How to spot an email scam

By David Cushman -

 07 December 2006 10:52

The following emails are from a ‘Paul Close’, ( almost certainly a fake identity. They have all been passed to the Met Police for further investigation.

MCN investigated after having an email forwarded from a concerned seller. We warned the seller to avoid – and decided to contact the con artist ourselves – pretending to have a bike to sell. Please note, at no stage did we say what the bike was – and the conman never asked! The conman’s emails are unedited.

This is what we sent initially:  I understand you want to buy my bike? Can you run me through how you'd like to make the purchase?

April 20, 2005: Thanks for your prompt mail i will like to know the bottom line price you want the bike to go for also the present condition of the bike,i will like to make payment in cheque  U.K client will take care of the shipping of the bike,hope to read from you today.

We responded telling him we wanted £4000 and that the bike was in good nick.

April 21, 2005: Thanks for your mail,your terms are okay by me i have contacted my client and he said that since you said the cost of your bike  is £4000  but there is something i will like to tell you that you have to understand that my client is owing me £3000 and also part of the balance his meant for the shipping cost he has just issued you a cheque of £7000 which you will be expecting a cheque of £7000 while you deduct your £4000and  wire me back my £3000 via Western Union Money Transfer as soon as you receive the cheque i will like you make the transfer of £3000 minus the comission for the transfer of the funds via western union money transfer which i will be using for paying up my client'sshipper.After the balance on the cheque has been wired to me i will then instruct my client's shippers to come to your destination to pick up the bike.I believe i could trust you with this transaction and I also believe that you would be a responsible human being so let me have your full contact information to where the cheque will be sent to like this.


full address....





cell telephone number...and mobile number.......

Looking forward to your respond and do not forget the photos so that my client will be able to see what he is paying for. So i will be expecting your mail soonest today and the information of your's.

We sent some pictures of an RSV1000 – at random. And we responded, suggesting that if the deal was done, we would remove our ad for the bike.