangdong 518105, China
E-mail/MSN: hi88.88@hotmail.com
MSN: laptops.8@hotmail.com or electronics8@hotmail.com
Tel: 0086-010-86263601

13.www.stores-seller.com (Probably defunct)
http://www.stores-seller.com/
MSN: stores.seller@hotmail.com
E-mail: s.toresseller@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85925754
Address: No. 108 YuanYangKeJi,
Haidian District, Beijing China.

14. www.fair-cheap.com (Probably defunct)
http://www.fair-cheap.com/productinfo.asp?id=5956
MSN: faircheap@hotmail.com
E-mail: faircheap@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85925784
Address: No. 108 YuanYangkeji
Haidian District, Beijing, China

15.www.store-hot.com (Probably defunct)
http://www.store-hot.com/
MSN: store.hot@hotmail.com
E-mail:s.torehot@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-859265
Address: No 10 Huayuandonglu,
Haidian District, Beijing, China.

16. www.well-deals.com (Probably defunct)
http://www.well-deals.com/
MSN: welldeals@hotmail.com
E-mail: welldeals@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85925765
Address: No 118 Dongzhong St.
East City Region, Beijing, China.

17.  http://www.yebyshop.com/ (Probably defunct)
Address: No. 108 YuanYankeji
Haidian District, Beijing, China
Tel: 0086-010-85925754
MSN: yebyshop@hotmail.com
E-mail: yebyshop@yahoo.com

18.  www.etcvictor.com (Apparently defunct)
MSN: etcvictor@hotmail.com
Mail: etc victor@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85925797

19. www.fair118.com (Apparently defunct)
MSN: fair118@hotmail.com
E-mail: fair_118@yahoo.com
20.  www.buy-2009.com
MSN: buy-2009@msn.com
Email: buy2009@188.com
Address: Room 2013 Zhongguancun Mansion,
Hai Dian District, BeiJing 100088, China

21.www.latest-sell.com (Probably defunct)
MSN: latest-sell@hotmail.com
Email: latest.sell@yahoo.com
Address: Room 2013, Zhongguancun Mansion,
Hai Dian District, BeiJing 100088, China

22. http://www.ripe-deal.com/ (Probably defunct)
MSN: ripedeal@hotmail.com
MAIL: ripedeal@yahoo.com
TEL: 0086-010-85926554
Address: No. 88 East of Qinghua’s Road,
Haidian District, Beijing, China

23. http://www.sage-buy.com (This  has been reported as an attack website.)
MSN: sagebuyl@hotmail.com
MAIL: ripedeal@yahoo.com
TEL: 0086-010-89887994

Newer Websites

24. http://toptog.com/company.asp?id=5
Business Manager: Amy Chen
Business MSN: toptog2008@hotmail.com
E-mail: toptog2008@gmail.com
Notice the lack of purported brick-and-mortar address or phone number. This is a new twist.

File this non-electronic website one under “highly suspect” for not having a physical address and a phone number (verified or otherwise) and relentlessly spamming Craigslist forums  on top of  steering prospective “customers” towards questionable payment schemes without a verified brick and mortar location or verified professional association. the same shady payment schemes.  This website is listed as a spammer at blacklisted.spambag.org. Their supposed “sales people” offer extra discounts if you buy lots of stuff and  send your money via Western Union . Automatic red flag right there!

They do take credit cards even though they try and steer new customers towards Paypal (Another red flag). Their credit card information window asks you to give  out all your information, which can lead to an outright rip-off or identity theft when you are dealing with a company that does not have a verified physical address, phone number or professional affiliation. You are basically sending your vital credit information to a nameless, faceless company, thousands and thousands of miles removed from home.

25. http://www.35usd.com/index.asp
Company:      TANGCHAO Trading Co. Ltd
ADD: FUZHOU ,FUJIAN,CHINA
MSN :     love35usd@hotmail.com
Email:  love35usd@gmail.com
(Please note that this website has the same model and scheme as http://www.toptog.com)

Here is their payment instruction for 35usd.com quoted verbatim, typos and all:

In order to protect our customer’s interest and avoice scame, we  accept paypal as payment. If you want pay by Western Union,pls contact our live chat  to get our payment info,then you need to do:
1. Find a local client of Western Union. You can visit http://www.westernunion.com , on which you will know how to do and where your local agent of western union.
2. Fill our information of Western Union in a Tabel and send the money.
3. After you send the money,you will be given a receipt,in which you will see the MTCN (Money Transfer Control No.). Please tell me the MTCN.That will be OK.

26.  http://www.waredeal.com/
Address: No 10 Huayuandonglu Haidian District,
Beijing, China,
Tel: 0086-010-89887994
MSN: waredeal@hotmail.com
E-mail: ware_deal@yahoo.com

27. 27. http://www.mutualshops.com/
Address: No. 108 YuanYangKeji, Haidian District,
Beijing, China
MSN: mutualshops@hotmail.com
E-mail: mutualshops@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85926585

28. http://www.deal-bar.com/
Address: No. 3 Dongzhimen South St.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
MSN: deal-bar@hotmail.com
E-mail: dealbar1888@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-85926578

29.   http://www.tops-bargain.com/
Address: No 10 Huayuandonglu Haidian District,
Beijing, China, Tel: 0086-010-85925797
MSN: topsbargain@hotmail.com
E-mail: topsbargain@yahoo.com

30.  http://www.eshoppingsky.com
MSN: eshoppingsky@hotmail.com
MAIL: eshoppingsky@yahoo.com
TEL: 0086-010-85925764
NOTE: There is no physical address given (for what its worth).

31.  www.happyuse.com (Probably defunct)
MSN: happyuse6@hotmail.com
E-MAIL: happyuse6@yahoo.com
Tel: 0086-010-86263601

32.  www.elecstrading.com
MSN: electstrading@hotmail.com
E-MAIL: elecstrading@yahoo.com

33. http://richshoping.com/

MSN: richshoping@hotmail.com

E-mail: richshping@yahoo.com

Tel: 0086-010-81818073

Address: No 13, HuaYuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China

33.    http://goalprofit.com/

Address: No. 6 Chaowai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

Tel: 0086-010-89183742

E-mail:  goalprofit@yahoo.com

MSN: goalprofit@hotmail.com

34.  http://choicestbuy.com/

Address: No 3A Dongzhimen South Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China

Tel: 0086-010-89155346

MSN: choicestbuy@hotmail.com

E-mail: choicesbuy@yahoo.com

35.  http://firm-deals.com/

Tel: 0086-010-86177041

MSN: firmdeals@hotmail.com

E-mail: firmdeals@yahoo.com

36.   http://vividsshop.com/

Mail: vividsshop@yahoo.com

MSN: vividsshop@hotmail.com

Tel: 0086-010-86350394

Address: No 36 North Third Ring Road East, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China.


The names of these fraudulent websites may change but their basic modus operandi remains the same. They are virtual copies of each other (Same or similar software & interface). We wouldn’t be surprised if they are put up by the same individual or group of individuals. Look for new ones to crop up as older ones get outed, busted or closed down.

Red flags & some useful pointers for investigating these scam websites:

1. Check  prices of  goods being advertised. If they are too good to be true, they probably are.  Remember behind every bait-and-switch scam is a naked hook. The real catch they are angling for is your money.

2. Check the Whois database for the names, places and contact information associated with the company and or website. What e-mails are associated with the website? Are they free e-mail accounts from Yahoo or Hotmail?(Red flag right there. Reputable companies tend to have company e-mail tied into company websites and domains. Fly-by-night scamsters tend to rely on free e-mails which they can dispose of on the fly.)

3. Check the period of registration in the Whois database. Is it a long-term registration or simply a one year registration? (Red flag. Fly by night scamsters opt for shorter registrations to allow them to ditch any website that gets outed.)

4. Check the preferred method of payment for goods. Requests to wire money or use Western Union made out to an individual as opposed to a company should be an instant red flag. Craigslist clearly warns people against the Western Union moneygram thing.

5. Check Google for other reports and reviews about the company, including what Google has archived in cache form. If the collective reports are negative, hold onto your money as onto Jesus. :)

6. Google “Chinese scams” and read up on the reports of different kinds of scams being perpetrated. It may be  a cliche, but yes, knowledge is power.

While at it, here are more tips for verifying the authenticity of a company in China (even though language may be  something of a limiting factor):

http://resources.alibaba.com/topic/17530/Tips_for_you_to_verify_Chinese_companies_.htm

7.  Check the status of the website your are researching on sites like www.sitetruth.com.

8. Finally, any company that is unscrupulous enough to spam Craigslist the way these Chinese websites have spammed Craigslist is probably not gonna be scrupulous about not screwing  you out of your money. Their eggregious intrusions speak volumes about their ethics and concerns for the locals beyond their shores.

The Wider World of Spam and Scam-ology: The Postini map below shows that  scam’s are a world wide phenomenon with continental and regional clusters with common characteristics. They  spread quickly within regional underworlds. The Chinese model targets people in ways that are  somewhat different from the Nigerian and European scams. The use of a crude but flashy website with unbelievably low prices, represents a sub-type that has metastasized quickly among operatives on or off the mainland. (Where mutual greed is involved, language and or cultural barriers are rarely a deterrent. European and Nigerian scammers have proved that beyond a shadow of doubt.)

The spam-and-scam list on this blog is thus  a minuscule tip of the iceberg. For more information on the wider world of  Chinese scammers please check out these two websites:

1. “The bigger list of Chinese Scams”:

http://www.firetrust.com/en/blog/chris/the-bigger-list-of-chinese-scams

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for an exhaustive list of scam websites that have been included for one reason or another. The criteria are mentioned in the article. This list is very helpful as a starting point of your own research. Caveat: The  “Firetrust.Com” webpate is  linked to a commercial product called “Sitehound”  which is  an anti-scamming toolbar. It comes in two versions: The basic version which is free and the enhanced version which  is being sold for $29.95.  We are not necessarily endorsing this product. You can read up on it on Google and make up your own mind as to  whether it is a valuable investment to you.

2. Fraud Watchers website:

http://www.fraudwatchers.org/

3.  Scam-checker website

http://scamchecker.net/website-scam-checklist.html

4.  Have security software on your computer that will detect attack  sites that may have malicious ware downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge. One such site that was blocked by Google for suspicious activity in September of 2009 was  sage-buy.com.

Please Note: We will update this list as new websites and contact information becomes available. Meanwhile, you can read the other  Cyberaxis article on the spam-and-scam problem here.

World spam activity map. Source: Postini Inc.

World spam activity map. Source: Postini Inc.

copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com

Appendices:

Feds seize 150 websites in counterfeit crackdown (Alicia Caldwell, Associated Press – USA Today, November 28, 2011)

 

China Scams (Hobotraveler.Com) Reported examples of people scammed.

How to check a Chinese scam site

Craigslist computer and electronic classifieds in New York San Francisco under bot spam attacks (Cyberaxis)

Beware of Craigslist Scams: CBS Video

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4858957n

Chinese Scammers Launch New Offensive by Lain Thompson

Inside Craigslist’s Increasingly Complicated Battle Against Spammers

Internet Crime Complaint Center

52 responses to “Spam-and-scam artists attacking Craigslist computer/electronic classifieds for Chinese websites

  1. I’ve been wanting to buy a computer but its just soooo hard ….

    Peter

  2. Hello

    I just wanted to say something that might sound a little harsh. If you are stupid enough to wire a complete stranger some cash, especially if he or she is in another country like China, thinking that you are getting a great deal, THEN YOU DESERVE TO GET RIPPED OFF !!

    Spam/Jam or whatever!! If you cannot meet the seller in person, then it’s more than likely that you are gonna get scammed !!

    Floyd M

  3. I don’t think the point is that shoppers are losing their shirts on wire transfers – because I agree that if you’re stupid enough to send a wire transfer to an oversees seller in 2009, you’re a gomer – but for legitimate sellers and legitimate buyers (like myself) the marketplace has become useless, like a neighborhood shopping district overrun by criminals and hoods. These Chinese spammers have ruined a great piece of American virtual real estate, and the FBI should absolutely be involved in prosecuting the offenders.

  4. Why can’t they get caught? There must be something linked to the money (like a passport number, proof of residential address, social security number etc, etc ) when a scammer collects the money.

    Editor’s Note: This response was submitted by the scammers themselves. (The temerity!) It had a live link to the scam website “fair-cheap.com” which we removed.

  5. Wow! Thank god I read this. I was going to buy a laptop from them.

  6. We have to be diligent about flagging these ads that’s all. If we are they will eventually go away. Here’s a tool that lets you flag multiple bogus ads based on search criteria:

    http://nospam.softmastergeneral.com

  7. AGHHH I have been scammed by stores-seller.com. I just can’t believe I have been scammed. Now I just was wondering why the site “stores-seller.com” doesn’t work anymore. These people add people in Skype. My friend told me to check another site and when I did, I realized, OMG! that it was the same as “stores-seller.com”. The new scam site http://www.yebyshop.com, made me realize what scammers these people are. They are now using different emails and the number 0086-10-85925754. I hope these people get caught and sentenced to life behind bars.

  8. It is interesting to see that one of the scammers. “Fair-cheap.com” had the temerity to respond with a link to their website (which we removed). Hhhmm …. Someone must think they are a cross between Einstein and Attila the Hun. (Their response in question is posted under the handle Braam. We had to clean it up for grammar and syntax.)

    This is exactly the attitude these low-lives have towards Craigslist: Post with impunity and then try to rub people’s faces in it. They are, among many others, the effluvia of the internet realm.

    The interesting thing though is that some of the shady websites have closed down. (See the numbered list of scam websites.) Associating the Chinese mainland with some of this low-grade thievery cannot be in their own interests, regardless of where their servers or collectors are located.

    The Editor – Cyberaxis
    (Remember the words of Chaim Bertman,
    “In the venom, is a whisper of the antidote.”)

  9. I was scammed by yebshop.com. First they told me that they were offering free shipping, then after I sent them the money, they told me to send US$60 for customs. At that time they told me that the item had been shipped even though they had indicated earlier that the item could not be shipped until October 10th.

  10. Yebyshop.com, who scammed me out of my money, is now http://www.myelecshops.com. Be warned! (See my story above.)

  11. Do not send money to this person named “YinGmei Shang” in China in connection with any stuff ordered online. (See my story in connection with http://www.yebyshop.com which is now http://www.myelecshops.com. Be warned!)

  12. I was initially searching for an Ipod on Craiglist’s when a seller was promoting their website myelecshops.com. I checked it out and was amazed at the incredible prices. I had ruled out the possibility that this was a scam based on the fact that a lot of things are now made in China. I thought the low price was the result of cutting off the middleman. So I binged and googled the site for scams and any kind of bad rep the company might have and lo and behold, there was!

    I also found another site with the same web format; fair118.com. I checked out the price of a Dell XPS 1710, it was for $300 versus the $3000 you would pay in the States. That’s 90% savings. It was just too good to be true.

  13. Same thing Mignon.

    I was looking for a Nokia n97 on Craiglist, Toronto. Fair118 and Myelecshops.com both offered too good to be true prices, so i added both on my MSN like the webpage suggests. Lo and behold before long I got myself to the same “Linda” even though I was supposed to be dealing with two different companies.

    I decided to play along, with them during the live chat. They needed my info, so I gave it for them:

    SUCK MI PENIS
    1341 NICETRY RD.
    Toronto, Canada
    ON HAHa HAHa

    Needless to say I never heard from them again. :)

    Rudey

  14. TO SIMONE:

    I was just wondering. After paying the unit price, shipping and the Custom cost… did you get your package?

    Vincent

    • Vincent was that question a joke? If not, you should read a little more before asking a crazy question like that. If it was a joke, it wasn’t funny at all!

  15. The Toronto Craigslist electronics and computer listings are absolutely over-run with Chinese spam now. They are almost unusable.

  16. Myelecshops.com is stupid …

  17. I have just been scammed by these A$$H01E$!! at http://myelecshops.com !!

    I new that it was to good to be true before I did it, but I decided to gamble anyway. Well, I lost. After I sent the required $300 to them, I received an e-mail saying that they had received the maximum amount of money for the year, and could not accept any more Western Union payments. So I went to Western Union and they said they couldn’t do anything about it at that point.

    I am not complaining because I knew going into this that this was probably too good to be true. Don’t do like I did. Please follow the old advice; “If it seems to be good to be true, it usually is.”

  18. I found most of these websites have the same address and I spent many days trying to find the address in Google maps but I couldn’t.

    I know China has a lot of cheap things to buy, but the only way you can guarantee that you get your stuff is to go there on vacation and buy it in person. I know of a friend who bought a complete house-load of stuff from China, from clothes to furniture.

  19. I was scammed by thepurityshop.com in China which has the same address as all of the others. What is my recourse?

    I sent cash by Western Union, and no I’m not stupid …. maybe too trusting of other humans but not stupid. Western Union wants me to deal with my local police. I am wondering if it will help.

    • It never hurts to report these scammers to a wide range of anti-scam organizations including the police, but it doesn’t mean you will get your money back. The Western Union form of payment gives them ultimate control over a transaction that is already weighted in their favor because of distance the progression of the transaction. (In the progression YOU pay first before they even lift a finger and if they send you a brick, you have next to zero recourse beyond reporting them.)

      Reporting them however will make it tougher for them to scam others and possibly lead to their being closed down if you hook up with the right watchdog:

      http://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4381

      In your case, the website that scammed you seems to have been closed. Please note that while China may be the collection point of this particular scam, the websites in question may be hosted anywhere in the world.

      The Editor – Cyberaxis
      (Remember the words of Chaim Bertman,
      “In the venom, is a whisper of the antidote.”)

  20. WARNING: The latest scam web site posted by these guys that I know of is http://direct-buye.com.

  21. WARNING: Here are 2 New chinese scammer sites I have come across. Please do not order anything from them:

    http://www.watchesshow.com
    Organization : ni lu yang
    Name : ni lu yang
    Address : shejie road 111#
    City : 360100
    Province/State : 360000
    Country : 910000
    Postal Code : 8433232
    Fax : 086-0473-3243254

    _________________________________________________________

    http://www.watchesmine.com
    Organisation Name…. GOAL EXPLORE LIMITED

    tianhenanlu119hao

    Guangzhou
    510620
    GD
    CN
    Admin Name……….. Hu Yalan
    Admin Address…….. tianhenanlu119hao
    Admin Address……..
    Admin Address…….. Guangzhou
    Admin Address…….. 510620
    Admin Address…….. GD
    Admin Address…….. CN
    Admin Email……….
    Admin Phone………. +86.2087501900
    Admin Fax………… +86.2087501900
    _________________________________________________________

    Thanks

    Taner Ozbek

  22. They have moved beyond the computer/electronics section of the NY Craiglist and now infiltrated the artist section (amongst other non-relevant sections).

  23. Well on the lighter side Craigslist has been a worthless place for me to try and sell anything. Any given posting I make there nets me about 50 spam/scam ads.

    I will post my website here and I am sure they will delete it, but either way it is legit and I do NOT accept wire transfers! My website is http://www.callcompupro.com . I sell electronics and no scams!

  24. People who get ‘fooled’ by these kinds of scams must know they’re making a charitable donation but like to make a game out of it.

  25. I just found another scam site showing up on Chicago and Minneapolis Craigslists. It’s called choicestbuy.com. Their main website is located at http://www.choicestbuy.com . They have a US version at http://www.choicestbuy.com/index.asp and a Euro version at http://www.choicestbuy.com/eur/index.asp

    Their prices are soooo incredibly low they have to be a scam.

  26. Shiningdeal.com is a scam: http://www.shiningdeal.com

  27. Firm-deals.com is a scam. Web address: http://www.firm-deals.com/

  28. OMG! I nearly fell for those stupid S***ES. LOL!

    I’m gonna order a whole load of stuff and not pay it ….

    Here is another one of those scumbag sites:

    https://www.shiningdeal.com

    Go get them boys!

  29. Thank God I checked this website. I was about to go to Western Union to pay for a $285 iPad. $285 for an iPad is too good to be true. I want to warn everyone to look out for these places.

  30. Your info. was very helpful. I was almost taken by vividshop.com located on this website: http://vividsshop.com/ .

    Thanks to my wife, I went on the net and found you guys. Thanks.

  31. I read this and had to wonder, do people actually see these ads on CL or anywhere else, and actually fall for them. And the answer is a resounding, yup, at least judging from the comments here.

    So far (knock on wood), I have yet to pay for something, here in the states or China, that didn’t show up. But then I have always made sure of what I was buying and who I was buying it from. And have bought many things on Ebay and CL. Though on CL it has and always will be local purchases only.

    I will say the repeated information for the non-net savvy, is very good. “If it’s too good to be true”, and they want cash in the form of Western Union, skip the ad and keep looking. Unless the CL poster happens to live near you, (meaning driving distance you are willing to drive), better to just pass their offer and click next.

  32. BEWARE of elec-sell.com – http://elec-sell.com

    They are also SCAMMERS! They have pretty much the same kind of page layout that myelecshops.com has. I guess some of us honest, trustworthy people need to learn that most people can’t be trusted. LOL!

  33. I just found another scam site showing up on Chicago and Minneapolis Craigslistst. It’s American counterpart is located at http://www.cnnshoe.com . Check out how much a Louis Vuitton bag goes for on this website:

    http://www.cnnshoe.com/views/LV-Handbag-New-371-91063.html.

  34. Dear my friends,

    I am absolutely flabbergasted by the fact that in this 21st century with people trying to evolve a more secure world, China is not doing enough to restrain these rogue/scam websites, still thriving on the internet.

    I came in touch with http://www.zol-trade.com which I found very interesting. I contacted them and finally decided to buy a Sony Laptop. I transferred USD $486 by Western Union, which they confirmed receipt of by mail, but surprisingly asked for another USD $200 to be paid to their customs for reasons that were completely vague.

    I realized at that point that it was scam and I had just become a victim of a fraud. It is really difficult to understand that in today’s world an individual can dupe others so easily and still remain active (You can check this website for yourself. It is still active). I have never heard of any other websites duping others in open daylight like this. I am initiating a complaint with supporting documentation if there are associations that may be willing to help me out with this investigation.

    Regards

    P. S. Roy

    • We do not not want this article to turn into a launch-pad for China-bashing because that would be misguided. The reason our article focuses on China is because the operatives’ addresses – the ones they use for the money drop-offs. They all seem to be in and around Beijing. However when it comes to internet scams, the entire world is the scammer’s playground with notable concentrations, in Western and Eastern Europe, the United States and a couple of spots in South America. (Check the scam map attached to the article.) West African scammers, although not represented on that map, are the stuff of pervasive urban legend. So China happens to be the focus in this article because the scammers who post in Craigslist have money pickup operatives in China. However the associated websites could be hosted anywhere in the world. Most of them seem to be made from cheap templates that can be set up in minutes.

      Our advice for you is to not raise your hopes about getting any of your money back. You should by all means report the website to appropriate agencies in the hope that it would be shut down even though there are no guarantees that another would not pop up in its place. That is how intractable this problem is. If governments could snap their fingers to snuff this thing out, we are pretty sure most would.

      There are several bodies you could report this to, starting with this Google list:

      http://www.google.com/search?q=reporting+internet+fraud+scams&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

      The anecdotal evidence supporting that reporting works is that a lot of the older websites have been snuffed out. You can check this out by clicking on the older websites on our list.

      Good luck.


      The Editor – Cyberaxis

      (Remember the words of Chaim Bertman,
      “In the venom, is a whisper of the antidote.”)

  35. Please make a note similar websites like the one mentioned above, are also thriving in similar fashion in the internet:

    http://www.zol-trade.com
    http://www.zol-us.com
    http://www.zol-japan.com

    Regards

    P. S. Roy

  36. Please rethink, rewrite and resubmit your comment. As is, your reasoning or what passes for it, is so convoluted we do not know where to begin. In the first instance think scale. Then avoid trying to associate apples with oranges while thinking straight.

    The Editor – Cyberaxis
    (Remember the words of Chaim Bertman,
    “In the venom, is a whisper of the antidote.”)

  37. It is so easy for the Chinese Scammers to rip the unwary off, all details must be looked at and scrutinized. Read my story below:

    Do not trust companies listed on “made-in-china.com” for example “Hangzhou Weifeng Electronics Company Limited.(MR. LUIS PENG)” or “WH HuangChao trade Co.,Ltd” – http://www.xinxinxr.com or any site referred by made-in china.com this rule does not only apply to made-in-china.com, all Chinese sites are extremely corrupt and full of scams and should be dealt with using great care to detail.

    For an extensive list of Chinese scam sites see:

    http://www.firetrust.com/en/blog/chris/the-bigger-list-of-chinese-scams

    IN BRIEF – The scam involves the victim joining a website for example,: “made-in-china.com”. The victim browses sites listed on “made-in-china.com” webpage for products & info, the victim sends emails via the “made-in-china.com” website to contact alleged legitimate supplier/scammer for pricing & details. Very soon after these enquiries are made, the victim is contacted by the scammer who is in reality one of the sites contacted earlier for details. The scammer uses a fake email address very similar to the site you have joined that is,: made-in-china.com recommendation comittee@gazeta.pl or similar whereas a real address would be liangchao@made-in-china.com the aim is to make you feel like you’ve been contacted by “made-in-china.com”. The fake email welcomes you to “made-in-china.com” and goes on to advise you not to buy from any companies until the “Recommendation Committee” has done company checks for you as they have had problems with both buyers and sellers. If you miss the address anomaly then you are at the mercy of the scammer. He can and does recommend his own non-existent sites, you order from the recommended sites and pay by Western Union which the false site insists on for initial small/sample orders. A false tracking number is supplied to the victim but nothing actually gets sent, the scammer claims the goods got sent to Nigeria and so on but your in Australia he asks for more money to resend to you and so on, or alternately you get something entirely cheap, nasty & different. The list of scam variations goes on …
    For my full story see:

    http://forum.firetrust.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=8028

    Regards,

    Ken

  38. I would advise never sending money to anyone over the internet. Classified ad services are simply to connect two parties to exchange products and services within your community. Millions of people hit these websites everyday and you are bound to get a scammer or a spammer, fraud is an everyday thing and we need to learn more on protecting ourselves from these types of scams.

  39. I was scammed by openelecshop.com. Beware of them.

  40. BEWARE of openelecshop.com!

  41. The following two web links contain discussions of an alleged scam by a website that appears to be non-existent now. Whether it was deleted or disabled after a complain is not clear at this point. This links were submitted Lara from a Spanish IP address. Here is an almost verbatim sample of what she submitted (Editors note):

    “Chinese address swindled me:

    Opinions in forums:

    ** http://community.ec21.com/forum/viewtopic.jsp?topic_id=27628

    ** http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk/forum/supplier-discussion/114575-really-unsure-suppliers-please-help.html

    Google search talking about these scammers -

    *******************************************************
    Data Scam

    • Contact:Nancy // Juan Huang
    • Website: http://www.etradewinner.com
    http://charmingtrade.en.ec21.com
    • Email/MSN: etradeservice@hotmail.com
    • Company: EtradeWinnerInternational Co,Ltd
    • Registration No.: 330103000024702
    • ADD: Suite1207, Tower 1, Plaza48, 1201 West Zhongshan Rd
    • City : Shanghai
    • Country:China
    • Postal code :200235
    • TEL: 086-150-5544-6415
    • IPS :
    112.123.71.209 // 112.123.66.201

    *********************************************************

    PAYEE First name: Juan
    PAYEE Last name: Huang
    SWIFT CODE: ICBK CN BJAHI
    ACCOUNT NUMBER /BEN’S ACCOUNT: 1309 0800 0122 3585 464
    BENEFICIARY’SADDRESS:Anhui,China.
    BENEFICIARY INTITUTION: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,Anhui branch

  42. This hidealing.com web site is a scam:

    http://www.hidealing.com/info.asp?id=41

    I transferred money to a “Bank of China” account and got scammed. Why isn’t the Chinese government doing anything about these scammers. I filled out a complaint form. They have phone number and an email address.

    How is it that these scammers can easily open a bank account without much of an identity? Banks or other financial organizations need to established policies for online trading. Is there any rule of law, regulation or policy in that country?

  43. Pingback: Articles on internet scams at Fight The Scams

  44. Is there anything I can do to get my money back
    or can I report them in any way?

    I paid http://www.waysell.com $400 for a TV, then they told me to pay another $200 for taxes, so my dumbass paid it. Now I’m stuck without the TV I paid for and not knowing what to do!!

    Fucking bastards!!!

    • Just consider it an expensive lesson. It could have been worse. There are stories of retirees who have lost their retirement nest-eggs scammers.

      Reporting the scammers never hurts. Just don’t expect to get your money back or you will be disappointed again. IC3 or the Internet Crime Complaint Center is not a bad place to start in most cases.

      http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

      After please research websites that receive complaints specifically from people who have been scammed by websites connected to the Chinese mainland.

      The Editor – Cyberaxis
      (Remember the words of Chaim Bertman,
      “In the venom, is a whisper of the antidote.”)

  45. I just came across a Chinese scammer website called http://www.uniqueregion.com while looking through Craigslist to buy a HTC Thunderbolt smartphone.
    The cheap pictures of Asian girls holding the electronics tipped me off that it wasn’t quite right so I Googled the phone number and thank God for this forum because I had no idea they were doing this.

    After reading through this article, I noticed this website I came across wasn’t listed, so I just want to warn everyone to stay away from http://www.uniqueregion.com as well.

  46. I setup this site to help fight spammers and scammers:

    http://craigslistspam.com/

    Funny how much traffic I started seeing from Nigeria!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s