Classified spam

Years ago when the McKinleyville Press first started receiving oddball emails asking for classified ads to be placed in the newspaper, we actually fell for it and printed a couple of them. Since our classified ads are only $2 a pop, we figured we’d just run the ads and hopefully the people who submitted them would send us the money in a week or two. (That’s how it often works with a small town newspaper.)

But these folks never responded to our emails, and within a short amount of time it became clear that it was some sort of Nigerian-based scam.

Here’s a typical email:


Am giving two of my yorkie puppies away for so i will like to place it in your pet classified section. I want the ad to appear in both online and on your newspapers. The ad text is TWO YORKSHIRE TERRIER IS FREE, IF INTERESTED CONTACT email redacted ASAP.

I will be waiting for your respond to let me know what i will need to do to get my ad start in your next edition.

Thanks and God bless you.

Paul White.

Here’s one that we received today:


I want to place a help wanted advert for a nanny/aupair on your daily/weekly newspapers and also in any of the following Career-Builder,Monster Jobs or Yahoo-Hotjobs? I want it to run for 7days,so let me know the quote to run my ad

Below are my Ad details

Babysitter needed. I am looking for a babysitter urgently for my 3kids,you will be paid $600 weekly,and car will be provided, just take care of our babies for us, email. EMAIL ADDRESS REDACTED.

Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Thank You



Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “Classified spam

  1. AJ

    Running any ad from out-of-the-area that smells of scam is disrespectful to the readership. I’m thinking of ads that are far more obvious than this pet thing (for example: many work-at-home ads), and yet newspapers everywhere run them in exchange for very little money.

    Merely coming from out-of-the-area can be criteria for being kicked to the curb. When Craigslist voting is working, non-local (yet legitimate) advertisers get voted off as spam. That’s one way to look at them — as spammers, if nothing else.

  2. jackdurham

    I agree with you. We ran one or two ads advertising free dogs. As soon as we figured out it was a scam, we stopped running them.

  3. I wonder what is the purpose for these kind of requests. Could the email we receive requesting to place an ad harm us?
    for example:
    ello, My Name Is Richard duane hobbs..I Want To Run An Classified Ad In Your Newspapers Let Me Know What to do…

    If I answer to this request they give me a credit card info and they insist I should be the one entering the card info not them.

  4. jackdurham

    Good point. I think the idea is that the newspaper will run the ad, hoping to get paid at a later date. Then a reader responds to the ad to obtain the job, a free puppy, etc. That’s when the real scam begins. In order to get your free puppy, you need to send a check to cover the cost of dog food, or something. That’s my guess.

    Years ago I created a special email account using a fake name. I responded to all sorts of spam to see where it would go and how the scam would unfold.

    But they never responded to me. Go figure. I felt like George in that Seinfeld episode in which he gets upset because the cult doesn’t try to convert him.

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