So I’ve been thinking of upgrading the 15 year-old TV I got for $7 at a garage sale. It’s been good to me, but lately its picture has started to blur and its color has started to fade. It actually lasted about 2 years, which is 23.5 months more than I expected to get out of it.
So, as is my nature, I used the lethal combination of Craigslist and RSS Ticker to start looking for LCD or plasma TVs. I’ll most likely end up buying one from Circuit City just for the peace of mind of knowing it’s brand new and has a warranty, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to look for a deal. (As an aside, if you have a new TV that you’re happy with, feel free to recommend it to me.)
A few days pass with the only results being clocks with LCD panels or wall units designed to hold plasma TVs, but then this morning, I saw a listing for a 32? LCD HDTV for $450:
THIS HAS 2 MONTHS OF VERY LIGHT USE AS ITS BEEN IN STORAGE MOST OF THE TIME SINCE I GOT IT, AND THERE IS 2 YRS WARRANTY ON IT, ORIGINAL RECEIPT AND WORKS GREAT. IT ALSO COMES WITH THE CABLES AND WALL MOUNT. I’M SELLING IT BECAUSE I NEED SOME MONEY URGENTLY TO SETTLE SOME ISSUES. EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE INTEREST.
I looked up the TV at a retailer and saw that it normally sells for $1200+, so my scam-o-meter jumped pretty high (‘settle some issues’?), but I figured that it couldn’t hurt to check it out, so I e-mailed and asked for more information, a better picture, etc. Also, the posting didn’t carry the normal ‘this is in or around City X,’ which I found suspicious.
A couple hours later, I received a reply from one Fatasha Ruffin:
The TV is still available for sale and in great condition it also includes the warranty which is having 2yrs on it.I’m selling it so cheap becasue I need an urgent payment to take care of an issue I want to assure you of one thing that despite the fact I’m selling it so cheap it is still working perfectly and I have only used it for 2 months.
Ok, her story jives with the posting so far’
It is at fedex location in wyoming .
Please don’t get confussed about the TV at fedex location in wyoming
Oh, ok, because I was pretty confused. Thanks for the reassurance.
the reason is due to the fact that I almost lost it to a scammer there so I had to instruct fedex to hold it up for me at their office.
Those darn scammers, trying to take advantage of poor Fatasha.
If you are interested in buying it I’ll not be able to receive cash because I’m kinda busy working on a case in Florida right now.
Apparently she’s a lawyer or a social worker’ Maybe a detective.
all I will need to proceed is your contact info so I can get it shipped to you.
Great! My name is Chris Finke, my address is – oh wait, maybe I should read the rest of the e-mail.
As for the payment Money order or Western union will be ok. But, I would prefer you making the payment through western union money transfer because that will be much easier and convenient to me. once I get the plasma shipped to you,
Plasma? She must mean LCD; it’s ok, lots of people get them mixed up.
I will provide you the shipment label and tracking number for you to confirm it has been shipped. Once you confirm it has been shipped you will send ($150) part of the payment upfront and when the TV gets to you, you then send me the remaining balance. you can reach me at (850)3030084
Alright, all joking aside, this is where it becomes completely completely obvious that it’s a scam. She sends me the tracking number for some piece of crap, I send her $150, I get said piece of crap, she disappears. Assuming that she must have pulled this kind of thing before, I search for ‘Fatasha Ruffin’ and get a few hits:
Here, she was selling a 50? plasma that she had only had for three months for $450. She had a different e-mail address, but she was still selling the tv ‘because I need an urgent money to take care of an issue.’ She must have a lot of issues.
Here, the TV is once again a 50? plasma (only $400, what a deal!), but the e-mail address has changed again.
Fatasha has also tried to sell high-end TVs in Ohio, New York, Maryland, Austin, Georgia, Ontario, DC, North Carolina, Halifax, and Winnipeg using the e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her 850 area code means she (or he) is somewhere in northern Florida, and the 303 prefix maps to Lynn Haven, FL, but WhitePages.com happily tells me that the number is a cell phone, so no hope for mapping that to an address without the carrier’s assistance.
So, to sum up: Fatasha is a scammer, I’ve spent way too much time on this, but at least all of this information will now be spidered and accessible outside of cached deleted CraigsList posts. If I’m not the #1 ‘Fatasha Ruffin’ search result in a week, I’ll eat my hat.
Oh, and by the way: I tried calling her number several times, but it was always busy. She must be very busy working on her case.