Not in My Town, Craigslist Fraud Artist

[originally posted here to]


This is tough to say, but here goes…

I got scammed on Craigslist.

I know. I was blown away. Me? I was born well before yesterday and make (generally disregarded) claims to be the mayor of the interwebs. But, I’ve decided to take this lemon and make some digital-activation-case-study lemonade.

So, my core strategy is really taking both what’s good and evil about the internet and turning it into a force for Vengeful Good. No, that’s not a term accepted in most religions, but it’s a principle that certainly exists online. You know there’s nothing we love to see more when perusing the web than someone getting what’s coming to ‘em. My mayoral plan:

Step 1: Activate loyalists within my social network 
Her alias is Mable Harris and she can be reached at or 312.671.5698 (just dial *67 first to hide your caller ID, then call and yell anything you need to get off your chest). I tweeted this info and received a few noble retweets as well as some fun call stories (special thanks to @breckdaddy, long time friend of Denuo). It warmed my heart to see the good citizens of the interwebs come to their loyal mayor’s defense. The learning? If you can’t count on loyalty, at least offer a rewarding experience… ideally involving yelling.

Step 2: Leverage my opt-in database 
In this case I reported her to all those companies that claim they’re ready to listen and act on behalf of their customers. And when I say all, I mean all… even those with no skin in the game: Ticketmaster (she sold me fake tickets), Better Business Bureau (she’s not even a business), and Craigslist (actually, Craigslist makes no claim to listen, but I tried anyway) to name a few.

Step 3: Low-cost buzz generation 
Every local media outlet is looking for recession stories. Of course, “local crime increases in tough economic times” is an old favorite, so why not make my story the poster child? I can totally do a heart-wrenching interview, even if it is over email. So, I reached out to a few news outlets and exposed Mable for what she was. No evening news special yet, but I’m told PR is a finicky practice.

Step 4: Steal her identity 
Well, this isn’t quite true (insert disclaimer about Denuo not condoning such behavior). But, I did register her phone number in some databases and raised her hand as someone waiting eagerly to hear from a number of relevant brands, domestic and international. Especially international.

Ok, so maybe that last one isn’t much help in building my case study. And maybe I’m not the mayor after all.

Here in Illinois, that behavior makes me more like the governor.



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