Some days ago I advertised tubes on a swapmeet website for ham radio equipment. I thought to receive 300.ooEuro for these new tubes. An interested buyer sent a mail and asked me for my address, phone number, shipping charges and so on. Then he asked whether it would be OK to send a cashiers cheque. I agreed. Then he wrote that he wants a company to pick up the packet at my home. OK, some postal services do this service, so again I agreed. Then he wrote that he will send a cheque with 3000.ooEURO. Yes, I this is no mistake and no misprint, TEN times the sum I wanted to receive (sometimes even more was offered)! Of course I asked for the reason that he wanted to send such an unreasonable high sum. The buyer explained this in different ways. Always they expressed their deep trust in my person (sounded somehow like the "Nigeria Connection"). Additional he wrote that there is an open bill left he needs to pay to the postage company which also picks up the packet at my home and he wants me to do that for him. Another answer was to put the exess money into the packet and send it to another address. All in all different strange stories were added to explain the reason for the intention to send such a high sum.
During the last month but especially the last weekend I received several mails of the same type. All those mails (so far) were written in some kind of "pidgeon english", not well expressed with bad mistakes in spelling and grammar, possibly written by someone who has not english as his mothers tongue and even learned his english school lessons not successful. Maybe this person just wants me to believe that he is foreign (who knows). Maybe there are better written letters in future to mislead that the buyer is NOT foreign. I received mails from persons having male and female names, e-mail-adresses in Europe, the US and at those undefinded mail-servers for example like "...@hotmail.com
". So there is NO information I can draw from this! Most of those had no ham radio call, but one did, but even this call was wrong!
I asked at our local main police department. They do not have very much experience with topics concerning e-commerce. They suppose two different ways of fraud:
One is to "wash dirty money" or a stolen cheque by buying a small item. Or it may be a even way transferring money in a secret way to "strange" or even secret guys without attracting attention and through an innocent person...
The second is that I give the cheque to my bank. My bank just makes an "acceptance under reserve" until the cheque really is cleared. I can see the sum on my account but the money is not really mine until the cheque is cleared by the foreign bank. This may take weeks under certain circumstances! If the foreign bank refuses the clearence (maybe intended by the buyer of the tubes), the sum is drawn back again from my account by my bank. I will not receive an information by my bank if everything is ok but they will inform me when the clearence of the foreign cheque is refused. So I do not really know when the cheque is cleared. I possibly will be misled by the sum on my bank account. If I have sent the tubes during this time and the clearence of the cheque is refused, I would have lost my items!
Maybe there are other ways of fraud aimed by these buyers, ways which I do not see so far due to my rare experience (I thank God for this rare experience). I just wanted to show that there is something dangerous going on. Asking for a call, an address, a phone number where you really (!) can reach the person is a good basic information you can trust in, at least somehow. ALL phone numbers these guys mentioned where WRONG, had just answering machines and nobody called back or nobody did pick up the phone, anytime I called! If you check the information you receive by using a callbook and your international phone information it's even more trustworthy. Of course we are not able to reject the "black sheep" by this means from our ham community but those maybe guy from outside...
I finished all these above mentioned conversations with the threat to hand over the money (one even tried to transfer the money to my bank account!) or the cheque to the public prosecutor. This threat seems to work (so far for now)! The conversation dried up immedeately, hi. But they will try it again. So be aware!
73 de DD3LY