The following email received today that I wish to share here. These scams NORMALLY play out to the classic "Nigerian" type "Overpayment Scam" - they overpay with a fraudulant/stolen cheque and ask you to refund the overpayment via Western Union transfer which is untraceable. They never collect the goods and two or three months down the line your bank will notify you that the cheque is stolen. Refund payment to the scammer - gone! This scam is used on all types of goods offered for sale on the Net.
This is just an update on my previous email about the scam we believe was being played on our boat and with feelers out to at least one more. The person concerned was supposedly in Malaysia (at Georgetown in Penang) he declares his interest in the boat as advertised on our site and asks for our best price. Sounds very much like the usual query in Asia of "Best price Mister?" He starts out using the email address belonging to a black Malaysian called Chuckwudi Barrah (Google him!) but signs it Leslie Hughes with a phone number that is never available. He then reverts to his own ymail address. We have tried ringing the two versions of the number that he has given us. We have played along - accepting his offer which is a bit below our asking price. He says he wants to pay by bank cheque. We say No - direct deposit only. He has been coming back to us twice a week for weeks now wanting a quick conclusion but never goes ahead. We were suspicious from the very first email but wanted to see if we could catch him out. We have now rung the ACCC and ScamWatch about this correspondence and they believe it has all the hallmarks of a scam. The purpose of this email is to advise you that if you receive any interest on your boat where the purchaser wants to pay by bank cheque, especially if international, be very careful. It can take up to 2 months for these cheques to be cleared, although after only a few days your bank may say the funds are clear. However, they can still come back to you later and demand the money back because they have discovered it is a fraud. Even local bank cheques can be fraudulent. Just make sure the funds are clear before you hand over your boat. But according to ScamWatch they aren't interested in the boat. They are just after money. Scams like this, but involving much cheaper boats - $10,000 to $15,000 - have been perpetrated for some time, but it seems that they are now setting their sites on higher priced vessels. Be especially careful if they want to send you a cheque or pay by credit card for an amount higher than your asking price. Their scam is to ask you to send the balance back to them by Western Union, generally. Of course, once they have the money that's the last you hear of them and you have done your money. Click on the following link www.scamwatch.gov.au and read some of the scams. You will be surprised.
Also see: http://www.419eater.com
(forums) - a site operated by volunteers actively fighting the "419" Nigerian scams,