As you may know, I’m trying to sell my car and registered an advert on Autotrader. Not long afterwards, I got a badly written e-mail from “Mr Albert Robinson” who signed off at the end of the e-mail as “Mr. Albert”. Immediately suspicious. In addition, the purchase involved an overpayment from an intermediary from which I was to forward the difference using a Western Union money transfer.
I checked the internet and sure enough, loads of sites described this scam. Nevertheless, I decided to respond and see what would happen, determined not to part with any money. In the end I managed to waste quite a bit of the scammer’s time e-mailing and his associate even sent me a cheque for 13,500.UKP.
In case you don’t know how this one works, the Nigerians (and apparently it’s always the Nigerians) send you a cheque which you bank. Part of the deal involves you sending the difference between the asking price and the cheque to the ‘buyer’ (in my case 4,500.UKP. When you get the cheque, you are put under HUGE pressure to send a sum of money as soon as possible because of hardships endured by the 3rd party, interest, demarrage (shipboard storage to you and me), all total nonsense and nothing to do with you, the seller. The aim is to get you to transfer money before your bank inform you that the cheque is void and remove the balance from your account!
Happily, someone I know works in a division of HM police forces and I was able to forward the e-mails and the cheque to them. Apparently there are so many people running these scams that there is almost nothing wothwhile that they can do…
So the message here is…be on your guard!
1. Genuine buyers will want to see the car before buying.
2. Genuine buyers will never voluteer more money than the asking price.
3. Anything involving Western Union is suspect.
4. Anyone signing themselves as “Mr. Albert” at the bottom of an e-mail is bogus.