26 August 2004

Fraud on Ebay

I came very, very close to being done in by a fraud on ebay. My undying want of a digital SLR camera was nearly the undoing of me, and I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Luckily I stopped any transactions that could have gone through to this guy but what is left are some interesting e-mails between him and some of the other potential buyers on Ebay I have been corresponding with. Here is one such e-mail thread:

The fraud

The buyer

Hello, Dear Sir there is no need to bid so you can buy one camera. I still have 10 for sale. Please e-mail me back and tell me how many cameras do you want so i can make you a good price. The price of the one Nikon D70 is 1000 USD shipping taxes included. It is brand new in it's original box and it has full warranty.

Good morning, I would like to have one camera. What are your preferred methods of payment?

Hello, For the shipping I use UPS Express Air and the package will arrive to you in 2 days. For the payment I use Western Union Money Transfer.

Excellent, if you can send me all of your payment instructions and info. I'll send you a money order right away. Is it possible to e-mail me a shipping tracking number after the item has been sent?

Hello Dear sir it is very simple to work with Western Union. All you have to do is to go at the nearest post office or bank near you where you can find a Western Union Office. You have to complete a form with your name and address and mine and then the people there will give you a code named Mtcn number which you must give me to check if the transfer really exists. My payment address is: [address removed]
Now please e-mail me with your fullname and address so I can send you the package and please tell me if you have other questions. E-mail me soon. Thank you.


HI, Where is the package leaving from? On e-bay, it is mentioned that the address that the item is located in Jersey Shore, Penn. Why is the payment address in Spain? Since this is an interesting sum of money, what kind of security can you offer me on this transaction?

Yes sir but for 2 months I'm in Spain. I have a store here. You don't have to worry about this deal because i'm a honest man and a very respected person who has many friends who trust me. I'm 53 years old, i started from somewhere very low and i reached a high level by work,by honest business and I never stole a dollar from anyone.

I know how hard is to earn money I mean no disrespect and I do not wish to demean your good reputation, but i still have a few questions: -Will the package be sent from Jersey shore or from Malaga? -If it is sent from Spain, is it compliant with North American power supplies? -Can you offer a tracking Number to help me figure out where the package is and to estimate it's time of arrival? I would like the package to be sent to my parents address. Thank you for your patience.

Dear Sir I will send the package from Malaga, Spain by UPS Express Air and the package will arrive to you in 2 days. The camera is USA model, it is brand new in it's original box and it has full USA warranty. Yes of course I will give you the tracking number but after I will receive the Western Union confirmation code so I can check if the transfer really exists. Yes I can shipp the package in Canada. Now please tell me if you have other questions

Can we find another way of payment? Western Union does not offer me any type of proctection whatsoever. I did receive a paypal invoice from your partner. I would much prefer going through them.

You don't have to worry about this deal because i'm a honest man and a very respected person who has many friends who trust me. I'm 53 years old, i started from somewhere very low and i reached a high level by work,by honest business and i never stole a dollar from anyone. I know how hard is to earn money

You gave me the same answer yesterday. I'm sure you are a very honest man, but I don't know you and I don't know your friends. Work with me and we'll make this deal happen

Dear Sir I prouse you tp close the deal in this way: you will send me now half of the money and I will send you the package. After you will receive the package, you will inspect the camera nad in 24 hours you will send me other half of the money Please tell me it is ok?

Sounds interesting, but it is still $500 and I still don't get any protection. How about we go through escrow (www.escrow.com). I'll pay all the fees and you'll get all of your money through a wire transfer as soon as I receive the camera and the kit

I don't accepr escrow. You have seen in the auction

Nowhere in the auction does it mention that you do not accept escrow. I have seen 3 different e-mail contact for this item ([contacts removed]). I need more than your word for security. If you have any good options, I'm very willing to listen.

Hello, Dear Sir my partener's, [name withheld] is in vacantion. You will clouse the deal with me. The total price is 1000 USD. I will pay the shipping taxes and the insurance of the package. For the shipping I use UPS Express Air and the package will arrive to you in 2 days. For the payment I use Western Union Money Transfer.

Hi, You have not answered my question in a straightforward way. Are you going to offer me some real security for my payment or what? Please, none of these pre-generated answers again. I'm sorry but I don't send the package first. What kind of security can you offer me?

First of all i want to tell you that I am a 52 year old I have a family and 2 children. For me my family is important not the money! I'm not a 15 year old boy who is playing tricks on the net! And do you think I'm that silly to arrive in jail for 1000 $ and destroy my beautiful life together with my loved ones? Please think about it and you will see that money is not all!

Dear sir, if you have been in business for such a long time and have started from very little, you will understand that there is not much room for such blind trust in business transactions. There are just too many things that don't add-up in all of this auction. First, the different item location, then the fact that you only accept money transfers (even if E-Bay AND Western Union strongly discourages auction payment made through money transfers), then I received a paypal invoice from [name withheld]. Later, you refuse complete the transaction through Escrow, even after I offered to pay all the cost associated with the process (even if that incurs an extra $100 for me, because it costs extra to send a money transfer through Escrow...) AND you keep on telling me that you are an honest man. Prove it, let's complete this transaction via Escrow (or any trusted 3rd party financial institution). That way I will be able to fell secure in this transaction and I won't feel that I am taking an very expensive chance with this deal. You have to understand that, I too, work hard for my money and I too am a trusted individual in my community. As you probably know, Escrow will send you an e-mail notifying you of my payment due payment. You do not have to send me the package until you receive that notification. When I do receive the camera, and confirm that it is in good working order, Escrow will send you the money, by money transfer as you wish. Please go on their site to see all of the details. (escrow.com) My dear sir, you have to realise that $1000 USD is an expensive leap of faith to make for an anonymous transaction on E-bay. It is not a chance I am willing to make without any type of protection You have sent me at least 3 e-mails stating that you were an honest man, that you have never stolen a dollar in your life... I am more than willing to believe you. But I am not willing to take that chance with MY money. Let me feel good about this transaction, let me have some type of protection.[name withheld] P.S. Are you 52 or 53 years old?... There seems to be a lack of consistency between you last and previous e-mails...


After that the buyer didn't receive any more e-mails from the fraud. Here is what happened with me (pretty much in parallel with the previous winning bidder):

The fraud

Me

Hello, Dear Sir my partener's, [name withheld] is in vacantion. You will clouse the deal with me. The total price is 1000 USD. I will pay the shipping taxes and the insurance of the package. For the shipping I use UPS Express Air and the package will arrive to you in 2 days. For the payment I use Western Union Money Transfer.

Western Union money transfer should be fine. Please send the transfer details and I will get the money to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

Hello Dear sir it is very simple to work with Western Union. All you have to do is to go at the nearest post office or bank near you where you can find a WesternUnion Office. You have to complete a form with your name and address and mine and then the people there will give you a code named Mtcn number which you must give me to check if the transfer really exists. My payment address is: [address removed] Now please e-mail me with your fullname and address so I can send you the package and please tell me if you have other questions. E-mail me soon. Thank you.


[At this point I sent some 'details']

In this moment i came back from the Ups office where i have sent your package at your name and address. As soon I will receive the Western Union confirmation code from you I will check if the transfer really exuists. If the transfer in OK I will give you the Tracking Number from UPS so you can pick up your package. I wait your e-mail. It has a pleasure making business with you. Grettings your family.

From where will you be sending this package? I'm sorry, but the address in Spain and the whole fact that I will be transferring money through Western Union (something ebay advises against), and the fact that it will be $1000 of my hard earned money, makes me worry. I'm sure you'll understand! I can arrange an escrow service (www.escrow.com) to hold your money until I receive the item. I will pay for all charges, I will even re-imburse shipping costs if this inconveniences you in any way. I hope you understand this. I want to believe you in what you say but because I haven't met you before, understand that I am a little wary. I understand that you would not have sent the package yet, so please do not send it until we have sorted this issue out. Please respond.Thanks.

I'm sorry Sir but I can use escrow service now because I send you the package yestarday. First of all i want to tell you that I am a 52 year old I have a family and 2 children. For me my family is important not the money! I'm not a 15 year old boy who is playing tricks on the net! And do you think I'm that silly to arrive in jail for 1000 $ and destroy my beautiful life together with my loved ones? Please think about it and you will see that money is not all!

That is ok! I have not received the package yet nor have your received your money. Escrow is the perfect service for such a transaction. I can set this up today. Otherwise, there is no logic to you not chosing an escrow service. Believe me I want this transaction to go ahead but I do not know you personally and thus it would be stupid of me to send $1000 via money order to someone I do not know. Western Union themselves advise against such transactions. I understand you may have family and that your family is important and not the money - but you were selling goods on ebay. You are selling those goods>to make money. Trying to tell me otherwise is just foolish. Please let us resolve this issue as quickly as possible so we can both get what we want.

I'm sorry but I can't use escrow now because I send you the package. If you don't send the money untill tomorrow the deal is off and I cancel the shipping


Do you have a phone number by which I can contact you? If I can talk to you and believe you are who you say you are, then perhaps this deal can still go ahead. Please advise...P.S. How can you cancel a shipment if it has already been sent?

First I want to tell you that the package arrive at the UPS office not at your home. You can pick up the package only with the Tracking Number. Tomorrow I will call at the UPS office to send me the package back. I will lose only 48 $ the money that I paied for shipping.But you will lose a very good deal. Sorry again. My phone number is [withheld]

Out of interest, I tried calling that number. Disconnected. I had been collaborating with a few other people who were involved in the auction and eventually I received this from one of them. It was an e-mail from the person who actually belonged to that user id - the one who actually had the good reputation:

EBAY WAS SUPPOSE TO CONTACT YOU THIS IS A FRAUD I HAD THE ACCOUNT SUSPENDED FOR 3 DAYS IT WAS JUST REACTIVATED TODAY PLEASE DO NOT PAY THIS GUY WHAT IS THE ADDRESS AND THE WAY HE WANTS YOU TO PAY I AM TRYING TO NAIL THIS GUY HE HACKED INTO MY ACCOUNT GOD PLEASE DONT SEND YOUR MONEY THANK YOU

What interesting times we live in :-)

2 comments:

choza said...

PK PK PK...your desire for the D-SLR must be great...

Well can't wait till you get it so you can post some pics of all the awesome places you have been (awesome - now that is the 2nd most common word you'll hear in the US after 'fries')...

(I'm sure you already know most of these but just incase) keep your eye on these sites:

dealmacslickdealspricewatchhot-dealsCheers,
Chi-Hoong.

PK said...

Hey, thanks for those links Chi-Hoong!