Military background stops craigslist scam; don’t make costly mistake

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Any other person may have simply shrugged off the fact a military person could not talk to you over the phone because they were in training in San Antonio, Texas.

Lisa Schmidt, a Boise real estate agent, says she’s been looking for a while online to find a truck. She thought she’d found one, but the person was out of area, and only focused on the dollars.

A second inquiry to another advertisement brought her anger forward. The response she received was different (spelling and grammar as written):

‘The price was reduced at $2,350 as I need to sell the truck before the 10th of June when I will be leaving with my platoon back to Afghanistan, so I don’t want getting it old in my backyard.’

Schmidt says she considered, wrote back and asked a few questions and suggested they talk on the phone about the truck.

The response was an email. It read:

‘We are training, getting ready for Afghanistan and I am only allowed to check my email. This means that I am doing a special training and I am not allowed to get out of the unit. The truck is already sealed and ready for the shipping here in the base. They will help me deliver the truck to buyers address.’

Filled with disdain, she recognized it was a scam right away.

“As a military wife and a veteran, this disgusts me,” says Lisa Schmidt, with Silverhawk Realty in Boise. “My son is in Afghanistan and I feel like these kind of scammers are making a mockery of our service members real plight.”

Having first-hand knowledge, she knew the military was not going to ship anything to anyone other than the designated home address. Both she and her husband, retired-Lt. Gen. Mark Schmidt, have been involved in the military for 34 years. Mark now operates an aviation consulting business in Boise after having commanded 12th Air Force and previously Mountain Home Air Base.

If you’re looking to buy a car online, watch for these red flags:

  • Sellers who want to move the payment process from one service to another (such as, from Craigslist to eBay Motors, or ).
  • Sellers who claim that a buyer protection program offered by a major Internet company covers an auto transaction conducted outside that company’s site.
  • Sellers who push for speedy completion of the transaction and ask payments via wire transfer payment systems.
  • Sellers who refuse to meet in person, or refuse to allow the buyer to physically inspect the vehicle before the sell.
  • Transactions where the seller and vehicle are in different locations. Criminals often claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.
  • Vehicles advertised at well below their market value. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.




Filed under News You Can Trust

3 responses to “Military background stops craigslist scam; don’t make costly mistake

  1. Mark Burrows

    It’s great that this women clued into the scam. Yet, so many are oblivious to the run around. I only use Craigslist for local purposes because I want to go see the seller face to face and inspect the product for sale myself. That way I can do on sight testing and barter. Other things that are not local I always use eBay simply because I fully understand their protocol and pay for products with my PayPal account which protects me with their umbrella if I should encounter a problem with a seller or a product. For the very few times I had to return an item through eBay/PayPal I had complete satisfaction.
    There are always risks involved in online shopping. If you wish to participate, then you must educate yourself with every protocol of doing online business. That requires reading a lot of fine print. Fine print is the world’s greatest loophole. They pack so much boring rhetoric information in small print that you want to pull out your hair going through it, but small print is legal documentation and among that small print documentation could be all sorts of nasty and costly traps. So, think about that folks when you click “I agree” before reading those miniscule Terms of Agreement that legally bind you.

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    site, this website is genuinely remarkable.

    • Mark Burrows

      I will attest to that. I have visited similar BBB sites and blogs in other areas of North America. This one is not only pleasing to the eye, it is insightful, straight to the point and by Robb Hicken and the rest of the staff. If I were in a position to grant an award for achievement in the genre of awareness on the internet, I would place this site in first place. I have enjoyed supporting this site even though I neither live in the area or for that matter am I an American citizen. I am merely highly sensitized to the issues here and equally aware. These are not just issues that impact the Snake River Region of Idaho, but it is a global crisis. I use the tools and talents that I have earned and learned to contribute, and glad to do it.

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