We don’t normally write about threats in the real world, focusing more on the online world, but in this case there’s a real threat coming from the online world – specifically Craigslist locally in the Reno / Sparks area.
For those who sell items on Craigslist there has always been a certain amount of risk involved. Some of the crimes associated with Craigslist include:
- Georgia January 2015- Elrey & June Runion went missing and were later found murdered after contacting a car seller on Craigslist.
- Boston 2009 – Philip Markoff allegedly killed Julissa Brisman after answering her Craigslist ad.
- Pennsylvania 2013 – Miranda & Elytte Barbour murdered Troy LaFerrara, after he responded to a Craigslist ad placed by Miranda.
- 2012 Ohio – Brogan Rafferty and Richard Beasley used Craigslist to lure people to a fake ranch then robbed and murdered them.
- 2007 Minnesota – Katherine Ann Olson was murdered after replying to an ad and agreeing to meet Michael John Anderson about a nanny position.
- 2015 Atlanta – Gangs allegedly use fake Craigslist car ads to lure victims and rob them.
- 2015 Washington – 2 teens were kidnapped and robbed after answering a Craigslist ad for a car for sale.
- 2015 Texas – Victor & Sergio Torres were arrested and charged after allegedly robbing the person who responded to their ad selling a Suzuki motorcycle.
The list could go on and on and on.
So this morning when this suspicious email arrived in one of our employees in-boxes it seemed important to get the message out to the area before there’s a news report that begins Reno / Sparks, Nevada 2015.
This person did indeed have an item offered on Craigslist this weekend and this would be a genuine reply to that ad, the “Original craigslist post” took you there until it was deleted this morning. However, there are some red flags in this email, such as “this item” that should make people stop and consider whether it’s a legitimate offer for purchase or not.
The obvious concern is this is someone or several people trying to lure victims to a parking lot where they could be robbed or worse. As out in public as a Walmart parking lot might seem, unless you’re parked right at the front there’s a lot more privacy in those parking lots than you’d initially think. There is a sense that you’re being told something about the person with the email address, but using two women’s names is more likely a ruse to put you at ease.
This email has been reported to the local authorities who said this email is unusual as most of the Craigslist scams they see involve a scam for money with no in person meeting; it’s the here I’ve sent you $1000 for a $500 item, send me the change scam. It’s not until after you’ve sent them their “change” that you discover the $1000 check or money order is bad or forged.
Always be safe when using Craigslist to buy or sell items!