How to spot an email scam
07 December 2006 10:52
Conmen are trying to make thousands from those of us selling our bikes – and it's time for us to join together and hit back.
Read this story and pass on the details to every motorcyclist you know (send it as a link if you prefer).
Detective Constable Tim Hinks of the Met Police’s economic and specialist crime unit says getting the information to as wide an audience as possible is the key to beating the con.
The fraud works like this. First, a potential buyer contacts you and agrees a price for your bike – but only by email. They never want to meet or talk on the phone.
Then he tells you he’ll send a cheque and have someone pick up the bike. The cheque arrives – but it’s for more than the amount you agreed. The conman then asks you to pay in the cheque, wait for it to clear – and then send back the over-payment by Western Union. Sounds very trusting of them, doesn't it?
Trouble is, the cheque never clears and the Western Union payment can never be traced – leaving you out of pocket. They don’t bother coming to get the bike – they don’t need to, they’ve already made their cash.
We’ve tried reeling in one of these conmen – and gone so far as getting them to send us a cheque. But DC Hinks says there’s little that can be done to snare the conmen because the cheque is a fake.
“A busy bank will pay the cheque into your account and within 36 hours it appears as ‘cleared funds’. You’ll then send off the excess by Western Union – which takes your funds immediately. When the bank discovers the fraud it’s too late for you – and you lose out.
On the next page we list the emails we received from this scam artist. If you get anything similar – ignore them or forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org