Scammed on Craigslist and Glowforge helped (the scammer)

Something like that would be great, and very valuable to the community. But if they won’t even fix the existing registration process by checking the blacklist at a smarter time, there is no way they will develop a new ownership transfer feature.

Probably, what we got is what we got.


As far as places to meet up for a craigslist transfer go… meh, not really. It’s a pretty safe, accessible space that has power, wifi, and tables.


at this point I feel there is a need for a 1 way automated transfer of ownership. something like:
a web page say
on this page an Authenticated user will enter the E-mail address of the recipient. and generate a unique PIN for the seller.
The recipient will be sent a unique link via E-mail. Once this link is accessed and the PIN provided by the seller is entered to return the glowforge to the original owner must require a court order, though at law enforcement intervention glowforge may opt to lock the forge from use for a reasonable period of time. This way as finances exchange hands so may the glowforge ownership.


I’m more astonished regarding the GF’s size, I can’t think of a single Starbucks in my area that has enough room for decanting the giant box.


Just curious what you plugged the power cord into? I assume you were in a parking lot at Starbucks?

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Inside a Starbucks.

Unpacked it outside by the car, removed the foam blocking, the carrier locking pins, plugged in the laser head, etc. Then carried it with the seller into the Starbucks, cameras everywhere (that the police didn’t care about) and plugged it in, just like I would a laptop. I brought my own MiFi puck, so I didn’t have to deal with a Starbucks captive portal setting up the GF, etc. It was quite a production.

Wow that must have been a sight. Quite large and heavy compared to a laptop for sure. Sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope Glowforge can help you out.

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Hi, I have read the entire thread, and in my opinion Josh took reasonable steps and received reasonable feedback to make him think the unit was legit. If Glowforge knows some history which may help crack this thing and get some justice they should provide it IMHO. I feel for you Josh; it sucks when you have done due diligence and then get told you were not careful enough later. I would have concluded from the e-mail to got congratulating you that all was well. Dan, please say something

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Dan offered to help with filing a police report. I don’t know if Josh took him up on it, but any history he has available that might have helped would have gone into that.


Yeah, you are right. Bugs me when the bad guys get away with it.


Dan offered his team’s help filing the report, except they wouldn’t do anything aside from offer their email contact information for the police to contact. I don’t know if you’ve filed a police report recently, but the police aren’t exactly hopping at the opportunity to hunt down what they consider to be a minor fraud case.

The Glowforge team haven’t provided any information to confirm the stolen nature of the unit, they haven’t responded to any inquiry about the chain of custody on the device or even telling me which jurisdiction the unit was stolen from so I can contact the police there to provide information or access to the supposedly stolen device. The only help offered was: “I hope the police are able to help you recover your loss. They can reach out to us here at

This is quite the thread. I worked in selling cellphones, both new and used, for a few years and have learned a serious amount about the way those are tracked. Each phone comes with an identification number unique to it, which is standard for these sorts of things, and with that number can be blacklisted. In fact, it’s relatively easy to blacklist a device, and for it to become whitelisted, either the company or the person who “called it in” would have to remove it. Because it’s so popular for phones to be stolen, there are a plethora of websites that can track these device IDs. No communication with the manufacturer, or service provider is necessarily required, so long as you can get that ID. Apple has their own website:


Etc, etc. So an easy workaround would be for Glowforge to develop a website that would hopefully be updated in as close to real-time as possible, for a potential buyer to be able to check a device’s ID. I know we are still in the (very early) stages of this being a problem, but the fact that they anticipated machines being stolen, and having the ability to blacklist them means that they obviously have a database of all the machine’s numbers accessible. It’s only a matter of making that list accessible via a check website to help avoid these situations in the future.

I had the opposite of this happen to me, where I will flip cell phones from time to time, and had a buyer (through eBay) attempt to return the device because it was:

  1. Not described as listed, and that it was “used”. I had it listed as brand new, because it was.
  2. Not an unlocked device - which again, I had bought it brand new, and then provided the receipt with the device’s ID on the receipt showing purchase date, model number, as well as the device being unlocked.
  3. Not able to be activated because it was blacklisted - which I also sent screenshots of websites proving the device was ready to be activated.

I disputed the case through eBay, and contacted them directly about the next steps. They said I had to wait for the resolution to be made by their team before I could proceed, but that it was 100% disputable and should rule in my favor. A couple of days later, my PayPal account was charged, the device was being sent back (to an address I couldn’t find on my profile, and that I hadn’t lived at in at least 6-7 years), and was told that I was in the wrong. I called, and the rep told me according to the messages from the buyer, he was in the right. I asked him to reread through the rest of the messages and tell me without a doubt that the stories the buyer, who was giving contradictory information in each of his messages, was actually in the right. A couple of minutes later, I got an apology, a refund, and was told to not let this issue bother me any longer. All because someone decided to glaze over the details.

I share that story because I hope that what has happened here isn’t one of those cases, where this is a “hopper” item, and it is addressed much sooner than later. I also hope that this doesn’t become an issue for people looking to sell their machines for whatever reason. So again, an official website with a simple “Enter ID Number Here” should be implemented. Finally, I seriously hope that this isn’t one of those cases where a company prefers the sale of a new item and discourages the second hand market by not helping when and where they can by making an easy to access tool. I have a lot of faith in this company, but that doesn’t mean that they possibly aren’t looking out for their finances first, and customers second.


I never expect a company not to be “finances first, customers second”. Otherwise they won’t survive. I just try to deal with companies who can see when both interests are supportive of each other or aligned in some way to make even the most shortsighted employee understand that customers also count even if they’re not primary.


This @dan . It could be checked even before the people meet to do the transfer. (Apple and Verizon even gave you a name ->
Once at the meet, just verify the s/n is the same and everyone is a happy camper.

Good story/writeup raymondking32. Thanks for the details.


I would like to sell my Plus. If you can find an outlet, not Craig’s List, please advise. Sincere regards, John

Because of the involvement of law enforcement, and our policy against sharing customer information, unfortunately, I can’t. As you probably imagine there’s a lot more going on than reported in this thread, but there’s not much else I can say.

You can email us to check if a unit has been reported stolen - but bear in mind that it can take a while before the victim reports it as stolen, so if the crook is quick, we may not know it yet. We’ll tell you if it’s been reported yet, but that’s no guarantee that the owner won’t report it later.


For many companies of this size, Amazon included, they will usually refund your money regardless of circumstance because the time to investigate the matter using a human costs them more. It’s unlikely they had a system that resolved the issue and more likely that what was being disputed was not “worth their (Ebays) time.”

The real issue here is that Glowforge isn’t willing to own up to the idea of having the ability to transfer a device. The only way a transfer can ever be guaranteed is if Glowforge is willing to accept the said transfer of ownership and not renege on it. This is exasperated by their ability to remotely disable a device through the forced use of cloud software, our Glowforge comes with DRM.


This might be a reasonable response if there really was law enforcement involved. The police told me that it wasn’t ever going to result in anything other than wasted hours dealing with three different jurisdictions. So I took their advice and dropped it with them.

If this unit was stolen, there’s no reason at all you can’t tell me what jurisdiction it was stolen from so I can return it. What policy could possibly prevent you from helping the police recover this stolen unit? The doesn’t pass a reasonableness test.

“There’s a lot more going on than reported in this thread”? Is there? This is the first time I’ve had proof you’re alive in months.

Unfortunately that kills the used market. It could be months later (“I was traveling and didn’t realize it had been stolen” for instance) and someone who had gotten a successful transfer suddenly finds themselves bricked.

Even if you know the seller, you’d also have to know that the seller was the original owner or the possibility exists that they bought an unreported stolen unit that they then sell and it gets reported and bricked. Or you have a falling out with the person and they report it stolen out of spite. Heck unfounded police actions are common in divorces.

Clearly the lesson to be taken away from this is you should not buy a used Glowforge because it could be bricked at any time due to it being reported “stolen”.

The website or FAQ should be updated to reflect that. Current owners should also be aware they may well not find a market should they choose to try to sell their unit.


I work in law enforcement and that’s what I would have told you too. The person you bought it from would be prosecuted for being in possession of stolen property, not theft. In a lot of jurisdictions (including mine) that’s pretty small potatoes and would not be a priority to investigate, especially across jurisdictions. But in theory, you could have stolen the unit yourself and are trying to get it activated so I would have encouraged you to make a report to at least document how you came in possession of stolen property. You’re a vicitm and I’d be really angry about it too, but this is not GF’s fault, it’s the guy who sold you the unit. You also have a little responsibility for not doing due diligence and jumping the gun on a deal that was too good to be true. And no offense, but GF doesn’t know you from adam and you were not their customer so I wouldn’t expect them to give you any details becasue there’s liability in that. If they said they’d speak to LE and you chose not to go that route, I don’t think that’s on them either.

At minimum the unit has value as parts, why do you want to return the GF if they haven’t asked for it back? I would speculate that this was most likely mail theft as your common thief would have a hard time stealing a set-up GF from a home. So if GF replaced the unit, they are the legal owners now, not the original purchaser. GF probably hasn’t asked for it back for two reasons; they aren’t trying to add insult to injury to you and there’s no financial gain for them. If you were to drop it off at some police department as recovered stolen property it would be booked and sit in a warehouse somewhere. Our agency would never take responsibility for packaging and shipping a delicate piece of equipment and we would tell the owner they had to come get it in person. If GF didn’t want it back it would eventually be destroyed. So if you’re too angry or uncomfortable to part it or keep it until someone figures out how to jailbreak it, then destroy it I guess.