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Old 11-13-2004, 10:18 PM   #1
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Even our classifieds are not safe

Here is an email I got in response to my ad here on the forums

I have sold alot of stuff so have recieved hundreds like it, I can see a scam a mile away in an email, this one is easy and normally I dont even take the time to respond, But this one was so bad it is funny.

To those unfamiliar with the scammers, if I replied to the questions the next email would be for my address so they could send me a cashiers check for around 2k more then the selling price, and a request to forward the 2k to their shipper, the check would come back bad in a few weeks and I would be out the 2k....

I thought some might get a kick out this one as it is so bad as to be laughable.


I'm Alex Cole by name , I was opportuned to see your
advertised 1979 24' Excella motorhome for sell .So I
picked interest in buying it, moreso with the full
description that was attached to the advert ,kindly
get back to me with your selling price. Also i will
like to know your prefared mode of payment
prefarably if you will accept a banker draft or a
certified personal cheque, i will like to know it's
present condition kindly tell me if the AVION as
ever been involve in any form of accident ? If yes,
Don't essitate to tell me the affected part. Your
fast responce will highly be appreciated.

Here is my Response

Alex it is so odvious you are a scam it is laughable.
Did you even read your own email?
Sure I will take a bad check, and then I would of course be happy to send the excess funds to your shipper.
Better yet why dont I just give you some cash?
Go **** yourself, I see right thru you.
People like you should be shot on site.

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Old 11-14-2004, 07:30 AM   #2
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Richard -

I'm glad to see you spotted this for exactly what it was - a scam. I became aware of these variations on the old Nigerian 419 scams after my employer was taken for several thousand dollars on a bad credit card from Ghana.

There are several of the scams working their way thru the internet - the fake cashier's check is one of the newer ones. They also come up with credit cards that are so freshly stolen you get approval from your bank, ship the goods and find out weeks later that the card is bad. There are of course the original 419 scams where they need your help to get millions of dollars out of their country and the always popular foreign lottery scam where you have won millions of dollars and only need to send them processing fees to get your check.

I have set up several free email accounts out there and use them as baiting accounts to collect these scam emails and report them to their ISP's to get their accounts shut down. Within 24 HOURS of Arafat's death, I received a email from his grieving widow that needed my help to get $10m out of the country.

While these scams started on the west coast of Africa, they have spread around the world - Amsterdam, India, and Malaysia have become centers for scamming activities.

For more information, check out

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Old 11-14-2004, 07:47 AM   #3
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We have gotten several of these asking to 'buy our entire catalog of items', only usually the request is in even more broken english than that. They usually don't even make sense, and you would have to be awfully gullible, or desperate to fall for it. Same scam though.

Because of the number of scams we get out of Indonesia we do not ship there at all, and haven't for years. I don't think we have ever had a legitimate customer there. We frequently get orders from Indonesia where they fill in an address and try to make it look like it is in Singapore or some other nearby country. The only time we have fallen for that they claimed to be in Netherlands, which is a country we ship to. They will fill out a legitimate country but fill in IN or ID for the state, hoping it will get rerouted to Indonesia. Of course this wouldn't work anyway, wrong postage, and the country name is clearly written on the box and customs form.

Somehow we weren't paying close enough attention that day and let one through. Packed a big box of stuff, and shipped it off. A few weeks later the credit card charge gets refused. A couple months later the box comes back from the Netherlands undeliverable, and in pretty sad shape - crushed! End result, we got all the goodies back, although damaged, so at least the jerk who ordered it didn't get it, and watch even more closely for suspicious foreign orders.

What is it about these scammers who spend all their time trying to steal from us and figure out new ways to steal from us? Lord knows there's plenty of real work to do in their third-world countries! Yet they all seem to have internet access. Ain't technology wonderful?

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Old 11-14-2004, 08:01 AM   #4
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Stephanie -

Yep, that's pretty much the scam that got us. However, in this case the scammer was working with a college student in NY that received the packages and the next day shipped them to Ghana. By the time the police got there, the packages were gone.

The US Secret Service handles internet scams in this country, and they were quite honest when we contacted them - unless the amount of the loss is in the $100K range, they just don't have the manpower to do much about it.

Another twist is to ship the goods to a freight forwarder in a neutral country. An aquaintence at another tech company that has had similar problems was telling me about one where they were asked to ship the package to "World Express" in Amsterdam - once the credit cards came back stolen they contacted the number in Amsterdam to find out they were just a freight forwarder and they had sent the box to Indonesia.

Since this happened, all overseas requests that come in cross my desk first - we get at least three per day asking for the same thing - hard drives, memory DIMMS and HP Laserjet ink cartridges. They offer to pay list price and want us to prepay the freight and of course, they will pay with a credit card.

I send them a polite reply thanking them for visiting our web site and telling them we can only accept wire transfers for foreign orders. I have yet to hear back from someone willing to do business on those terms.

Someone must be falling for this or they would not be trying so hard.
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Old 11-14-2004, 08:26 AM   #5
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Yes, we got scammed sending to a freight forwarder once in Mexico too. Problem is that our merchant software can't confirm addresses in foreign countries, so it leaves us vulnerable to foreign scammers. At least US addresses can confirm the address and zipcode is correct, though it often fails for various reasons that may have nothing to do with stolen cards. We have many perfectly legitimate sales fail the merchant software.

Seems to me the credit card companies could provide merchants with software that did a better job of ensuring that the shipping address matches the credit card, but they are unwilling to. And as we've said before, the merchant takes the loss, so there is no motivation for them to fix the problem.

My husband has figured out a way to test new customers. He will make a small charge, and ask the customer to check their account and report back with the exact amount he charged. Scammers don't have access to the stolen accounts, so they can't report back, and most of them don't even email back when he offers this test. Legitimate customers have no problem with it. We do a lot of foreign shipping, so it's good to have a way to weed out the crooks so we can continue to serve the honest ones!

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Old 11-14-2004, 11:56 AM   #6
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Paypal tests new accounts the same way
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Old 11-14-2004, 12:11 PM   #7
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I bought and sold high-end photo equipment for a while and I was always amused at the reponses I got where the 'buyer' wanted to charge the amount to a card for overseas shipment. I always did the same thing; wire transfer bank to bank prior to shipping. The stories I got were pretty hilarious, but the bottom line was amazingly that no one wanted the equipment that badly.

I DID however recently sell a non-existant horse to some guy in Nigeria for an outrageous amount of money which he kindly express Fed-Ex'd me with a very poorly done counterfeit cashier's check. I tied him up for a couple of weeks while finagling the scam (at least tying up some of his time so he couldn't spend it on someone who would really pay him), and after receiving the check told him what a moron he was, and told him if he wanted to be believable, the least he could do was cut the edges of the counterfeit check squarely! Further, my email account he was writing to was You might have thought he'd catch a clue... He actually got indignant that I would waste his valuable scam time after I knew he was a scammer! I particularly enjoyed how his broken English actually improved significantly and became more epithet laced with each subsequent and angrier email. He actually wrote me a couple of times to tell me what a bad guy I was! Gotta love these folks.

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Old 11-14-2004, 02:00 PM   #8
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I know it was an earlier thread on this topic that someone posted the Scamorama website: You should check that site for some hilarious reverse scam stories.

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