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Author Topic: Online purchase gone wrong -- what should I do next?  (Read 4157 times)

Posts: 60


« on: October 15, 2010, 05:32:44 PM »

I placed a classified ad on eHam for a reciever recently.  I got two responses, both from outside the US, both requiring Western Union as a method of payment.  I have read online that Western Union has been the payment of choice for scammers because WU doesn't do anything to help you get your money back, but I thought I'd take a chance. 

I responded to both responses.  The first one to accept my response was David Munro (2E1EQX), and he was the one I chose to work with.  David accepted my offer of $200 including shipping, and I sent the money via Western Union as requested.  Today I got an email from him stating that he required a license and tax papers from the "custom office" and that these documents would cost an additional $150.  I told him that that was too much and to please send me back the money via Western Union.

You can guess what happened next.  He told he he was sorry but that he already spent the money and could we please continue the transaction.  I said no, I wanted my money back.  He then asked for my Paypal address so I could accept money from someone else and then pass along the excess to him again via Western Union.  I again said no, I wanted my money back.  I haven't heard back from him -- admittedly it is late there right now, but still.

What should I do next?  As I mentioned before, I don't expect Western Union to do anything to help me here.  I can't exactly take him to small claims court.  What are my options?


Posts: 3746

« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 05:51:29 PM »


By posting your transaction details you have helped to
stop others from loosing their money.

You have zero options, WU can't help you since
the money is gone.

If a local transaction is not possible, I've had good
deals on ebay, stick to sellers that have high feedbacks,
do your research and you will find what you are looking for.

73 james

Posts: 429

« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 11:23:20 PM »

I have read online that Western Union has been the payment of choice for scammers because WU doesn't do anything to help you get your money back, but I thought I'd take a chance.

Unfortunate indeed. Some ham radio forums have been peppered with threads about this scam situation.
Chances are that if you Google the call, the name, you will find several articles about it. Probably even a copy of the e-mail that was sent to you.
Just be glad it was only $200 that you lost. I have seen where other hams have lost much more! Sad
Sorry to hear about it, it is a real drag that this sort of thing happens.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 04:15:26 PM »

Sorry to hear about your plight.

Did he ever provide a UK Phone number?
IF he did, and there is a "702" or "70x" after the 044 UK
Country Code, that is a redirect to a cel phone outside the UK.
702 is the redirect to Nigeria.

What about his email address?
Do you know how to open up the "full Header"
on one of his emails and do a "WhoIs" search?

That will give you his IP Address and location.
This is a skil EVERY Internet user should know.

You can lookup instructions on getting
the full header for an email either from your email
programs Help File or an online search.

He may not be in the UK at all.
He **may** not be David Munro (2E1EQX) at all.

With certain WU Services (i.e. "money In Minutes"
and others, money can be picked up ANYWHERE)
Call WU with the MTCN Number and asked them
WHERE the money was picked up.

Maybe someone hijacked his name & call.
There are no such extra fees as he mentions you
needed to pay (but I think you knew this).

I would do the email IP Address search on him.
The authorities will want it and the full headers
of your emails anyway.
If it came from within the UK, notify the UK Internet
Authorities and possibly the UK Ham Licensing Authorities.
EITHER WAY...notify & report the crime to
IC3, the Internet Crimt Reporting Center.

You'll never get your money back unfortunately,
but these guys at IC3 keep a big database on these guys.
And they do bust them more and more.

Email me if you need some help. I'm "good in the book"
73, Ken AD6KA
At least do something.... ANYTHING.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-Edmuund Burke

Posts: 2527

« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2010, 03:34:40 PM »

Waist his time.

Ask for a pix of him standing behind the rig, holding his call sign on 8X11 sheet of paper.  Before you send more money you want to verify it is him and not some other ham trying to get him into trouble.

If you get that, next ask him to either mail to you the documents, the export and tax licenses he says he needs to get, or photo copy them and email them to you.

If they arrive, explain you need to find some one to translate them.

Accept the PayPal xfer into your account but type it incorrectly when you send it to him.

Check with PayPal to see how long funds from a foreign country have to sit in your account to insure PayPal that whomever sent them cannot ask for them back--should be a few months.  Ask what happens if you return the funds and the originator contests the initial charge to his charge card.

If you know how to cover your self, then claim to have sent the payment to his friend.

When it never arrives there, "Ooops! I set it to your friend".

Next xfer "Ooooops!  I miss-spelled your name,"

Then "Ooops, I got your first and last name backwards."

"Dam!! I sent it to New Mexico!!??"



Posts: 268

« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 10:35:43 PM »

There is a very simple solution for this problem. Just dont do business with overseas hams. Unless its some uber-rare radio that you just cant get anywhere else, why go through the headaches and risks just to buy something that can be had here? If you are trying to buy something common like an IC-718 or Yaesu FT-101E, there is no reason to be screwing around with some overseas scammer...

Posts: 771

« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2010, 10:47:10 PM »

Unfortunately, the transaction was not paid with PayPal otherwise they have buyer protection.  I say this because the seller was supposed to disclose all additional costs involved in this transaction, e.g. customs license, etc.  My wife used to work for the US Customs and those forms are free.  Check to see ebay and file a claim there.  They also have Safe Harbor which ebay may help.  Good luck! 73, Delwyn KH6DC

73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC

Posts: 167

« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2010, 01:08:44 AM »

If shipping is over and above the price, any honest person would quote the shipping costs separately. Customs etc would be the responsibility of the importer, i.e. you.

A problem that one has to watch is identity theft in these cases.

Posts: 164

« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 08:19:43 AM »

If you read the SCAMS area of the classifieds, you will notice that sometimes, your WTB will be answered with a generic response claiming that they have the "item" you are looking for. Yes, "item", not Yaesu Receiver, Plonkameter, etc., they will claim to have the item. A lot of these scammers are too lazy to write individual responses, they just want a template they can plop an e-mail address into.

And, if you are selling, you will get responses where they want to send you a money order/cashiers check with some overage for shipping and they want the rest refunded, sent to the shipper, etc. Long after you send them the money via Western Union, you will find that the money order/cashiers check is a fake.

I am positive that there are some honest people in Nigeria, but unfortunately, there is a low probability of running into any of them in online transactions, given the large number of professional fraudsters operating there.

I have seen some websites dedicated to wasting the time of the "Lads from Lagos", and one of the things they do is to send bogus Western Union confirmation numbers, making them waste a trip to the WU office and get nothing in return.

Unfortunately, in your current circumstances, you will probably end up just counting the $200 to tuition in the school of hard knocks.

-- Tom

Posts: 145


« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2010, 03:07:58 PM »

I guess you could have sent the money via WU using a credit card then you could have disputed the credit charge, it would be a fight with WU but maybe they would change their policy.

Western Union is the scammers choice for sure, every scam I have heard of involves Western Union ..

Posts: 3746

« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2010, 06:56:20 PM »


Jack placed his want ad here on Eham, not eBay so they can't help him.

73 james

Posts: 723

« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 06:30:08 PM »

A sad situation, and I wish I could help, but, scammers are always looking to steal whatever they can get.
I never do business outside the US unless they pay or accept payment by paypal.

N8CMQ   Jeff Retired...

Posts: 2243

« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 07:22:06 PM »

I guess you could have sent the money via WU using a credit card then you could have disputed the credit charge, it would be a fight with WU but maybe they would change their policy.

I wouldn't do this. I had a $175 WU Money Transfer to Puerto Rico
appear on one of CC's. I immediately called the CC company, disputed
the charge, cancelled the card. THe CC company refunded
my money, but WU kept coming after me for the $ with threatening
letters, etc, until my sister, an atty, sent them a letter.

And yes, I did monitor my credit report for any non-payment
or debt reporting.

WU was very uncooperative about giving me the details
of the money transfer, even after I filed a report with
their laughable "Security Division". It took weeks to even get
a name out of them, and then they would not even give me the store
address of where it was picked up, much less the receiver's
listed address, or form of ID used to pick it up.

"Money In Minutes" is one of their biggest scams. You can send money to
someone quickly. But even if you designate the receiver as "Bill Smith, Jr
in Racine, Wisconsin", it can be picked up ANYWHERE in the USA by anyone with
a "Bill Smith, Jr" fake ID. And since most WU locations are mom & pop
liquor stores or markets in shady areas, they don't look real hard at ID's,
it as all. They want their percentage.
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