paulbeard Profile picture
17 Oct, 12 tweets, 3 min read
Anyone among my followers who knows scams, specifically money laundering through craigslist (or something like that)? Someone offered to buy something I listed and sent what appears to be a stolen check for 10X the amount…obvs not cashing it.
Bkgd: I offered a bike for sale on CL for $200 and someone replied with a full price offer + $50 to hold it. Said he would send a cashiers check (I should have stopped there but people are weird: why not PayPal/venmo?). Got email from Fedex to expect a package from Florida (!).
Package arrives with a business check — not a cashiers check — for $2,250 from a business in central Michigan. Immediately a text comes in to say the pkg has arrived, followed by an email. Thing is, I sold the bike locally for full price, as I told the scammer I would.
Now I guess I'll call this business on Monday and see if they are missing any checks or if they really can't find a serviceable bike locally for that kind of money. Blocked the scammer and I expect this is over. I should frame this radioactive check as a reminder to be smarter.
The third party (whose FedEx account was used to send the check) confirms it's a scam. So this may not be the first time this trick has been played. Ah, well, I think I passed a test here, in some small way.
It took me a minute to pretend I was @JimBrowning11 but I think I have the nut of this graft: it's the shipping. The item they wanted to "buy" was a token, and the check for almost 10 times the value was the barb of the hook. A check for $2000+ would get anyone's attention.
My threshold is far lower than that, though not as low as Donald Trump who would endorse a check for 5¢. The "shipper" was someone known to the scammer — a confederate, as Holmes would say — as they have already said.
So the play is for me to deposit a worthless check, pay some ridiculous price for shipping which they would expect in cash (untraceable) or some other means they could shut down before anyone tried to recall the funds.
They get the "shipping costs" which would hit my bank account once the worthless check was discovered and the deposit reversed. So the clues were right there: the sketchy terms (no one pays by cashiers check for a $200 item)…
The fact it was shipped overnight by a business with no record of the transaction (fake @FedEx airbill?) was another. And the fact it was a business check with nothing else in the envelope, nothing in the memo field, no note or anything.
The fact that there was nothing in the envelope and the item was not referred to by name in subsequent comms tells me this is a "fire and forget" scam…set up a whole bunch of these with burner emails and phones, see who takes the bait, and then see it you can get them to play.
And another red flag was that they wanted the ad taken down so no one else could take their token off the table…too late. I had another buyer already. As I say, people are weird so I'll humor them but this has been an education.

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More from @paulbeard

16 Oct
Rent control is one of those ideas, like "term limits," that tells you how much someone has thought about the problem. Not much, it turns out. I wrestled with rent control until I read Progress & Poverty and learned how land value, not shelter rent, is the driver.

We already have term limits: they're called "elections." And anyone who can win, in a fair and equally-funded race, can stay in office as long as their constituents say. But "fair and equally-funded" are where we need to put in some work. The power of incumbency is real. 2/
So with rent control. It looks like an easy fix…limit what landlords can charge for rent. Boom: done. But this completely misses the rising value of land, rising tax assessments, and how that means properties decline or become vacant, as the capped rent doesn't pencil out.
Read 8 tweets
15 Oct
Thought experiment for the urbanists, housing advocates, etc.

If you could buy a house in NE Seattle (98115) for $216k with a $5,000 land rent, forgoing the value of the land or you could pay $500k for both, which would you choose?
If you buy the house and rent the land, you would pay $1,226.42/month vs $1,975.60/month…$750/month that you would spend on any number of other things. Sure, you get more mortgage interest to deduct but is it worth it?
I realize this may not get any traction at all, what with my 800 followers, but maybe some more connecter person can amplify it.
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr
I hear a lot about "affordable housing" in Seattle and other cities that are showing both strong economic growth and a tight housing market. My interrogation of this tells me that without affordable land, affordable housing is a dead letter… 1/ #LVT
Here is the property tax assessment for a modest 4 BR house in NE Seattle…note the price of the land relative to the house. Note how the land gets more expensive, eventually passing the value of the house. But isn't the house all that you want? 2/ #LVT
I mean, what can you do with the land? You can't farm it or mine it. It's zoned residential so you need special permission to run a business out of it. So why buy it? Why take on a much larger mortgage just to own something you can't use except as a place to keep a house? 3/ #LVT
Read 14 tweets
29 Feb
BBC News - The boss who put everyone on 70K.

Has it really 4.5 years since @DanPriceSeattle put his money where his beliefs are?

I have been thinking of how Seattle's income/wealth inequality affects the business community as well as the workers. 1/…
Think of the things that people like me won't buy as renters…

We're not remodeling kitchens or bathrooms so plumbers and contractors are missing out. We know landlords aren't doing that either… 2/
We're not landscaping or planting trees or gardening, if we are able to rent a house rather than an apartment. The landlord will cut the grass but no more than that. 3/
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
‘Why should I bother to come downtown?’ | What if there was more to downtown than shopping? 1/…
What if operating rents were managed, not at the retail (customer) level but at the wholesale (rentier) level? What if we could make downtown about experiences vs purchases? It would be interesting to see how many people go d/t just to be where something might happen. 2/
Outside of Capitol Hill and a few blocks around Benaroya/SAM what is there downtown after hours? Driving to a function a few months back and all 5 of us, all of us longtime Seattle residents, couldn't remember the last time we had been to the downtown core. 3/
Read 9 tweets
5 Oct 19
This is interesting. A couple of things that came to mind…
1. Costco stores are (almost?) always located in outlying areas/suburbs/exurbs, making car travel a necessity. To make that easier, they sell cheap gas.
2. Part of the big box store model is land — owning that scarce resource and extracting rents from it. Some of these chains hold the land in a separate business unit and rent it back to the retail business (which would seem to prove the value of land rents).
3. Costco stores — as well as other similar chains — are measured in acres, not sq ft. That's a lot of land that could be making money for the people who made it valuable by putting in utilities and building the roads that connect it to its customers.
Read 7 tweets

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