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Readers warn of Nigerian bike buying scam

Published: 28 May 2010

Updated: 19 November 2014

Kawasaki W650 owners Fiona and Andy Menzies are warning private bike sellers to be vigilant after narrowly escaping being swindled out of £4500.

The Kinross couple had advertised their W650 online for £950 when they were contacted by a prospective buyer with an apparently German address (olicthomas@yahoo.de).

He promised to send a cheque with a view to picking up the bike after it had cleared but then changed the plan to send a larger cheque covering both the cost of the bike and the price of shipping.

The Menzies subsequently received a cheque for £4500 they banked and which apparently cleared. 

The emails – written in broken English but with the ‘original’ German beneath it (actually the same English rendered into German by Google Translate) – went on to explain that the buyer’s shipping agent was currently in Benin, and would receive the payment for freighting the bike there at a Western Union money transfer office.

It was after Googling Benin that the Menzies’ discovered the address was Nigerian, not German, and smelt a rat and contacted police.

It was then the couple learned bogus cheques can take 3-4 weeks to bounce despite having been credited to your balance after the normal clearance period.

Police say the ‘Nigerian Purchase Scam’ is on the rise and sellers should be wary of any unusual arrangements with regard to the purchase of a bike they are selling.

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