So in the style of the great p-p-p-powerbook and m-m-m-macbook eBay scams, I've found myself in the middle of a similar scam regarding the sale of my old iPod. Here's the story:
I bought a new 60GB iPod about a week ago. Not needing my older 30GB 3rd gen model any more, I decided to sell it and the accessories I have for it. I put a thread up for it here on AF as well as on the LEM Swap List, but I didn't get any takers. So yesterday I put it on eBay, and (foolishly, now I realize) set a Buy-it-Now price of $200. This morning I got an e-mail from eBay saying that the iPod had sold, followed by an e-mail from the buyer:
Compliment of the season to you. I am Mrs Sharon Williams from
brooklyn,NY but Presently in UK for a Church programme. I saw your item advertised on ebay # 9743507360 and i am really intrested in buying it for my Daughter as a surprise Birthday gift for her in Oxbrigde college lagos and i will handle the shipment expenses.
i will be sending you my fedex account number for the shipment and i will be making out your payment via PayPal,so kindly send me your PAYPAL EMAIL ADDRESS so i can immedaitely make out your payment and you will receive the paypal payment confirmation from paypal. Make sure you get the package ready for shipment today,you can ship the item as soon as you recieve the paypal payment confirmation from paypal.
send me your paypal email address and i will immedaitely mke out payment.
Expecting your reply so as to immedaitely make out the
The e-mail came from a seemingly legit e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), but the text of the e-mail screams SCAM. First, she says she's from Brooklyn but currently in the UK. Second, she's buying it for someone else, and wants me to ship it to the UK. Third, she wants me to charge the overseas shipping to her FedEx account number. Fourth, she wants to pay by PayPal (probably with a stolen account), and fifth, she's demanding I ship the package today (good luck, today's a Sunday). I also looked on eBay, and she has zero feedback, and apparently deleted her eBay account immediately after clicking Buy-it-Now (it says she's no longer a registered user).
I haven't replied to her above e-mail yet. Instead, I'd like to harness the power of Applefritter and solicit advice/help on how to handle this. I don't want to simply e-mail back "You're a scammer, go to hell", but rather want to sour the deal so that she (probably a he, actually) decides it's not worth her (his?) time to go through with the scam.
Here's some info:
eBay auction link:
Her feedback page:
I'd email "her" back, and in a friendly yet firm manner;
I figure you'll probably get one sympathy email about her daughter, then one angry one, then you'll never hear from them again.
...but it would be a lot more fun to carve an ipod out of a bar of soap and mail that.
And as the 419eaters note, the longer you can string this person along, the less time they'll have to try and scam someone else.
Those are all good ideas. I had forgotten that since she cancelled her eBay account, she can't leave bad feedback (which is the one thing I want to avoid, as mine is currently 100%). I definitely am not going to do the whole "use my FedEx account number" thing, because frankly I don't even think FedEx-Kinkos would do it. The PayPal account she would use is almost certainly stolen, so refusing any payment by PayPal is also a good idea.
I just submitted this thread to the Fark queue, so with any luck I'll have a lot more advice and good ideas coming in soon.
This could prove quite amusing...
That is an awesome idea!!!
As far as accessories, you could always through in some of the pictures of iPod accessories from the local Sunday paper sales section.
OK, so looking through eBay's rules and stuff, I have to go through a lengthy process in order to report fraud and get the eBay charges wiped from my eBay account. I considered simply added the scammer's e-mail address to my spam filter and simply ignoring them, but I've decided instead to make it increasingly more difficult for them to try to scam me. Here's the e-mail I sent them back:
Note the use of "we" in the e-mail. I want to make them feel like they're not going after one person, but multiple people. I may even come up with multiple personas to put in the signatures of e-mails I send them, in case things get ugly.
As I recall in the p-p-p-powerbook thread, there was a scout at the recieving location that was able to find the scammers address and figure out some helpful facts. Can you get the same thing here?
Agreed. If they actually respond and give you an address to send it to see if anyone on the forums lives around there and can check it out.
The email you sent back is perfect. But I want to add a couple of very important items to this thread:
Ebay sellers don't forget to use two important Ebay items. First is the seller preferences that you can set for your auctions. I currently have "USA only buyers, No zero feedback buyers, 1 or more negative feedback buyers and mayber more. Since I have set those preferences I have not had any problem wiht the scammers.
Also if you see a loser Ebay member either on your auction page or one that looks weird on an item of someone else ADD them to your "blocked bidders list". I probably have 75-80 on mine and add at least two every two weeks.
You're absolutely right; from now on, I'm going to be setting some very strict rules for buyers.
Well, a quick update. I haven't heard back from the scammer (no real surprise), but I was pleased to find that one of the conditions in which eBay will refund your final value fee immediately is if the buyer is no longer a registered member (which the scammer is not). So I ended up not having to pay anything for the auction because the scammer was stupid enough to delete their eBay account. I'll relist the iPod this weekend, but I'm not going to offer buy-it-now and there will be a number of rules added (USA shipping only, will ship only to confirmed PayPal address, etc.).
Unlike ya'll I did not pick out this scam early. I listed a Dell laptop with a reserve, a starting price of $350 and within 6 hours of listing someone had used the buy it now option for $875. I was shocked an ecstatic! I then recieved this e-mail.
Hello Paul ,
Compliment of the season to you. I am Mrs Sharon Williams from New York,USA but Presently in UK for a church programme. I saw your item advertised on ebay # 150024598753 and i am really intrested in buying it for my daughter as a surprised birthday gift for her in School, Oxbrigde college lagos and i will handle the shipment expenses.
i will be sending you my fedex international shipping account for the shipment and i will be making out your payment via PayPal,so kindly send me your PAYPAL EMAIL ADDRESS so i can immedaitely make out your payment and you will receive the paypal payment confirmation from paypal. Make sure you get the package ready for shipment today,you can ship the item as soon as you recieve the
paypal payment confirmation from paypal.
Expecting your reply so as to immedaitely make out the payment.
First, compliments of the season? Oh dear. Second, my auction was listed as US buyers only. Same thing, "she" has private feedback, and sharon_williams472 (email@example.com) is her eBay username, is that the same one she used before and shut down?
I'd like to know what I should do now. If this person is willing to send me the money, and I get it not only out of paypal but into my bank account, should I worry about whether or not it's stolen or is that paypal's buisness? The listing cost about $20 between the buy it now and reserve options, so I'd like to get that money back without the lengthy process. Hopefully she deletes this username too.
Thanks for the advice
One of the risks of PayPal is having the buyer try to cancel the transaction and have the money pulled back out of your account. Not experienced it myself, fortunately, but read about it.
Why not send them an email linking to this thread, and insist based on the information above that you will only accept payment by mailed money order. Mention that you're also passing this link and their user name to PayPal and ebay as a precaution.
Don't even bother. I never received a response from them, so if you send them a note expressing suspicion like I did, they'll quickly forget about it. You can go through the eBay fraud reporting if they've already cancelled their eBay account; that way you can at least get your listing fees back.
The biggest clue in scammers like these almost always is the buyer giving a shipping account number to pay for the shipping. You can always figure that's a scammer. Another thing to watch for is an offer to pay more than your asking price.
Where do I go on eBay to get my fees back? Can someone link me?