Hello, My Name is Jeff.

This is my monoblogue.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Bowen

with 5 comments

thirdmanalleyThursday February 12, 2009

I swear, if I had a nickel for every time the Dame has told me to get rid of my guitar amp, I’d be under investigation by the IRS.  Jeff’s the name, and in days past, the big amp used to sound the beat of my heart.  That was back when my heart was a six-string electric guitar, and the boys and I played under the name Triple Bypass in basements and garages in our suburban paradise.  These days, my heart has two broken strings, and the amp sits facing a corner gathering dust.  I still get a nostalgic buzz whenever the dust gets kicked around in my face and cakes in my lungs like cigarette smoke.

But nostalgia means less to the Dame than a Betamax tape, and now she’s telling me to get rid of the amp again.  “Alright,” I say. “I’ll get rid of it.”  I mean to speak as if getting rid of the guitar amp is my idea, but her smile tells me my place.  Deep down I know I’m just playing into the Dame’s hands like a toy soldier.  I should feel uneasy at the lack of control, but I kicked the illusion of control a long time ago like a bad habit.  These days I know I’m playing the patsy, but I can’t help it.  A smile from the Dame makes me feel richer than Donny Trump, and keeps me coming back for more.

The next day, while the Dame’s out counting coins in the warehouse district to the tune of 10 bucks an hour, I’m sitting in a comfy chair, typing, and snapping photos of the product in our second story apartment.  I post the classified to a place where I figure some interested body’ll see it.  I figure my ad seems friendly and legit enough.  I can’t tell though, so I pound my computer keys like meat tenderizers to soften it up even more.

Bandit 65 Guitar Amp – $180 (Provo)
Reply to: sale-1033480694@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-02-13, 1:07PM MST

Peavey Bandit 65 Solo Series

20″x9 1/2″x18″… LxWxH dimensions
200 Watt Amp
High Gain and Low Gain inputs.
A little dusty but in great condition.
Works great. Maybe 10-15 years old (I got it used).
Can get really loud! I’d keep it, but don’t have room for it in the apartment since getting married.

$180.00 obo

I know the “can get really loud!” segment sounds stupid, but I want to come off sounding just like everyone else on Craigslist: stupid.  And I figure I’ll charge 180 bucks ’cause it’s an antique.  But no one bites and I start getting restless.

Finally after nearly a week, I get a tug on the line.

ben bowen
<8bbowenn@gmail.com>    2009/02/19 7:33
To: sale-1033480694@craigslist.org

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

I would like to know if this is still available

The message is short and sweet.  No embellishment.  I figure Ben Bowen is the kind of fish I can deal with.  Just to be sure, I make sure this guy’s local.

<jeff@***.com>    2009/02/19 8:26
To: ben bowen <8bbowenn@gmail.com>

It sure is.  Do you live in the provo/orem area?

The response comes later that night, but something’s wrong.

ben bowen
<3bbowenn@gmail.com>     2009/02/19 20:16
To: Jeff <jeff@***.com>

Thanks for the prompt response, I am satisfied with the explanations and condition stated at craigslist and i will love to make an instant purchase.  I will pay an extra $50 for the posting to be taken down from Craigslist.I should be rest assured that the item is reserved for me and will also like you to know that i will be paying via bank check, which will be over night payment due to the distance .You also dont need to bother yourself  with the shipment, my secretary will take care of that. I will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate my secretary to cut the check.

Your full name,Your mailing address be it residential or postal address, and Your phone number.

I will have my mover come over as soon as you have the check.


Ben Bowen doesn’t have to dodge my question like a bullet for me to know there’s nothing local about this stooge.  The whole deal he’s proposing reeks like chicken fat that’s left sitting in the kitchen trash can too long.  In the seedy world of Craigslist, your only friends are Franklin, Grant, Jackson and, when necessary, the occasional Hamilton.  Taking a bank check is like accepting a knife in the back.  And I don’t particularly care for unnecessary surgeries.

On top of that, I can only guess that the “mover” is none other than some local tough with a crowbar looking for some fresh goods to move to market.

But I’m nobody’s sucker.  I send the following, and be sure to act civil:

<jeff@***.com>     2009/02/19 21:56
To: ben bowen <3bbowenn@gmail.com>

I’m sorry “Ben”. But I will only deal in cash.  I hope you understand that this sounds like a scam.  I apologize if this is inconvenient.


I don’t expect a reply, so it’s like throwing my own surprise party when he doesn’t answer.  I figure he’s off putting grandma’s china in the back of an unmarked truck and swallowing grandpa’s retirement.  There’s millions of gullible fools on the internet who eat stuff like this up, like it’s the last roast beef dinner before Armageddon.  That’s why in this town, it pays to be a universal skeptic.  If you want my advice, keep your collar up and your eyes open.  And if you get “a limited time offer on Oprah’s acai berry diet” remember this lesson: you’re better off buying my guitar amp.  It’s still for sale.  And the Dame’s still chiming away until it’s gone, like a grandfather clock at midnight.


Written by Jeff

March 12, 2009 at 8:47 am

5 Responses

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  1. Over the last three days I have had a very similar experience with obviously the same “Ben Bowen”, this time from the email address 19.bbowenn@gmail.com. You can have lots of email addresses if you want to, of course.

    He offered an extra $50.00 for an item that I was trying to sell on Craigslist if I removed the posting and accepted a certified check from his “mover” who would pick the item up. I went along with him this far so as to discover exactly which con he was trying to pull.

    In his last of four emails to me he claimed that his “secretary” accidentally wrote the check for $3,500.00 instead of the $175.00 he had promised to pay for the item. He asked me to cash the check anyway and the send the $3,325.00 overage to his “mover” by Western Union.

    This si one of the oldest intrnet scams around. What happens is that you cash an authentic-looking but worthless check, in this case for $3,500.00, at your bank, send the con artist most of the money, and then when your bank discovers that the check is valueless the bank charges YOU the entire amount (in this case $3,500,00).

    Last night I reported this person to both the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Task force, but these characters are usually very slippery and I don’t expect anything to come of it. It might, though, because this “Ben Bowen” doesn’t seem to pull off this scam very well.

    At least I’m not out any money or property. Also, I’ve reposted the Craigslist ad for the item and I think that I have a legitimate local buyer for it at the advertised price.

    Edward Murdoch

    March 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

  2. I had a very similar experience with a 1bbowen@gmail.com who replied to my craigslist posting about a flute. He said he would like to buy it via bankers check and his secretary would take care of the payment and his mover would come get it since he was going on his honeymoon. He also offered to pay me an extra 50 to take down my posting. He never told me where he was located though. Very suspicious. I Emailed “ben” and told him i was no longer interested in selling the flute.


    July 11, 2009 at 9:14 am

  3. Loved this post! Hope you get to sell that amp.


    August 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

  4. I got this guy too. Here is my experience.

    He replied to me about regulators.

    From: 1bbowenn@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: Concoa Regulator – $150
    Date: August 7, 2009 12:50:06 PM EDT

    I would like to make an outright purchase, so i will appreciate it if
    you can withdraw the advert from the web.I will pay an extra $50 for
    the posting to be taken down from Craigslist. I just got married some
    days ago and im presently on my honeymoon.I will be paying via
    certified bank check.Furthermore my mover will be coming over for the
    pick up..as i might not be available for the pick up myself but am
    OK with the information from the ad. My secretary will handle the
    payment.I will need the following information details to make payment
    arrangement 1,Your full name to be on the Payment.2 ,Your postal
    address.3,Your phone number both land and mobile.4,Your postal
    I will really appreciate it buying this item from you.So you get me
    the required information for your payment to be issued asap.
    Thank you.

    Unfortunately, I did give him my info… Just to see what he was up to.

    He took his time and here was his reply

    From: 1bbowenn@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: Concoa Regulator – $150
    Date: August 9, 2009 8:49:17 PM EDT

    Thanks for the details provided, I will forward your details over to my secretary and she will be sending you the check once drawn from the bank. I will email you Once I have an update from her that the check has been mailed for you to watch over it to arrive your location. Normally it should take just about 1 to 2 working days to reach your place. Thanks once again I will get back to you.

    I said cool and asked him some questions…

    From: 1bbowenn@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: Concoa Regulator – $150
    Date: August 11, 2009 5:18:43 AM EDT

    How are you doing? Itwas just brought to my notice that my secretary has posted the payment already, but there was a slight error i guess we can handle with care, instead of the actual amount, she made out the check for $3500 she claimed that was what i requested but she didn’t get that straight. So once you have the check please cash it and deduct the money for your goods plus $50 that for your running around expenses. The excess fund should be sent to my mover via western union,this fund will be use in offsetting the cost of the shipment he as undertaken for me recently.
    **Please email at once to let me know that i can trust to have the excess funds sent to my mover**

    I told him, cool, no problem.

    From: 1bbowenn@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: Concoa Regulator – $150
    Date: August 13, 2009 8:32:07 AM EDT

    How are you today? Thanks for the honesty and trustworthiness you put in the on going transaction. I received a notification from UPS that the package would be delivered to you this morning. You are to deduct the cost of the bought item, then an extra 50 dollars for your running around during the course of the transaction……Also, you are to deduct the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER sending fee from the excess funds and have the remaining funds wired to my mover today on reception of the payment. Please, also let me know your schedule for the week so that he will know the best time to come for the pick up and do take good care of my stuff till he comes. Here is the mover’s information to send the money to via WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER

    ZIP CODE………33403

    He is due to be back in your location anytime from now and has informed me that the only thing holding him up is the moving funds. Afterward i will require the following information from you……..
    1. The MTCN number that is the number on the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER receipt
    2. Sender ‘s name and address used in sending the money
    3. Actual amount sent.


    This is where I said, “ok, this is just way too silly.”

    He replied with


    I just asked him if he was a prince from Nigeria because he owed me some money from the last time I loaned it to him…


    August 16, 2009 at 12:47 am

  5. Scammer Dr. Bowenn,
    1benbowenn@gmail, or
    5benbowenn@gmail whatever
    This looser real name is Marcos Ferreira
    AND He’s wife Marcia may be in it too
    I’d e-mail to him that wired Money
    with W/U to Ben Bowenn and false MTCN #
    this crook call me and gave me
    name of Marcia Ferreira(I THINK HE’S WIFE) That I need call W/U change name to.
    Caller ID was restriced number
    He lives in 37 Allen Rd. West Park, FL 33023
    I hope someone get this BOZO
    Because, Myself I’m not sure who to call or report it to.


    August 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm

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