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  • From now on we will require that a prefix is set for any items in the sales area. We have created regions and locations for this. We also require that you select a delivery option before posting your listing. This will hopefully help us streamline the things that get listed for sales here and help local people better advertise their items, especially for local only sales. New sales rules are also coming, so stay tuned.

Public Service Announcement: Beware of scammers, they work here too ...

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,275
Just a heads up - if you post a "Want to buy" request here and somebody with a low posting count refers you to an email address that is not a user here, run the other way and consider reporting it by posting a public update to your request.

Somebody here recently was looking for an item, and was referred to two different "people" by email address for what they were looking for. It was a scam, and the money (a considerable amount) is gone. These people prey on your desire to find something.

VCFed can't control what happens between individuals. But you do have a right to expose the email addresses of people who rip you off. User "jonasm" has been banned.
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,275
They sure do. But I did not say these were smart scammers, nor did I specify an email address. ;-0

It's the pattern that is important. Don't deal with people who have 0 reputation here who refer you to somebody else "off list." You are going to get scammed.
 

smbaker

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
360
Location
Oregon, USA
Just a heads up - if you post a "Want to buy" request here and somebody with a low posting count refers you to an email address that is not a user here, run the other way and consider reporting it by posting a public update to your request.

Happened to me recently from Jonasm, and I have to admit I almost fell for it. There were two things that gave me pause:

1) The person on the other end of the email did not accept paypal, only wire transfers and checks.

2) They copy and pasted the name of the item I was looking for verbatim out of my subject line.

Usually I'm pretty savvy about scam avoidance, but if they had accepted paypal and if they expended even the tiniest amount of effort in social engineering a story about what they were selling, they might have separated me from my money. Then again, with paypal, I might have been able to get it back (which is why they don't take paypal).
 

SomeGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,236
Location
Marietta, GA
Sigh. Thanks for the heads up. Every day it seems like this world gets more and more crooked.

I've been thinking about eventually asking for some parts in the want to buy area, but at least they aren't things I would give away more than a few bucks for.

In general, I would have a low amount of trust in anyone with few or no posts. If someone has gone to the trouble of investing time creating real content and reputation here, then they would be less likely to risk that.

At least AI bots would not get too far posting around here, as people on this forum actually have brains.
 

alejack12001

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
308
I am the latest victim to be had by Jonasm. I had posted a WTB for a Tandy Hard Drive Case (TC) on the forum. Jonasm read the message and sent me a private message with his point of contact Shasta Holmes <shastaholmes@outlook.com>, who lived in Texas. I wrote Shasta to inquire about the TC, he said he had one for sale. He was asking the same price as another seller in eBay for TC from Canada at $350. I told him it was too much. We negotiated the price down to $125.

Holmes didn't have a PayPal account but his son did. His sons name Kioko Munyoto <munyoto@yahoo.com>. His son?? The name should have resonated a question as to why the names didn't match, but, I was too much in hurry to complete the purchase. I had first sent PayPal's credit card payment, which was rejected and refunded. So, I sent cash from my credit union via PayPal’s Friends and Family. According to Holmes, the son could only receive a partial payment of $125. I found out after that I had been 'had' from PayPal’s. that he got the whole amount and the picture he sent back to me stating that he refunded it was fake. Holmes wrote back that Kioko Munyoto's brother Nnjihia Mwangi <mwangaja@yahoo.com> had a fully open account where the money could be sent. Again, another name that didn't seem to match the brother. Unfortunately for me, I sent the same amount to him as well.

The payment was acknowledged by Holmes that he got it. He did state he was going to send out the TC. When I pressed him for tracking information, which I insisted upon at the beginning of the deal; he refused to answer. In my last email to Holmes, I asked "Did you actually have a TC to sell?" No answer there as well. I have advised calling the police that they have a special unit for this type of crime.
 

Shadow Lord

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
3,163
Location
California
This is why I always tell everyone to never use PP friends and family unless you are okay losing the money or you know the person well. If the PP fees are an issue you are better off paying them and not risking it. I've gotten flack for it many times but if there is an issue you have recourse.
 

Shadow Lord

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
3,163
Location
California
The payment was acknowledged by Holmes that he got it. He did state he was going to send out the TC. When I pressed him for tracking information, which I insisted upon at the beginning of the deal; he refused to answer. In my last email to Holmes, I asked "Did you actually have a TC to sell?" No answer there as well. I have advised calling the police that they have a special unit for this type of crime.

Who ever told you that gave you bad advice. The police are not going to do anything. This is a civil matter. Did you pay PP purchase or friends and family? If you paid as a purchase then just file item not received and be done with it.
 

Shadow Lord

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Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
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California
Before I forget I should mention that I have bought many items from guys on the forum here (just bought two items last month in fact) and sold items without any issues! Most of the guys(gals?) here are honest and will do you right. Every once in a while you get a weird vibe from someone and then you just cancel the deal and walk away. Had to do that with a guy who I was buying multiple systems from about a year ago. Just too much hassle and constant whining made it smell very fishy.
 

VERAULT

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
6,207
Location
Connecticut, USA
Thats true shadow and I have bought and sold to members here as well. I remember a member here (dont remember whom) who made a huge stink and even complained about me on this forum when I refused to send him a payment friends and family.. I mean I didnt even know him nor had we ever really talked on this forum. LEsson I learned is you can pay someone via paypal, and once you get the item Friends and family them the amount that was fees.

I'm not a very trusting person. I had the misfortune of growing up in a really bad city. It taught me alot of lessons I cant unlearn. I feel bad for you guys for getting taken, but at the same time.. What the hell were you thinking? Smarten up. If you assume all people are good.. your going to be sorely disappointed.
 

Agent Orange

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
Messages
6,200
Location
SE MI
This is a very important and interesting thread. I am looking to make a major purchase for a very hot PC item these days. If you go on to Ebay it seems everyone and their brother has the item for sale and at the inflated price of 3 to 4 times retail. I don't have a problem with that as it's the American way. However, I also have been shopping on CraigsList and it seems that sellers now have a way of placing their offerings in ones local area while in fact, they are located maybe a thousand miles away, and offer contact phone numbers with area codes that are many states away. That in itself doesn't seem to be problematic but there could be some rough edges in that sort of transaction. One item in particular had me reply with an offer and I wanted to negotiate the price. The person on the other end only offered C.O.D. That left me wondering how I would stand on my front porch, rip open the package, and then ascertain that I received what I expected. I shot another email back and told the seller that I would only deal with PP and that you needed to have a PP account if you want to sell to me. The seller came back with an "I'm extremely busy and don't have time for this but I can set the sale up though Amazon or Newegg". I thought to myself that seller can do all of that but no PP account. I've notice that of late the item is still there and the price isn't completely out of line, but no takers so far. Bottom line for me is it just didn't seem right and I think I'll pass on this one.
 
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Shadow Lord

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
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California
Fraud is not part of criminal law in the US? Oh dear, glad it is where I live.

Fraud is a part of US criminal law. However, the cops are not going to get involved here (or really anywhere in the world) over a couple of hundred bucks. Plus what Fraud? OP paid seller, seller shipped with out tracking and paid cash at the PO. Yeah seller feels real stupid about not making sure to have tracking. Lesson learned. But hey maybe the buyer got it and saw there is no tracking and now he is trying to scam him out of the item and the money. So the buyer is committing fraud.

Your only real recourse is civil litigation which generally is not an option to begin with for a host of reasons. However, if you can prove in court he actually did not send you the package then you are entitled to your money back.
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
40,218
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
Early on, in the days of online auctions, you could usually spot a fraud by the seller demanding payment via Western Union. I think eBay eventually caught on and prohibited the practice. You could see auctions posted that used photos gleaned from other auctions. One of the ways to avoid this--and it still may be useful today--is to ask for additional photos, with a bidder-specified note in the photo. A fraudulent seller usually cannot provide them, as he usually doesn't have the real goods.
 

SunSpotter

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
54
Location
California
If I'm being totally honest, I don't understand people who scoff at PayPal fees, whether it's the buyer or seller. If it's that big of a deal to the seller, just offer to cover it, or ask the buyer to cover the charge if it bothers you as the seller. I've bought and sold through PMs to some people I wondered about in retrospect, but ultimately had no problems because I did everything legit through PayPal. I recognize it's not foolproof, but it's at least something and if I had to choose, I'd rather loose sleep over a few bucks in fees rather than hundreds in total sale value. Anyways, I digress.

If a seller won't budge even when you offer to cover the charge, either they're extremely lazy or they're trying to pull something. Neither are good for your money or items...
 

AndyO

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
101
Location
U.S. East Coast
...our only real recourse is civil litigation which generally is not an option to begin with for a host of reasons. However, if you can prove in court he actually did not send you the package then you are entitled to your money back.

It is possible that the police would not be interested in reacting to a report of criminal activity, but what has been described IS a criminal activity nevertheless. Taking money from a customer and not supplying the agreed item is not a civil matter. While suggesting civil litigation in response is certainly an option, filing a report of wire fraud, and demanding that the authorities investigate is not unreasonable either.

There are 'internet crimes' units - by many different names - within US law enforcement agencies. They don't all sit at desks munching doughnuts all day.
 

whartung

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2020
Messages
616
I'm not really in tune with modern exchange methods. But we've been paying vendors and sending money to relatives via a utility called "Zelle". These seem to have direct support of the banks, and, I guess, is pretty simple to set up.

I don't know how it compares to things like paypal et al.
 

Shadow Lord

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
3,163
Location
California
It is possible that the police would not be interested in reacting to a report of criminal activity, but what has been described IS a criminal activity nevertheless. Taking money from a customer and not supplying the agreed item is not a civil matter. While suggesting civil litigation in response is certainly an option, filing a report of wire fraud, and demanding that the authorities investigate is not unreasonable either.

There are 'internet crimes' units - by many different names - within US law enforcement agencies. They don't all sit at desks munching doughnuts all day.

No it is not. It may well be but fraud is not simply one side saying I paid and I did not get my item. One important component of fraud is that there was an intent - i.e. the seller had no intention to ever ship the item. Nothing presented here goes to that. You may be able to prove that in a court of law but until then we just have a bunch of hearsay. As I said earlier the seller can claim he shipped and the buyer is lying about not receiving it or he ships it after you make noise, or he just refunds you. Any of those things would destroy the required elements for fraud. You can also report it to whoever you want and get a case number BUT you will still be out your money and nothing will happen.

Much easier to be smart from the get go and pay PP as a purchase -> no tracking number -> report for item not received. Done. If the seller won't do it then just walk away. another one will show up....
 

clh333

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2015
Messages
1,427
Location
Cleveland, OH, USA
This is why I always tell everyone to never use PP friends and family unless you are okay losing the money or you know the person well. If the PP fees are an issue you are better off paying them and not risking it. I've gotten flack for it many times but if there is an issue you have recourse.

As a side note: My bank credit card which I use to fund PayPal payments has in the last year begun to classify PP "Friends and Family" payments as "cash advances", and charges $11 plus a percentage of the sum sent for "advancing" the money. The PayPal fees amount to 2.9% of the amount transferred plus $0.30. If the seller requests "F&F" payment you probably should offer to pick up the PayPal fees instead. For one thing, your purchase is then covered by their purchase protection.

If the seller will not accept PayPal but insists on a money order through Western Union or such, run, do not walk, away.

-CH-
 

WimWalther

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
399
Location
St. Paul, MN
One quick comment about PayPal & fees. I get grumpy about absorbing fees as a seller, as those fees act as buyer insurance and do nothing for me.

The only reason PayPal levies the fees from me and not the buyer / beneficiary, is simply because THEY CAN.

So I always request the Friend / Fam route, with the option of the buyer adding extra to cover fees. Then again, I have a very fine 22-year reputation on eBay to back up my word..
 
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