How I was the target of a Craigslist iPhone scam

Jer and I decided to upgrade to the new iPhone 4s about a month ago. The deal was we would sell our old 3GS ones and break even on the new ones. All our friends were having success selling theirs on Craigslist within hours of posting so we figured there shouldn't be any problems. I posted the 16GB for $299 & the 32GB for $399. I had a response from a guy who said he was interested in the "product" I was selling. Since I didn't know which phone he was referring too, I responded telling him that I had two and which one was he interested in.

A day later, I got a call from the guy who told me that he was interested in both phones since he also wanted to buy one for his girlfriend. We agreed to meet the next morning to do the exchange. That following morning he called right on time and told me he forgot he had to take his son to softball practice and if we could meet later in the day, which I said wouldn't be a problem. He called back at 3:30 and asked if we could meet at McDonalds since his girlfriend was the manager there and he wanted to show her the iPhone before he bought it. I figured this was fine since it was a public place. When I got to the McDonalds, a hugh black man about 6'5" & 350lbs was sitting in a booth who smiled and said "you must be Bob?" I went and sat down and we talked for about 10-15 minutes. He talked about how he wanted to unlock the phones to put them on the Sprint network and how he was going to give his old iPhone to his daughter. He seemed like a nice guy who was a good father since he had taken his son to softball and his daughter was going to inherent his old iPhone. He mentioned that we just had to wait till his girlfriend got a 5min break to come out and take a look at the phones, which was fine. About five minutes later, he seemed to get frustrated with her and told me to wait a second while he went and showed her the phones.

Now, I've always thought of myself as a good judge of character and tend to trust people. I sat in the booth waiting for about 10 minutes (completely out of eyesight from where he had walked) and I start thinking to myself, "I bet that asshole isn't coming back." I sat a few minutes longer dreading what was about to happen. I went over to the cashier and asked where the guy with the iPhones was. The girl looked at me and said "what guy?" I told her the story and she told me I got scammed and that the guy had walked out the front door awhile ago. He was on foot, so I hopped in my car and drove around the neighborhood, which I realized was actually a bad part of town.

I was having a minor breakdown in the car. I had never been scammed before and I didn't care for this feeling of being violated. I managed to calm down and go back to the McDonalds and call the cops to file a police report. The cop was there within 10min and spent about an hour with me taking notes and running a trace on the number that the guy had used to call me. I was a mess the rest of the weekend.

The kicker:
The day before all this happened, I called up my insurance company (Allstate) and added a $1,200 mobile communications policy with $100 deductible that would cover theft/damage since I was paranoid about these new iPhones I had just gotten.

When I called Allstate to report my old iPhones stolen, I figured they would investigate me for insurance fraud. However, I had a police report, the original boxes with the serial numbers, both Craigslist ads that I had posted, a witness statement, and so on. I had amazing customer service with Allstate back in April when my BMW was totaled, now it was time to test how well their other insurance policies would work. The waiting game began and I was guessing it would take months before there was a conclusion.

After almost a month to the day I filed the claim, I got a call from Allstate that they had come to a settlement. My agent, Shana, started off telling me about depreciation and how they don't make the 16 or 32GB models anymore, I was bracing myself for a huge let down. She said that after the $100 deductible, I was going to receive a check for $732! That was exactly the outcome I wanted and I didn't even have to haggle with her!!!

Moral of the story
Be very cautious of Craiglist ads and meeting people. Also, Allstate is a fantastic insurance company and I highly recommend any type of insurance with them.
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