For Sale: A Craigslist Story

A true story involving text messages, an honorable military woman, and a volcano.

I put an item up for sale on Craigslist. This is what happened.


+13477044073: is your [item] still for sale 11:29 AM
Me: Yes it is 11:30 AM
+13477044073: (1/3) I am pleased with the I would love to pay you via PayPal,the PayPal charges is on me,If my offer is accepted, Get back to me 11:31 AM
+13477044073: (2/3) with your PayPal email and your name or send me an invoice [email protected] so i can pay you right away , i would arrange pick 11:31 AM
+13477044073: (3/3) up after payment is received. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from post. 11:31 AM


So many flags. Grammar. Punctuation. “invoice.” “pay you right away.” The email address led to some more clues and the name “Charles W. Marthenze.”

And then this happened.


+17856705185: [item] still available for sale? 1:22 PM
Me: Yes 1:23 PM


+17856705185: Are you the first owner? 6:18 AM
Me: Yes, since 2001 7:01 AM
+17856705185: I hope the condition is exactly as described? 7:03 AM
Me: Of course. You’re welcome to swing by and see it in person. 7:05 AM
+17856705185: Ok,get back to me with your paypal name and e-mail so that i can proceed with the payment. 7:08 AM
Me: No, you should really come by and see it first. What part of town do you live in? 7:09 AM


+17856705185(1/6) I am an honorable military woman and you will receive your money cash in hand before this is picked up. However,it easy and free to 7:10 AM
+17856705185: (2/6) open a paypal account. Just go to & register an account.Paypal is the world leading payment master that protects both 7:10 AM
+17856705185: (3/6) buyer/seller. We are on a secured transaction with paypal. Above all, it’s like instant cash. As soon as you open an account, get 7:11 AM
+17856705185: (4/6) back to me with the name and email that you linked with your paypal account and I will have your money sent asap.I feel more 7:10 AM
+17856705185: (5/6) comfortable sending my funds via paypal due to their various security measures at ensuring safe and secured transaction between both 7:10 AM
+17856705185: (6/6) buyer/seller. 7:10 AM


Me: What branch do you serve in? 7:11 AM
Me: Answer my question and I’ll give you my name and Paypal email. 7:16 AM
Me: Hello? 7:35 AM
Me: Are you still interested? 7:35 AM
Me: I have my name and paypal email ready for you. 7:36 AM
Me: I respect you, honorable military woman! 7:36 AM
Me: You can be the second owner! 7:36 AM
Me: What is your name and Paypal email? 7:36 AM
Me: Can I just send you the money directly? 7:37 AM
Me: I guess it would be pretty far to drive from Topeka to see the table in person, huh? 7:38 AM
Me: What do you think about the condition? 7:38 AM
Me: Why are you suddenly so non-responsive? 7:40 AM


Me: I just signed up for a Paypal account and I need you to tell me what to do next. 7:42 AM
+17856705185: Get back to me with your paypal name and email to enable me make the transfer of funds. 7:44 AM
Me: ok 7:44 AM
+17856705185: What is the delay all about I am still waiting to have your paypal email and name so that I can make the payment. 7:48 AM
Me: are you ready to receive the requested information, my official paypal name and email in order to enable you to make the transfer of funds? 7:48 AM
Me: oh, I’m so excited to sell this to you!!! 7:49 AM


Me: Can I trust you? 8:27 AM
+17856705185: Why not? of course yes. 8:28 AM
Me: OK great. So you just need my name and paypal email then and you will transfer the $500? 8:29 AM
+17856705185: Yes. 8:34 AM
Me: Charles W. Marthenze, [email protected] 8:34 AM
Me: Let me know when you’ve made the transfer! You can also text me at my other phone number: 347-704-4073 8:35 AM


+17856705185: You must be a lunatic,go jump into an active volcano and DIE. 8:41 AM


13 thoughts on “For Sale: A Craigslist Story”

  1. It JUST happened to me from the same number and same email! Thanks for posting your story. It saved me a whole world of grief.

  2. Same happened to me from same guy saying he a good military man!! His new number is 7203999469 he is threating me with the fbi n jail. He wanted me pay him 300.00 out of my pocket then I could get the money for my bed im so pissed off he got my address how can we stop him why hasnt he been stopped

  3. I got the same trying to sell my car. J am in the military and called them out. The cell number I got the text from was different (347 467 5441). Screamed scam from the start.

  4. Then he is also using 3474675441… I knew it was a scam but bit to see how far he will go. Here is the transcript so far.

    +13474675441 Add – New York City, NY
    7/4/14 4:22 AM 2 minutes ago

    +13474675441: IS YOUR Hand-carved Solid Cypress Wardrobe – $1000 (La Feria, TX) STILL FOR SALE 3:37 AM
    Me: Yes it is still available. 3:39 AM
    +13474675441: (2/3) with your PayPal email and your name or send me an invoice [email protected] so i can pay you right away , i would arrange pick 3:39 AM
    +13474675441: (3/3) up after payment is received. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from post. 3:40 AM
    +13474675441: (1/3) I am pleased with the I would love to pay you via PayPal,the PayPal charges is on me,If my offer is accepted, Get back to me 3:40 AM
    Me: My paypal address is [email protected] . I will not remove the posting until the transaction is complete. Your payment will NOT include any monies to be paid to any shipping agent. You will pay them YOURSELF!!! 4:22 AM

  5. I had a very similar texting conversation with 347-467-5441 as described by dragoncacher above. This person is not to be trusted. He/she used the name Marilyn Stenberg and was insisting that she had desposited funds into my paypal account including shipping and that I needed to pay his/her shipper via Western Union. He/she never desposited funds into my paypal account.

    1. I am so glad that I looked this up before moving forward with the sell of my pool table. They are using the same name, Marilyn Stenberg at the number 347-363-5001. She wouldn’t tell me where she lived but wanted to deposit funds via Paypal. Thank goodness for google!!

    1. they insisted to pay with paypal and to arrange a pickup. If that happens you have no way to show you gave the item to them which paypal would refund the money back to the buyer.

  6. I got a message from 202-524-1162 today.. following is the conversation..

    202-524-1162: Do you still have your item ####### $165

    Me: Yes

    202-524-1162: Alright thanks and God bless. I’m willing to offer $300 which includes shipping to my pal on a peace keeping mission overseas. I’m a Sgt with USMC and i wouldn’t be able to come for pickup due to my working schedule, I will be sending the money upfront. ok?

    Me: Can you send me the address where I need to ship so that I can check whether it’s feasible or not

    202-524-1162: Here is the shipping address
    Name: Mr James Onitire
    Address: 4, Akinwunmi Street, itire Surulere, Lagos Nigeria 23401
    got it?

    Me: Yes, will get back to you.. And how will you be paying?

    202-524-1162: I can wire the money to you via money gram.. All i need is your full name, location and email so i can make the transfer.

    I am kind of suspicious about the above offer, specially after reading your blog and the comments. What do you guys think? What are my options?

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