Floggery Scams

Sadly all replies to Wanted or For Sale adverts must be treated with suspicion.  You may well receive a response from a perfectly sensible looking email address which specifically mentions your item and asks sensible questions.  If the respondent is a MTWC member then you should be pretty safe.  The following is a suggested way to check responses from any unknown source.

Danger Signs

Is there anything slightly odd about the reply e.g. asking for photographs of your item when they are already published, suggesting payment methods, asking questions that show complete ignorance of Morgans, poor use of language or poor spelling?  These guys send out large numbers of such emails so they are a bit one size fits all.

Have they included a telephone number for you to contact?  Scammers avoid such things as verbals are much harder to get away with.

Simple Checks

Do a search on the sender’s email address.  If they are scammers then it is likely that they have already used the mail address to scam others and they may well have had their address published by people who have identified them as scammers.  I did such a search and found my scammer on this Vancouver site  which also gives examples of the sort of mails you are likely to see and demonstrates that these guys try the same scams worldwide.

If nothing is found on the email address and the email looks legitimate then request a phone number if none has been supplied.  If it is a scam then that is probably the last you will hear.

If you have a phone number then give them a call.  Chances are they are legitimate and it is much easier to tell via a quick chat.  If you are trying to buy something then check if you (or a local colleague) can call round to pick up the item and hand over the cash.  This may not be possible from your standpoint but if the seller finds reasons why this is not possible then it rings alarm bells.   Any request for money up front for say shipping costs or anything else is probably also a signal that something isn’t quite right.

If all seems well and you are selling something then do not let go of it until you see the money.  If they come up with some convoluted way of paying then again the alarm bells should go off.

None of the above is difficult or time consuming so always check.  Conversely please don’t get cranky if someone checks you out in similar ways.

Any further warnings or intelligence we should add?……..then please mail the website with your suggestions.