How much trouble am I in?
July 16, 2009 6:52 AM   Subscribe

So, I inadvertently sent my phone number and address to a Craigslist Scammer. What problems could this pose me?

So, I fell for one of those "seems a little too cheap" Craiglist housing ads. I didn't send the guy any money, but I did send him an e-mail, and I foolishly forgot to leave off a signature containing my phone number, name, and address. What's the worst thing he can do with this information, and is there anyway to stop it?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total)
If he contacts you and you let him know you think he's a scammer and want nothing to do with him, I don't think he'll waste much time on you. Once the scent of money's gone, he's probably got better things to do, like ripping off someone else.
posted by echo target at 7:25 AM on July 16, 2009

Don't get paranoid: with the exception of your email address, you didn't give him any information he couldn't get from a phonebook.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:29 AM on July 16, 2009

Yep. There's a concept call "Personally-Identifiable Information" (PII) in the biz. It's things like unique account numbers, Social Security numbers, PINs, etc. Things that are either unique to you or that only you should know. The idea is that by knowing (or being) these things, a third party can be confidently assured that you are who you say that you are.

While there's an intersection between pieces of non-PII that can be used to identify a person with some degree of confidence, that confidence level isn't high enough for most material purposes. That is to say I could probably order a pizza for you, but I likely couldn't open a new bank account.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:40 AM on July 16, 2009

I did this too. He emailed back and told me that before he could show me the house, he needed my social security number so he could pre-screen me. I emailed back that I was forwarding his email to the cops. I never heard from him again, and as far as I can tell that was the end of it.

So in sum: don't do any idiotic things that you don't need to be told not to do, like give a stranger your social security number. You will be fine.
posted by craichead at 8:18 AM on July 16, 2009

« Older How to "lock down" Windows on a home PC   |   Handling Crushes as A Married Person? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.