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Author Topic: How to avoid being ripped off.  (Read 19740 times)

Posts: 92

« on: November 11, 2010, 11:02:13 PM »

After reading several of these stories, I felt compelled to reply. Being in the business for 30 years (LE) I found most people make the first mistake, which is they trust a person they don't know and never met.  A call sign is not a guarantee of honesty (through it used to be).  If a seller is asking for a postal money order be alerted.  A postal money order is one of the most commonly used documents of fraud.  Western union money wire transfer and your really going to get screwed. Pay pal is OK at least they will eventually reimburse you and worth the 3 percent fee even if you need to purchase it.  A check is still the best, why?  Because the seller has to provide identification to cash it.  Rather it be deposited or cashed his identification is all over it and easy to trace.  The crime of fraud is much easier to prove with a hard check and an easy sell to the DA for prosecution.  Don't waste your time calling the FBI you will never reach their threshold of loss with a radio, but do report it to the postal service.  They have their own peace officers who might investigate it.  Certainly report it to your local police and demand a crime report and police report number.  Don't let them tell you its civil and therefore they wont take a report.  Remind them its a fraud case, whereas a person posed as a seller of goods only to fraudulently take your money.  Don't rule out identify theft either.  Also depending on the situation some home owners insurance may cover some of the loss. Keep all correspondences with email and even recap the phone calls in an email.  You can trace an email right to his front door.  I have been taken twice in 20 years of buying and selling radios and yes got my money back in both cases and a criminal conviction in one (other is still pending).  Hope this helps.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 10:38:24 PM »

Hi Jim:

First of all, thank you for your 30 years of protecting
the public. It takes a special kind of dedicated person
to wade through the dregs of society, and helping
the decent folks who get victimized by them.

A word about checks that a lot of people really need to know.
The fact that a check has "cleared" does not mean it is "good"
and it's OK to ship your stuff. When the check clears it does mean
the your bank will let you USE that money, but it really
isn't your money until the check as been PAID.
Paid and cleared
are two different animals entirely.

Check clearing houses make sure it's a valid account and sufficient
funds are in the account, AT THAT TIME, but they don't
actually transfer any funds. So a check can "Clear" and then not
be "paid".
A very common technique for this scam is called
"Flashing the account". The smart check scammers will put
just enough money in the account for just long enough
to make sure it is clears, then very quickly take it back out or close
the account.

Unfortunately the same Internet banking technology that lets
folks pay their bills from home ALSO makes it easy for more
scammers to flash accounts, something that in the past only
really banking savvy crooks could do well.

So if you get a big check for that expensive radio
you're selling, don't rely on it to "clear". Talk to the
bank manager and have him call and make sure it
has been PAID.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 08:18:07 PM »

Speaking of passing bad checks...

Couldn't resist posting this link to a really BAD bad check passer.
Apparently he had stolen the blank check from his girlfriend's mom.
The suspect, who was on parole on the time, was also found to be
 carrying a bag of marijuana and a loaded .25 caliber pistol.

When bank officials, stalling him for time for the police to arrive,
asked him why he needed so much of the money IN CASH, he
replied that it was "For past due rent".
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 10:00:07 PM by AD6KA » Logged

Posts: 92

« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 09:46:13 PM »

Thank you AD6KA, you are correct sir.  The check not only has to clear but has to be confirmed by the issuing bank that it is in fact correct and not an nsf check or a fictitious document.  Before you deposit the check call this issuing bank to see if the check is real and there are funds available.  Then deposit the check and wait for it to clear. Once it clears, contact your bank to be certain there are no riders on the check (questions about the issuing back of the check number is out of sequence etc.) then you should be good to go.  Get insurance and send it signature required.  All this will tell the crook to move on.  Or use paypal and trust they will reimburse you, they have a good track record of doing so. Cash is still king...   

Posts: 2243

« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 11:58:44 AM »

Before you deposit the check call this issuing bank to see if the check is real and there are funds available.

If it is a chashier's check or for sure if it is a
Credit Union check,
do NOT call any financial institution phone numbers
listed on the check itself,
these might be boiler room operations.
Go on the Net and lookup the real phone numbers
for that Credit Union or bank.

There are some incredibly good cashiers and
large credit union checks coming out of Eastern Europe
(Czech Republic & Romania, esp.) and Russia these days.

Get insurance and send it signature required. 
All this will tell the crook to move on.

So will C.O.D.! Though I rarely insist on it, I've never had a
prospective buyer who really wanted what I had
turn it down. When the others started to argue that they can't
do it, I just say "Oh well, I guess you don't want it bad enough, do you?"

Posts: 0

« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2010, 02:04:57 PM »


I have sold a few items over the years and now ask for Postal Money Order or Paypal. My preference is the money order only because I've been stung on personal checks. I lost $300 on a 2m mobile to a guy who kept saying he was going to send me the money to cover the bad check but never did. Tried to track him down over the phone.....

Thanks for the tips!

Posts: 4

« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2010, 09:09:41 PM »

Here is a list the information the scammers love to have if they plan on stealing ones identity.

1. your full name.
2. your address.
3. your phone number.
4. the name of your bank.
5. the routing number of your bank.
6. your account number.
7. your social security number.

Now you must realize that not every one of these items are needed to assume your identity or clean out your bank account. Now I can predict a few comments of people saying that you would have to be an idiot to give out that information to anyone. Or, I have never or would never give that info out to anyone and guard it with my life. Yet most of us hand this information freely out to anyone everyday without even knowing it!!

Please take a minute and open your personal check book. look closely at the information  printed your check. Oh, Sh*$! that's right folks, items 1 through 6 are clearly printed there for every one to see.

Still think it's a good idea to cut a check and hand it to someone you don't know and/or completely trust. Wait it gets better. Now take a look at one of your canceled checks, you know the ones the bank sends back to you after they have paid it. Now what do you see???

You say the same as before? Yes you are correct except for one thing. It's right there in the bottom right hand corner. See it know??? Yes a perfect copy of your signature. OH, double Sh&$!! Now they have every thing but your Social Security number which is not needed to steal your identity or clean out you accounts.

O.K. you just gave them most of your personal information, your bank, your account number and your signature. Now lets talk about what you don't see. They make a copy of your check. They then cash your check. Now they also know that it is a legitimate account and that there is actually be money in the account.

Still using those personal checks??? Next time you go to Sears a to buy some of those cool tools and pay with a check, what do they ask you for? Yes you guessed it a government photo ID. You say so what! What do they wright onto the front or the back of that check. You are correct! Your drivers license and or state Id number. Again you say so what!

Info you need to know or may know and never gave it a second thought...

What do more than half of the states in the US use as your drivers license number? You guessed it, your Social Security number. Oh, Snap! Now they have everything right there on YOUR personal check for any one in the chain inducing the not so well paid employees at your favorite store.


Are you finished with your Christmas shopping yet???  Grin


Posts: 277

« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 12:27:50 PM »

I don't know anyone who uses cheques anymore.  It's either cash or money order/bank draft for used gear sales or credit card for new purchases from trusted retailers.

In fact I don't use my debit card anymore except for withdrawing cash from bank machines.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 09:50:39 PM »

Now they have every thing but your Social Security number which is not needed to steal your identity or clean out you accounts.

Why do you say SSN is not needed to steal your identity?
I would think it' would be a GREAT tool to use to
open new account, new credit cards, get loans, etc.

Cleaning out your bank account is the last thing an identity thief
wants to do. What he wants is to use your good credit
rating to open new cards, get loans, etc/

Posts: 80

« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 07:43:04 AM »

I must disagree with using a personal check. A personal check can clear and be paid in minutes! electronically! Using a check can also lead to identity theft because the account number is on the check, plus address info. Use Paypal and pay via credit card. This way you can be assured that if you are scammed paypal and/or your credit card company will help you in case of fraud. Also no information will be given to the scammer by paypal. Your credit card numbers are secured. The scammer must also have a paypal account with bank info also. If you are scammed, paypal will bring that money back from the scammers account or credit card. If a large amount of money, paypal will put a hold on the transaction untill the $$$ are verified and paid. PO money oders and western union are no-no's. Donot take a business check from anyone. you will have no recourse. No certified cashiers checks either. I have been scammed before, but never with Paypal..

Posts: 9

« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2011, 01:01:32 AM »

Go right ahead and use paypal. Sell your item to the guy and get a paypal payment then ship him the item. Then the buyer calls his bank and does a chargback. All he needs to do is tell his bank that it was not him. You are out of luck, money and your item. There is not a thing you can do, you might be able to get some of your money back if it was sold on ebay but if it is somewhere else like qrz or eham, forget it. Just ask me and K4tfy, he got his $1300.00 back and my amp, power supply and a nice AT-500. Will I ever get my money or equipment, not from paypal because I sold it on eham.
Check, cash or whatever, not paypal.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 06:01:46 PM »

Go right ahead and use paypal. Sell your item to the guy and get a paypal payment then ship him the item. Then the buyer calls his bank and does a chargback

Or the item gets shipped by an unaccountable
or untraceable method. The "buyer" claims he
never received the goods. Anything I ship, or have
shipped TO me, from ham items to Christmas presents,

But UPS OFTEN will still throw it on the porch!
Use FedEx Ground. They are head and shoulders above UPS!

Posts: 134


« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 07:53:39 PM »

Thanks all for the advice. I've yet to buy ham gear out of town. Great info to consider.

dave Smiley

First, make it work, then make it pretty.
Yaesu Rigs: Kenwood TS-480HX, FT-8900R, FTM-350AR (Bluetooth motorcycle mobile), VX-8DR, SB-102 boat anchor (built one as a kid)

Moderate Spock: "Live for a reasonable amount of time and scrape by."

Posts: 301

« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 12:13:11 PM »

There is NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT that your address be printed on your checks.  I quit having my address on my personal checks in he late - 70's -- when theft of bank statements from your home mail box was popular.

Also, there are NO LEGAL REQUIREMENTS that your social security number, driver's license number or phone number be printed on your checks.

And if they do clean out your bank account, that's bank fraud, a federal offense.


Posts: 26

« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2012, 05:21:04 AM »


That's a great post right to the meat of the matter on checks and many, many other things in life these days.  Too often we are browbeaten or cajoled to include information we don't need to include on a document or in a transaction.  Stop and by day stuff we accept as the norm and somehow assume is required is often to our detriment.

Aside, I never use a personal check when it is not to a person or legitimate business I know.  I get a cashier's check if I really need something and can't be protected by something like PayPal.  For instance, I make Gunbroker transactions with a cashier's check or a credit card where I can manipulate the limit to just above what I really need.

For Paypal you need to generally confine your transaction to eBay for protection and then, as added protection consider the pictures on the bid page whether buyer or seller.  On the PayPal side, I've been covered several times.  A key has been early and frequent communication to document what happened.  Someone tried to stick me with not shipping a gold coin...oops they said, we didn't insure it (right...several hundred dollars not insured or registered).  Got my money back.  About 3-5% of my eBay purchases go wrong and I need to retract my cash from PayPal

Back to pictures, it breaks down when pictures get involved without identifying marks/serial numbers from the seller.  Either the seller has a picture of something beautiful that isn't or the buyer shows a picture of junk that is not what he received.

So when I purchase I require a serial number or some other identifying mark in a picture(s) from the seller sufficient to confirm I got what I ordered for high priced items.  And I do so through the market email system...don't give them your direct email if at all possible.

Next, if you are selling I always sell with serial numbers and identifying marks for protection.  I post those on the bid page so there can be no question what I sold.  If I had a problem selling, I would demand pictures of the serial number and/or identifying marks from the buyer.  Still this isn't the do all be all, cases have been swapped, dirt and scratches applied, etc....

Let the buyer and seller beware.  Sometimes you are just going to get scammed. 

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
-William Pitt, British prime-minister (1759-1806)
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