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Avoid Buyer Scams!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018   (4 Comments)
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Protect yourself by being aware and educated about online scams that are designed to take your money! First, here's advice from BoatUS

CBA volunteers and Steering Committee members are well aware of multiple scams (attempted criminal exploits) being experienced by members. This particular one (detailed below under 'General scam description...' section) has been reported in detail, and we are placing it on the News portion of the site for our Members' attention. Unfortunately, this is not something we can control.

Congratulations to all who have *not* fallen for it. If there is a next time for the reader, a non-response would be most effective. IGNORE or DELETE any suspicious emails!

Required reading for everyone submitting a Cats4Sale ad is our website menu item link under Cats For Sale - "Anti-Scam Advice from Craigslist"

In the Craigslist advice, you will see descriptions of scams similar to this one that was experienced by a member, as detailed below.

Additional warning about risk of phone-based scam calls: A member had just posted an ad and was reading through "Avoid Buyer Scams" when, lo and behold, his phone rang and he had a scammer on the line. The caller said he "represents an outfit called Boatseller Networks, and saw the ad on CraigsList" and offered to list the member's boat on half a dozen "better known" sites, all with the word "boat" in the title. He also said they would keep advertising till the boat sold and provide loans to prospective buyers at a maximum seller cost of $300. He checked the Internet and found a fishermen's site that exposed the scam's secret: None of these sites exist! They are empty domains with no content.

General scam description "Brian Marvin" (from a member, edited for privacy):

"I advertised an M22 SAIL for about $800 on the CBA website and received an offer to buy via email. The gentleman's name was Brian Marvin and he said he lived in Kansas. He could not communicate by phone because he stuttered too badly. His writing, however, was grammatically correct and well versed. We agreed on a price and he insisted he would send his shipper to my house to pack and ship my sail to him.

Then he emailed that he was not able to pay his shipper directly, but would include enough money in his check to cover shipping, and I should then pay the shipper. Any additional money left over from the sale should be returned to him.  A cashier check for almost $5,000 drawn on Chase Bank arrived in a US Postal Service special delivery envelope bearing no return address.

I emailed Brian Marvin that his check had arrived, but I could not accept it because the check was more than 4 times the price we agreed on for the sail. I also asked for his address so I could send it back to him.  He responded with a poorly worded letter that did not include his address.

The warning signs:

1. Who sails a Marshall 22 catboat in Kansas? Unless he summers on the Cape.

2. There was no phone number and no shipping address.

3. He repeatedly refused to have me ship the sail to him.

4. His emails appeared to be written by different people.

5. His Chase bank cashier check was ridiculously greater than the price of the sail.

What could have happened:

1. I would have cashed the check [and when it bounced, had to deal with the bank...].

2. I would have paid his "shipper" and sent the balance to him.

3. I would have paid out almost $5000 less the cost of the sail.

4. My bank would have required me to repay almost $5000.

5. I could have lost almost $9,000 in bank repayments, phony shipping charges, and "returning" money to Brian Marvin."

Avoid all of this by being as skeptical as one must be about online buyers who seem even a little bit dodgy!


Jerry A. Jodice says...
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019
I recently responded to a " Mi rosoft offer to updzte Windows ten, I stupidly agreed,then subsequently learned there is no new upgrade AND my pc is now infected with a djsease wbi h has encrypted my filez and deleted Outlook,my email access and storage of all my folders in luding all the CBA correspondance. RATs!! MAMIE
Robert P. Subranni Esq says...
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2018
As a lawyer, my suggestion is face to face only. If a distance away have him send copy of his drivers license and a local police chief verify he is who he is. Any legitimate buyer would gladly do that knowing there are horrid Hordes of scammers out there that should be avoided and jailed
Philip Beck says...
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2018
I too had the same approach for my M22 from the guy calling himself Brian Marvin, from Kansas and now I have just had another approach from someone calling himself Henry Jit, who also claims he cannot talk on the telephone because he is a stutterer. No coinidence , I suspect. His initial email was to "undisclosed recipients" so I suspect he may have emailed everyone with an ad on our site.
Mickey Lake says...
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2018
That sounds a little crazier than most scams, but it has gotten bad. I have been buying boats long distance since the internet became common, usually by sending a 50% deposit and then paying the balance at pickup. When I bought my Handy Cat the previous owner let me know the day before I left to pick it up that he would only accept cash for the second half of the transaction. I was shocked, because I have honestly bought 10-12 boats over the years long distance, but I suppose the game has changed that much that sailors can't trust one another. It's sad, but the more I read about these scams the more I guess it's to be expected.

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