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:

Hi,

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:

Hello,

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

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4 Comments

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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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