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Steve Jones

Beware of scammers

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Just a word of warning folks.

 

I recently advertised a housing on a well known site (digideep, but could have just as easily have been here). Within a few days I got an email from somebody requesting info. I relayed the price and pics - and he said fine he'd take it. Cue: Alarm bells, as he didn't ask any further questions, which I found odd.

 

Weeks later a cheque arrived - supposedly a bankers draft, but I suspected a forgery. This cheque was for 5 times the amount I wanted for the housing.

 

On querying this, the reply was a story about how he'd been owed that money by a government agency and had been waiting for months for it. They had made a mistake - they should only have sent me a proportion of the money and the rest to him. There was no way he could get a new cheque made out, so the only way for him to get the money was for me to cash it and send him the difference along with the housing. And of course he was desperate for the cash, yada yada yada

 

oh, and he lived in France but had a British name and .co.uk address. The cheque was from a UK agency, but arrived with a French stamp

 

Now it's worth noting that good forgery's can take up to 6 weeks in the banking system before being ID'd, so if I'd been gullible enough to pay this in, the money would likely have credited to my account, I'd have sent this guy the difference, and 6 weeks later, the bank would have have taken the money back.

 

His whole behavioural pattern matched common scamming techniques - easy to identify, if you are aware of them

 

So if in doubt, take note of this little story.....

 

Cheers

 

Steve

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Interesting scam - thanks for the heads up!

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Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for the heads up. A word to the wise for everyone. Anything sold here or anywhere on the internet for that matter is best only transacted via PayPal and or a cashiers check. That is just my opinion. I personally would never accept anything different. You are only asking for trouble. In todays world of fraud and internet scams, which seem to be commonplace for everyone (just look at your bulk emails to see how many lotteries you've won over the last year of so) to transact and accept payment with a regular check especially if it is from a different country is just plain stupid. My advice for anyone who buys and sells over the internet is to set up a PayPal account or equivalent. I believe it is a must the way we do business in todays world.

 

In addition, since this very educational post just happened to be after two of my very good deals, let's not let it deter any potential buyers from a great buy. I have a newborn that just arrived and a handful of brand new strobes and a bunch of other great photo gear collecting dust. My priorities lie with some new diapers and a tummy time mat for the little man, so I'll have to just get by with my 5 underwater cameras and a VX2000 and let the rest of the good stuff fly for the moment. And remember, if you like my strobes and other gear soon to be posted, remember... I prefer PayPal :D

 

Thanks again Steve for the heads up

 

Sincerely,

Doug Sloss

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Doug: That cashier's check that Steve received was a forgery - something to think about.

 

Cheers

James

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They forge US Postal Money Orders, often. A prisoner even changed the "1" to a "7" on a legitimate $100 MO and got it cashed. Paper payment sucks. Thanks for posting Steve always good to keep this in front of our minds.

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Thanks James and everyone else,

 

Even though I have never had a problem in the past, I guess there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. PayPal seems to be the most reliable and secure way to do business. PayPal only for my stuff I guess! Thanks again for keeping us aware of what goes on out there.

 

Doug

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Yeah, I got three counterfeit money orders from someone supposedly in the UK via California for a lens not long ago. I lost a real sale waiting for the clown :D .

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NEVER even think about cashing a check for greater than the amount and sending money back.

 

My friend specializes in internet crime and sees this tactic all the time.

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Agree with the above. I stopped accepting checks & MO from EBay sales.

 

I sort of wonder about PayPal chargebacks though and or overseas buyers using bogus accounts on Paypal?

 

Jack

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A colleague of mine lost $1000 due to a paypal chargeback. It's not as safe as one might think, and you have little recourse.

 

cor

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A colleague of mine lost $1000 due to a paypal chargeback. It's not as safe as one might think, and you have little recourse.

 

cor

 

What happened, why didn't paypal honor the charge?

Jack

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Ouch,

 

I can see how people might write fake checks and even money orders, but I thought PayPal was pretty secure. I guess there is a way around everything if your dishonest. I too, am curious as to what happened with the big PayPal chargeback. I would hate for that to happen to me or anyone else here. Aren't PayPal accounts secure with money in an account ready to be transferred?

 

Doug

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Because I am always selling my own gear or for friends of mine, I have also been contacted by these types of crooks, however, thank god, it is not often. Most people are very honest. Personally, I never use paypal or any other service. I tell people to send me a check and when it clears I mail the package off and send them a tracking number. I've never had a complaint but since, I know I am honest, even if they don't, I'd rather lose the sale than bother with the hassle. Never the less, anyone buying or selling gear should identify the warning signs similar to the above experience. Another one is anyone who wants money sent to PO Boxes or Western Union. Forgettaboutit.-steve B)

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Hey Cor,

 

I am about to let one of my strobes go via PayPal today. I would be interested to know what caused the chargeback so the same does not happen to me. If you have the time you can post it here or send me an email at doug@oceanmagicproductions.com. Thanks.

 

Doug

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My colleague's mistake was that he paid with money that was on his paypal account, instead of using the CC. The seller did not send the equipment, took the cash away from paypal, and even though paypal did eventually cancel the seller's account, the money was gone.

 

I dont use ebay/paypal much, but when I do i always use CC and have personally never had a problem.

 

Cor

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Hi Cor,

 

Thanks for the info. Just sold my Inon D2000W via PayPal and all is well. It was a very smooth transaction. Too bad there are people out there just looking to steal when all we want to do is take pictures! Thanks again for the heads up. :guiness:

Doug

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I got burned by paypal once as well.

 

I sold something on ebay, and the sender sent the money on paypal, so I sent the item, and got the money as a check from paypal. A month later paypal said the account was used fraudulently, and demanded the money back (and the damn $1.50 check fee, those cheap bastards). They would have sent a collection agency after me if I didn't reimburse them.

 

It REALLY pissed me off. My mistake was that I have different user names on my paypal and ebay accounts (my accounts predate their merger) and I didn't ship to a verified address. You really need to read the fine print - there are very severe conditions for qualifying for their "protection".

 

I filed a wire fraud complaint with the FBI (I had the address the item was shipped too, after all) - guess how much that did?

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I have been buying and selling over the Internet - Usenet and forums - for over a decade now. Have bought and sold audiophile equipment, camera stuff and various other items and thankfully havent had a problem yet. Most people are indeed honest and I find that regular forum participants tend to be safe parties to deal with.

 

However, I am trying to sell my Canon G6 and got this email from a potential buyer who saw my ad on photo.net:

 

Hello Vandit Kalia

Thanks for your prompt response. However, I have contacted my relative in the U.S and he has promised to issue the payment in your name which will include the shipping and insurancecharges but he said he can not pay through paypal that he can only pay by money orders or cashiers cheque.

Having you receive the payment, you will have to deduct the cost of your sales and get the change send to the shipper, so as to cover up with the outstanding debt I've been owing the shipper and also for the shipper to come for the pick-up of the lens at your doorstep.

Your fullname, address and contact mobile phone number is also needed so i can give it to my relative who will be looking out for the payment as soon as possible waiting to hear from you ASAP. my relative will send a shipper accross to you for the pickup.

Please, inform me as soon as you receive the payment.

Thanks,

 

 

And this is from someone with a name that suggests English as the mother language, and a yahoo.co.uk address, to boot. Gee, do I have "chump" stamped on my face???

 

Vandit

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Not to beat a dead horse, but I have to share this new experience, as it just happened to me this morning.

 

Over the last few weeks I have successfully sold some excess photo and dive equipment I had laying around that would be of better use in someone else's kit. (Sorry Mike Veitch, no strobe in the stocking this year) Anyway, last month my wife and I came back to the States to stay for a while and last week we went out and bought a new Nissan Xterra. That being said, I put my old Pathfinder up for sale and put an ad in the Post with my number.

 

Well, to make a long story short, the phone started ringing, and along with all the legitimate buyers came the scam artists with all the fake cashier's check stories and how they would buy my truck without even seeing it. The guy wanted to send the money by cashiers check without even seeing my truck and with no negotiating price either for that matter.

 

This guy wanted my name, address and phone number to send the payment in 2 days and their shipper will come pick the vehicle up. Of course when I asked for a number, company name, and/or web address, I got the run around along with some fake numbers. When I caller ID'd the guy, his answering machine directed me to a number to call only using the phone number I want taken off their list. What BS, they probably use your number for some kind of scam. Anyway, to make a long story short, cashiers checks are not even completely safe as many banks will cash bogus ones and then make you responsible for the funds. Be careful out there!

 

Also great read about the laptop story! I used that as some dynamite on this latest scammer and left him toungue-tied Hilarious! :guiness:

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