View Full Version : Another scam... (Long)

Kevin Post
08-26-2003, 8:55 PM
Over the last couple of weeks I've been targeted by a would-be scam artist.

The scam goes something like this:

I bid on an item on eBay. Shortly afterward (a day or so) I get an e-mail from another eBay user offering to sell me an equivalent item for much less than the going rate. (Red flag number one) The e-mail is sent via eBay's 'Question for Bidder' functionality. The seller explains in the e-mail that they need the money very quickly or that they don't want to bother listing the item on eBay because it's too much of a hassle. (Red flag number two... isn't it a bigger hassle to contact each prospective buyer individually than listing the item once?) The e-mail attempts to reassure the prospective buyer by inviting them to look at their feedback on eBay.

The latest attempt was someone trying to sell me a 2 year-old Unisaw with a 52" Biesmeyer fence, table and mobile base for $700 including shipping (yeah, right). When I contacted the user and said, "OK, I'll buy it but I'd like to bring a cashier's check and inspect the merchandise." The response from the scammer: "OK but I'm in London and I need the funds by tomorrow."

"OK," I think to myself, "A $700 Unisaw with bells and whistles shipped from London for $700. OK, YOU'VE GOT A DEAL!"

I respond... "I have an associate in London who will come and inspect the merchandise. Where can he meet you to view the item you're selling."

His response, "I have no time to wait for your man. I need the money now or I will sell it to someone else."

My response, "I don't understand. He will meet you at your convenience and bring the cash TODAY. He'll even take it with so you won't need to pay for shipping to the US. Give me your phone number and I'll have him contact you. Also please provide details on what is included in the package so he doesn't leave anything behind."

Scammer: "All accessories are included. You can send me money via Western Union here is my name and address. After I have the money, I will give you my phone number. Included is a name and bogus address in London..."

Me: "OK, I'll send the payment. Please provide a specific list of details on what is included with the package. I'll send my friend over..." At this point, I forward the correspondence to eBay, the FBI, Western Union and Yahoo (he was sending the e-mails from a yahoo account). I also believe that the scammer has actually forgotten what he was selling me.

Scammer: "Please send me your phone number so I can call you when I receive the money."

Finally, I call the guy's bluff and ask him if he can tell me what he was trying to sell me. After the initial e-mail I only referred to "the item" or "the merchandise". I explained that he had avoided every request I had made for specific details one what, where, when, etc. If he thought I was going to send him money, he was a bigger idiot than he hoped I was. He made no further attempts to contact me.

I've verified that the e-mail is coming from eBay by examining the SMTP header on the message. It appears that this guy actually did steal some legitimate eBay account with lots of good feedback by gaining access to the account and changing the e-mail address. The catch is that every item that was sold under this account listed a location of Redmond, WA not London. It looks like this is related to the bogus eBay websites that were set up to collect account information and passwords.

Another scammer offered me a Dish Network receiver for several hundred less than the going rate. When I insisted on using an ESCROW service, he stopped responding to e-mails.

Just remember... If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.


Ron Meadows
08-26-2003, 9:26 PM
when a scammer gets scammed. Good for you!! As someone who had their identity stolen a few years ago I really appreciate someone pulling one over on these type people. What a mess I had to go through to get things cleared up.