SCAM­MER MEM­OIRS

Camper Trailer Australia - - FEATURE -

Within 24 hours of the first ad for my cam­per go­ing on­line, I re­ceived the fol­low­ing SMS:

“In­ter­ested in your post on trad­ing­post, reach me at ************ @big­pond.com for fur­ther con­tact as I have hear­ing prob­lems and pre­fer email. Re­gards Neil,” the en­quirer wrote.

This had all the classic smells of a scam, but I replied po­litely and beat him to the punch by point­ing out that I wouldn’t ac­cept PayPal. That was the last I heard from Neil.

The next morn­ing I re­ceived the fol­low­ing:

“Is your Aussie Swag Classic 2002 still up for sale? Please re­ply with price to *********** @ out­look.com”

I re­sponded the same way again and that was again suf­fi­cient to short-cir­cuit the con­ver­sa­tion. Any­way, why ask the price if it was there in the ad­ver­tise­ment?

Three days later came an­other SMS:

“Hello, is your trailer still for sale. Kindly email me its con­di­tion with your ask­ing price to *************** @out­look.com Email only.”

Now, my on­line ad had a quite com­pre­hen­sive (I thought) 483-word de­scrip­tion, but I du­ti­fully replied with my con­di­tion that pay­ment was ac­cept­able only in cash, ver­i­fi­able bank cheque or di­rect bank trans­fer. This time it didn’t stop a de­ter­mined scam­mer, who replied:

“Thanks for the swift re­sponse...I am OK with the ask­ing price. due to the na­ture of my job and location...i will not be able to come for in­spec­tion, am a very busy type as i work long hours every day, i have gone through your ad­ver­tise­ment and i am sat­is­fied with it. As for the pay­ment i will be pay­ing you via the fastest and se­cure way to pay on­line (PayPal). I have a pri­vate courier agent that will come for the pick up after the pay­ment have been made ...so no ship­ping in­cluded. You can now send me your PayPal email so i can pay in right away and also in­clude your ad­dress in your re­ply. If you don’t have a paypal ac­count, you can eas­ily set up one...log on to www.paypal.com. au and sign up. All i re­ally need from you is the ex­act de­tails. Kindly delete the post­ing as am def­i­nitely buy­ing it from you and it would be sad for me to make the pay­ment only to be in­formed of the its sale.”

De­spite his in­sis­tence, I re­sponded:

“Thanks for the kind of­fer, but I can­not and will not ac­cept pay­ment by PayPal and have no in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing an ac­count. If you have the funds I’m sure a bank trans­fer would be much more con­ve­nient. I can­not re­lease the cam­per to any­one un­til I can con­firm the funds are in my bank ac­count. I’m sure you un­der­stand my cau­tion.”

Al­fred, be­cause I had de­ter­mined that was his name, came back:

“Due to my present location my choices are lim­ited and not of­ten avail­able by the phone i would have call you. I am an honor­able per­son and you will re­ceive your money cash in hand be­fore this is picked up. How­ever, it’s easy and free to open a paypal ac­count. Just go to there web­site www.paypal.com and sign up a per­sonal ac­count there. Paypal is the world lead­ing pay­ment mas­ter that pro­tects both buyer/seller in­ter­est. You are on a se­cured trans­ac­tion with paypal. Above all, it’s like in­stant cash. As soon as you open an ac­count, get back to me with the name and email that you linked with your paypal ac­count and I will have your money sent asap. And due to the na­ture of my job and hav­ing be­ing a paypal cus­tomer for the past 18 months with no charge back, I feel more com­fort­able send­ing my funds via paypal due to there var­i­ous se­cu­rity mea­sures at en­sur­ing safe and se­cured trans­ac­tion be­tween both buyer/seller. But, if you feel other­wise, I to­tally un­der­stand.”

I fig­ured Al­fred would be bet­ter off as a PayPal agent, but de­spite the long winded ex­change I du­ti­fully replied:

“Thanks for the re­ply. While I am fa­mil­iar with PayPal and its uses to pay ac­counts on­line I am still much more com­fort­able with the cash/bank de­posit/bank cheque pro­cesses and feel I must stick with one of those.”

I thought I was cut­ting off all his lines of ma­noeu­vre, but he didn’t give up:

“As re­gards the pay­ment, I can pay you through di­rect bank de­posit, us­ing paypal in­stant bank wire trans­fer ser­vice, I will need your bank de­tails. If you are not com­fort­able with that, you can set up a paypal ac­count proper at www. paypal.com.au and I will make the pay­ment through paypal, this way, all I will need is your paypal email ad­dress.”

You would have thought he’d have got the mes­sage, but again I had to un­der­line things:

“Sorry, I can­not have any­thing to do with PayPal. I would just want a straight bank trans­fer, from your ac­count to mine.”

Thank­fully, Al­bert got the mes­sage.

But that wasn’t the end. Un­til the cam­per was sold, it was ad­ver­tised on three other on­line sites, and each time it ap­peared there was a wave of three or four scam­mers, all with the same mo­dus operandi and all (ex­cept Al­fred) dropped out as soon as I made my stip­u­la­tions about pay­ment. I was tempted to send them a bulk email to put them in touch with each other. I’m sure they would have much to share.

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