Fraudulent buyers usually operate by depositing fake or stolen cheques into the seller’s account or sending through fake proof of payment / EFT to the seller’s e-mail account or via fax. We have posted warnings about this on the Avoid Scams section of the Junk Mail website.
However, this scam has recently entered the digital age. Potential buyers respond via e-mail and claim that they are in a foreign country or in a different city than the seller. They request the seller’s banking details and claim that they will making payment for the item via the Bank of America, Barclays, Western Union, Moneygram (or another international financial institution). Once they send through the fake proof payment they request that the seller courier the item to them.
Users who sell items via Junk Mail should note the following:
- When a buyer seems almost too keen to purchase items and appears to want to buy whatever you have for sale, without regard for the price or condition of the goods you are most likely dealing with a potential fraudster.
- Immediate requests for your bank account details to deposit money even before the items have been seen should be considered suspicious, especially when linked to a demand that the transaction be concluded immediately and goods collected / delivered within a few hours.
- The more complicated the deal becomes, the more likely that it is a scam.
- If the e-mail you receive from the potential buyer is sent from a web based e-mail address (like “@gmail.com” “@yahoo.com”, “@yahoo.co.uk”, “@hotmail.com”, “@live.com”, “@msn.com” or “@live.co.za” be very vigilant. E-mail addresses like these take literally 5 minutes to set up online and are often used by fraudsters.
- If the e-mail you receive from the potential buyer contains broken English or contains a story of a person claiming to be in another country working at a missionary or wanting the item for one of their relatives as a birthday present, be vigilant.
- If you suspect that you’re dealing with a potential fraudster do an internet search for the person’s e-mail address or phone number. Victims of these criminals post warnings about this on online forums which will be picked up by your search.
- Do not courier the item to the potential buyer unless you’re 100% certain that payment has been received for it.
- If you suspect that the potential buyer has sent you a fake proof of payment check with the bank they are a using to make sure that the payment is genuine.
REMEMBER: Sell your item on your terms. Do not drive great distances to meet the potential buyer or go to great lengths to enable them to make the purchase (such as buying airtime for them, depositing money into their account for petrol to be able to drive to your designated meeting spot and so on). Be Smart! Be Savvy! Be Safe!
If you have been a victim of scam or if you want to report a scam please e-mail us at email@example.com and provide us with an account of your experience. Include the phone number / e-mail address of the persons involved if possible.