Junk Mail has been around for almost 20 years. Over the years we have brought thousands of buyers and sellers together. One of our aims has always been to ensure that our users are informed and aware of various scams that are out there.
A few years ago the Wireless Application Service Providers (WASPA) made the Junk Mail team aware of a SMS scam targeting second-hand goods sellers. This scam is a version of the Advance Fee Fraud Scams (or 419 scams).
How this scam works
A scammer will pose as a potential buyer and offer to buy goods from second-hand sellers. They’ll use a commercial SMS messaging service to send the seller an apparent legitimate confirmation that they have deposited money for the goods into the sellers’ bank account. They will then insist on taking goods from the seller (who will soon discover that no deposit was made into his / her bank account).
Unfortunately, it is all too easy for scammers to create and send an SMS that is a convincing replica of the ones a banking institutions might send when someone makes a deposit into your account. This scam targets people selling goods in newspaper classifieds or via online services (like Junk Mail and other classifieds websites). The scammers operate mostly on the weekends and in the evenings.
How to avoid being a victim of this scam
If you are selling an item and a potential buyer behaves like this, do not release the goods you are selling until you see the deposit reflected in your bank account when you look at your statements online or using cellphone banking. The best way is to make sure that you have the cash in hand / that the funds deposited are available for your use before you release any goods you have for sale.
WASPA and its members have been taking a proactive approach to fighting this abuse of commercial SMS messaging platforms. Any member of the public who has fallen prey to such a scam is urged to immediately report the matter at the nearest police station where they will be able to open a case.
If you have been a victim of / subjected to this scam you are welcome report the person you’ve dealt with to us. Contact our Customer Care department on 012-3423840 x2295 or E-mail us a report of what happened to firstname.lastname@example.org
You might also want to check out these posts about scams for more useful information: