Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Trying to sell my Korg M1 keyboard on Facebook Marketplace. I haven’t used Marketplace much, but I did manage to sell some winter tires and an amplifier on it before, so I didn’t anticipate any trouble.

After getting a few nibbles that never went anywhere, a woman named Zara contacted me ostensibly from Sudbury, initially in French. She had a Facebook profile featuring a single headshot and a banner displaying a photo of a baby. There were a handful of pics and posts of babies and puppies, complete with sporadic comments from alleged friends and relatives. Just enough to make you think that maybe (maybe!) this could be a real person. (She had no actual Facebook friends, though.)

Zara professed interest in the keyboard but was too busy (and presumably too far away) to pick it up herself. She proposed using UPS to both pay me and have it delivered.

I thought this was a bit strange as it bumped up the cost considerably, but hey, whatever. I went along with it initially. She proposed a time the courier would show up with the money and collect the keyboard. Fine with me. Then the kicker: I would have to pay $160 in insurance online upfront. But hey, no prob! She would ensure I was reimbursed once the courier showed up at my door with the cash.

“Heh Heh. I will admit you had me going there for a bit,” I texted her. “Seems like an awful lot of work for $150.” (Unless, of course, she or he was conducting several cons simultaneously, which seems more likely.)

“I don’t understand you,” she texted me back. “Please check your mailbox and spam. ” This was for an email presumably from UPS with directions on how to proceed.

Sure enough, there was the email in my spam folder. Pretty dodgy looking, from the following address: upsexpresslaposte225@gmail.com.

“Need better graphics,” I texted Zara. “And the gmail address is a dead giveaway.”

I provided a few more tips on how I’d conduct the con a lot better, if it were me (not that I’m an expert, but I hate seeing sloppy work).

I blocked and reported her, which doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything. Just checked Facebook Messenger; she gave me a thumbs up, evidently happy with my helpful advice. Her profile page is still up, though her banner displays a Ukrainian flag now instead of a baby.

And I’m still trying to sell my keyboard.