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Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . #2845477
05/05/19 02:44 PM
05/05/19 02:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline OP
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UnrightTooner  Offline OP
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Bradford County, PA
Free 7 foot Yamaha? Got some ideas what could be going on, but what do you folks thinks. Some folks from a local Church are trying to contact the seller.

https://elmira.craigslist.org/msg/d/elmira-musical-equipment-for-free/6876822985.html


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
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Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845484
05/05/19 02:53 PM
05/05/19 02:53 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,963
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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terminaldegree  Offline
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Georgia, USA
Off the top, feels scammy to me. I would contact with a "burner" email account, to be safe.


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845511
05/05/19 03:33 PM
05/05/19 03:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 497
Chernobieff Piano Offline
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Posts: 497
I would see the same thing in craigslist when i was looking for a tractor. After a while you get a feel for what something is going for. For example, a 20 year old Ford 555 would go for 8k - 12k. Then all of a sudden someone started posting ads for brand new Kubotas for 5k when they are worth 35k.
I think the scam is to get your personal info (checking acct#, card #) and then rob those accounts.
Be safe.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845552
05/05/19 06:42 PM
05/05/19 06:42 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,906
Scotland
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David Boyce Online content
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Scotland
Typical slightly odd, stilted English of a Nigerian scammer - "I lost her three years ago to a chronic fibroid", and the "God bless you". I fear this is unholy rather than pious!

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845563
05/05/19 07:35 PM
05/05/19 07:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 234
PA
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jsilva Offline
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PA
Five months ago I saw a Mason & Hamlin BB advertised for free on Craigslist. When I contacted the seller they said something similar to that ad—a relative (wife) had died and it was difficult to have the instrument around and they wanted to pass it on. I asked when I could come look at it and I never heard back. Recently I saw another M&H (maybe model A) for $200. Again I asked when I could come see the piano and never heard back. They were probably both scams.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask to see the piano...

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845601
05/05/19 10:47 PM
05/05/19 10:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 174
USA
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Lotus1 Offline
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USA
This is an identical ad to one of several I've seen recently. I responded to one, thinking it genuine, and unaware at the time of the scams on Craigslist.

The poster responded after a while, saying that he had moved with the piano, and offered to talk to the moving company about getting it to me.

Yes, he had moved with the piano instead of giving it away first! He was confident that moving the piano back "wouldn't cost me much". I smelled a rat and ended contact.

Just as I was getting completely cynical about Craigslist -- pianos in bad shape, unrealistically priced or scams, an underpriced gem turned up a couple of weeks ago and is now home with me.

Read about my adventures in this thread entitled "Yamaha or Kawai; digital or Acoustic? Couldn't decide, so ..." here:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...stic-couldn-t-decide-so.html#Post2845043

Since I ended up with a Kawai grand, I could have posted my story on the Piano forum instead of the Digital forum, but I had started out looking for an upgrade to my Yamaha digital.

Last edited by Lotus1; 05/05/19 10:57 PM.
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845621
05/05/19 11:56 PM
05/05/19 11:56 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
R
reMARKable Offline
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reMARKable  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
So sad to see that this scam team is still functioning. Wish that we could get law enforcement involved, as I have observed that it is the same team perpetuating this scam over the past year. It is obviously still profitable enough for them to keep it going. I too was tempted once and contacted them. The process was similar to the one Lotus1 reported.

In the end, we didn't lose any money as I caught on to the scam before funds were committed. The scam is pretty elaborate. Once I realized it was a fraud, my son and I strung them along just to see just how in depth they had made this and to see how desperate they would become. It was quite fascinating as I had never engaged with someone who was a professional scam artist. We went as far as generating the Western Union Money order and sent them pictures of the receipt, (minus the confirmation number obviously). It drove them nuts that they were that close. We bounced back and forth between multiple individuals on their end that represented different roles. We were able to get them to send pictures of the "piano" and pictures of the "piano" on the moving truck. At the end when I confronted them to let them know that we knew they were a scam, they went as far as to send me a picture of their drivers license as a last minute attempt to convey that they were legitimate. They actually sent a picture of a stolen drivers ID of some poor caucasian man from NY with an eastern European name like Wachowski. These individuals speak with a Brazilian accent. So the ID was pretty comical in the end. Yet, I feel for the guy who had his ID stolen.

Since then I have wondered how many Piano World users have fallen prey to this team and would be willing to share their story. If there is anyone willing to do so, send me a private message. We can add your experience to my own. Perhaps if anyone knows someone in law enforcement willing to go after them, I am pretty confident it wouldn't be hard to catch them. It isn't that hard to scan craigslist to find their latest version of the scam. I have noticed that they move it around the country and shake up the piano brands some. But they are pretty consistent otherwise.

I spent quite a bit of time reporting this to Craigslist, but I am sure all my details just went to a digital file somewhere never to be reviewed.

Again, if anyone reads this and is willing to share their experiences please send a note.

Regards,

Mark

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845623
05/06/19 12:05 AM
05/06/19 12:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
R
reMARKable Offline
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reMARKable  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
For reference, this is the latest scam paragraph.

"Attached with this post is my late mother’s baby grand piano. I lost her 3 years ago to a chronic fibroid, you might feel I am sounding foolish listing the piano for free rather than selling it. Seeing the piano around since she died really makes me sad and depressed. Kindly attach your email or cellphone if you are willing to give it a home for many years to come. Please if you plan to resell it I would urge you not to contact me. God bless you."

I will see if I can find another version on Craigslist. I have found it fascinating that they tend to select small rural towns to post their listing from.

Regards,

Mark

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845624
05/06/19 12:14 AM
05/06/19 12:14 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
R
reMARKable Offline
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reMARKable  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
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Georgia
Found another one. This time out of Las Cruces.

https://lascruces.craigslist.org/msg/d/las-cruces-musical-equipment-for-free/6879092080.html

Used the same pictures. They did alter the text a bit. The context of the message is the same.

"Picture attached with this post is my late moms piano which I am giving out for free. She died 3 years ago and playing the piano has made me depressed with the memories of the keys. She would hate if I sold it that is why I am looking for an individual or a family who is willing to give this piano a home and also a heirloom for years to come. It was last tuned 3 months ago don't think I am giving you a piece of crap, please attach your cellphone or email when replying. Cheers."

I am sure I could find a few more if I had the time.

Regards,

Mark

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845627
05/06/19 12:33 AM
05/06/19 12:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
R
reMARKable Offline
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reMARKable  Offline
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R

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
OK - Found another one - Annapolis

https://annapolis.craigslist.org/zip/d/annapolis-free-piano-for-good-home/6877472645.html

"I just moved to a new home, I have decided to give away my late dad Yamaha grand Piano based on his will. Its free to a good home, as long as you are willing to pay for moving it. This Piano as been well cared for and is in a very good condition. All the keys work and has not been used for years. measurement are 38"tall, 54" wide, 55" deep. Giving it out for free..... Please only interested person(s) should contact me on this one, thanks."

This is another variant.

Regards,

Mark

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845681
05/06/19 07:10 AM
05/06/19 07:10 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline OP
6000 Post Club Member
UnrightTooner  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
Thanks, Mark! I let the folks at the Church know about the duplicate ad in NM.

My thought was that the owner might have been looking for a dupe to hurt someone else, like in a divorce, by getting rid of something that really belonged to someone else out of spite. Or along the same lines, getting rid of something that they could no longer make payments on or was going to be taken by a Sheriff to settle a court judgment. Again, to hurt someone else.

Still, if it had been legit, what a find! Just missed a free Hamilton Studio last month for an old folks home. They answered back, so I think it was above board.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845698
05/06/19 08:31 AM
05/06/19 08:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 497
Chernobieff Piano Offline
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Posts: 497
The pictures in the one ad are not of the same piano. The piano is pictured in a home, but the reflection on the fallboard (in another pic) shows a Yamaha in a store.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2845720
05/06/19 09:37 AM
05/06/19 09:37 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
UnrightTooner Offline OP
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UnrightTooner  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 6,017
Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
The pictures in the one ad are not of the same piano. The piano is pictured in a home, but the reflection on the fallboard (in another pic) shows a Yamaha in a store.
-chris


These two ads used nearly the same pictures. One in New York, the other in New Mexico:

https://elmira.craigslist.org/msg/d/elmira-musical-equipment-for-free/6876822985.html

https://lascruces.craigslist.org/msg/d/las-cruces-musical-equipment-for-free/6879092080.html


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845727
05/06/19 10:04 AM
05/06/19 10:04 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 532
Chesterfield. MA
C
Craig Hair Offline
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Craig Hair  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 532
Chesterfield. MA
Caution is always good, but a church in my area recently gave away a Mason AA in BEAUTIFUL condition. So "too good to be true" is not as ironclad in pianos as it may be in other luxury items.
Add to that that the piano is among the last of the totemic objects in our culture; an emotional attachment to the memories embodied in the piano can easily outweigh monetary considerations. We have been given several fine pianos over the years for no better reason than that the piano buyer would refer to their family piano as a "core", and describe how they were going to take out all the parts and throw them away. It was a curious experience to be thanked for picking up something that others offered good money for. This man's wish that the piano go to a new home and a new owner rather than a warehouse and a broker is in line with this. The world of pianos is only tangential to the real world; not all the standard measures apply all the time.

Be well,
Craig


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration
Watch us on YouTube

Every 5 minute job can be reduced to three 10 minute jobs.
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845752
05/06/19 11:59 AM
05/06/19 11:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 46
heavypiano Offline
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Posts: 46
Sometimes it's helpful to do a reverse image search which will show that the pictures are not unique to the scam ad. Language in this one is a dead giveaway.



Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2845760
05/06/19 12:34 PM
05/06/19 12:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Georgia
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reMARKable Offline
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Joined: Oct 2018
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Georgia
I agree Craig. We have been the direct beneficiary of a kind family willing to ensure that their piano goes to someone committed to preserving its legacy. The story is remarkable. I still have it and my son and I are in the process of its restoration. This is one of those that will stay in the family and never be resold. So there are people/institutions willing to ensure the piano will have a life beyond their ownership. Often they are looking for nothing more than sincere gratitude in return.

This is perhaps why this persistent scam is so bothersome to me. It causes us to question the rare but sincere kindness of others willing to donate their beloved piano.

The scam by this team is pretty recognizable to those who have seen it before. It has subtle differences as they move it about the country in Craigslist but it fundamentally the same.

Regards,

Mark

Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2846424
05/08/19 11:52 AM
05/08/19 11:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Seeker Offline
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Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Perhaps filing a complaint with the FTC might help?
https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

Some years back I filed a number of complaints against a robo-caller.
After 18 months, I got an email letter from the FTC telling me they had filed charges against the company, and the company had gone out of business.

Probably back in business under another name, but... at least we slowed them down.

There's also the FBI...

Report an online scam or e-mail hoax by filing a complaint online with our Internet Crime Complaint Center or by using our online Tips and Public Leads form; To provide information on select major cases, call our Major Case Contact Center at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)

https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: UnrightTooner] #2846485
05/08/19 02:04 PM
05/08/19 02:04 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 532
Chesterfield. MA
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Craig Hair Offline
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Craig Hair  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 532
Chesterfield. MA
Seeker,
The robo-caller, was it that guy in Vegas? Oh, I hope so.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration
Watch us on YouTube

Every 5 minute job can be reduced to three 10 minute jobs.
Re: Craigslist - Too Good to be True ? . ? . ? . [Re: Craig Hair] #2846870
05/09/19 07:03 PM
05/09/19 07:03 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Seeker Offline
500 Post Club Member
Seeker  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by Craig Hair
Seeker,
The robo-caller, was it that guy in Vegas? Oh, I hope so.

Don't know. FTC never gave me that detail, just that they'd prosecuted, shut the company down. Felt good, it did.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")

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