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From the RBR classifieds FAQ links (feel free to add more info).

Overseas Scam:

http://www.mtbr.com/market/warning.shtml

**Fraud Alert!!** {overseas (Africa or Europe, usually) funds transfers/overpayment}

To our Mtbr and RoadbikeREVIEW Classifieds Community,

We have been receiving more and more complaints of people who are trying to scam sellers on our site. This scam (in various forms) has a common theme of transferring funds involving a party from a foreign country, usually somewhere in Africa or Europe. The US Secret Service has an article on their site, going into greater detail on this scam.

We have taken a steps to minimize this, but unfortunately this is a case of the few spoiling things for the many. We want to alert you to this scam and warn you NOT to take part in it. Always be as careful and as sure about online deals as you can. Find out as much info about the potential buyers that you can. Like the old saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."

The potential buyer says they will OVERPAY for the bike or frame, and they want you to send them back the difference. The problem is, they will send you a Money Order or Cashiers Check that is forged. This is a high quality forgery, and your bank will not inform you right away that it is fake. It can take your bank 5 to 7 days or even longer, to find out that the Money Order or Cashiers Check is forged.

Below are excerpts from emails that have been forwarded to us, outlining the scammers pitch. Please be cautious, and feel free to warn other in our Good Trader/Bad Trader Forum.

Link to Good Trader/Bad Trader Forum: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/forumdisplay.php?f=56

Link to US Secret Service site/article: Advance Fee Fraud

Examples of Fraud:

* DEAR SIR

I AM A BUSINESS MAN AND I AM IN CONJUCTION IN SELLING USED BIKES TO CUSTOMERS IN WEST AFRICA, BUT RIGHT NOW I HAVE A CUSTOMER WHO IS READY TO PURCHASE YOUR BIKE.AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I WILL BE PAYING YOU WITH U.S.A CASHIER CHECK SO GETS BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY WITH YOUR LAST NEGOTIATABLE PRICE FOR THE BIKE. HOPE TO SEE YOUR REPLY SOONEST.

THANKS,

JAMES *******................

* ===================

GOOD DAY,

THANKS FOR YOUR MAIL,I WOULD LIKE TO BUY THIS BYCYCLE,BUT THERE IS SOME THING I WILL LIKE YOU TO KNOW FIRST. MY CLIENT IS OWEING ME $7,000. AND I HAVE MAIL MY CLIENT ABOUT THIS BICYCLE AND HE TOLD ME THAT WE SHOULD BOTH AGREE AFTER OUR AGREEMENT THAT HE WILL SEND YOU THE CHEQUE OF $7000 SO I WILL WANT YOU TO HELP ME SEND THE REMAING BALANCES OF THE MONEY THROUGH WESTERN UNOIN MONEY TRANSFER, AND FOR THE BICYCLE AFTER OUR AGREEMENT I WILL SEND MY SHIPPING AGENT TO YOUR HOUSE TO PICK UP THE BICYCLE. IF THIS IS OK WITH YOU PLS REPLY WITH YOUR FULL NAME AND ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER SO THAT I WILL FORWARD TO MY CLIENT. I'LL LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY.

REGARDS.

DAVID

* DEAR SIR, I AM A BUSINESS MAN AND I AM IN CONJUCTION IN SELLING USDEAR SIR, I AM A BUSINESS MAN AND I AM IN CONJUCTION IN SELLING USED BIKES TO CUSTOMERS IN WEST AFRICA, BUT RIGHT NOW I HAVE A CUSTOMER WHO IS READY TO PURCHASE YOUR BIKE.AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I WILL BE PAYING YOU WITH U.S.A CASHIER CHECK SO GETS BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY WITH YOUR LAST NEGOTIATABLE PRICE FOR THE BIKE. HOPE TO SEE YOUR REPLY SOONEST. THANKS,

PAUL ABRAHAM...............................

* DEAR SIR,

I AM A BUSINESS MAN AND I AM IN CONJUCTION IN SELLING USDEAR SIR, I AM A BUSINESS MAN AND I AM IN CONJUCTION IN SELLING USED BIKES TO CUSTOMERS IN WEST AFRICA, BUT RIGHT NOW I HAVE A CUSTOMER WHO IS READY TO PURCHASE YOUR BIKE.AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I WILL BE PAYING YOU WITH U.S.A CASHIER CHECK SO GETS BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY WITH YOUR LAST NEGOTIATABLE PRICE FOR THE BIKE. HOPE TO SEE YOUR REPLY SOONEST.

THANKS,

JAMES CLINTON...............................


Be informed, beware, and be smart.
The Western Union Scam:

http://www.mtbr.com/market/warning2.shtml

We have been receiving more and more complaints of another scam going around. This scam involves a seller who accepts Western Union or Money Gram payment only.

Or, they can pose as a buyer who will overpay and wants YOU to send him the difference using Western Union or Money Gram, overseas (often involving a "shipping agent"). This is similar to the other scam alert we have posted.

If they are the seller, they will not accept Credit Cards, although they seem to have a large number of bikes for sale in varying sizes.

The seller usually has multiple ads for bikes approx 50-60% lower than retail for brand new bikes. They have a phone number which does not match the address they have listed in the ad. Often times the phone number is outside of the US, and they require that buyers pay by Western Union, to a location also outside of the US.

Be alert and do NOT to take part in this. Always be as careful and as sure about online deals as you can. Find out as much info about the potential buyers that you can. Like the old saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." These scammers often times do not even have any bikes, and may take pictures from other ads that are placed online. They are unable to answer basic questions about the bikes.

Please be cautious, and feel free to warn other in our Good Trader/Bad Trader Forum should you happen to find any more of these scams.

Link to Good Trader/Bad Trader Forum: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/forumdisplay.php?f=56

You may even see these scams on other online auction and classifieds sites, do NOT fall for these scams. You may note on these sites, that the scammers have very little, to no transaction history. But there have also been cases where these scammers steal other sellers ID's and seller ratings. No matter where you find these scams, just stay away.

Be informed, beware, and be smart.
Fake Escrow Service Scam:

http://www.mtbr.com/market/warning3.shtml

Yet another scam going around. This scam involves sellers (you) being contacted by a buyer (scammer) and asked to make a deal. The scammer asks that they will only use an escow service in order to be secure in the transaction. People sign up online for the escrow service and with in a day they are contacted and assured that the other party has also been verified. The escow service is "www.securebuyonline.com" (or one very similar) IT'S FAKE!

People send their product or money to the escorw service and that's all she wrote.

Scammers also place ads, too, using the same method, with the buyer/seller roles reversed.

Here is a link to a site with more in-depth info on the Escrow Service Scam, and a long list of suspected bogus escrow sites:

http://www.escrowfraud.com/services.html

Be alert and do NOT to take part in this. Always be as careful and as sure about online deals as you can. Find out as much info about the potential buyers that you can. Like the old saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."

Please be cautious, and feel free to warn other in our Good Trader/Bad Trader Forum should you happen to find any more of these scams.

Be informed, beware, and be smart.
Another is the fake bike shop / fake bike liquidation sale Poorly photoshopped fake bike shop, usually selling Trek Madones, Colnagos and various Litespeeds (scammers seem particullarly fixated on Litespeeds). Uses highjacked Ebay accounts or spam posts to forums and sometimes even classified ads.

Here is a thread on a typical fake bike shop scam:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=18918

More information on Scams and Scammers:

http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Classic "Russian Minner" Scam

The typical variant of the Western Union scam, the Russian Minner scam.

Here is one of many, many, many threads on this:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=16208

One example of the usual cut and paste spam email they send to anyone selling a bike:

Here's his email:

Hi,
Thanks for the info you gave me,its really my chioce.Really is what i have been seraching for for the last 6 months inshort i cant wait to see it.Pls help me take good proper care of it cos i belive by now its mine.But right now is new year and i can see that i finanaly got one.
Really i want you to pls send more pics if available and if not not to worry.
Also i will want u to pls give me ur last price for that and all i needed is ur assurance that is mine as from now cos am higly eager in seeint it pls dont respond to anybody again on it cos i am really ok with all the condition.
Pls as for the shipping i will handle that myself i shall contact my shipping agent to handle it.As for the payment am paying with a certified cashiers check which i belive is the best way and its really conviniet for me and if u are ok with that get back to me to! day so that we could conclude on the payment.
I'm from Moscow,I live by the sea side in The Republic of Russia.
I work as a Minner(people that extract mineral resoruces).I always come my home in The Moscow,every 4 Months and travel back to my place of Work in Berlin.
I am really glad that you want me to get it and i will be happy also when i get it really i am really eager to see it .
Thank wait to your email today
Regard

Here's another:

Hiii
I got your mail safely and so Right now you know I'm going to ask my associate to issue the check of $5,850 US Funds in your name and you'll send the excess funds to my shipper via western union,for him to come for the pick up at your location,I ll give you my shipping agent's datas as soon as the check gets to you,He's handles my shipping arrangement. I will be giving $400 for your (efforts and western union fees) I'll be very grateful if really you can do everything the same day you recieve the check for a faster transaction and bcos i am really eager o see it....
I'll need your datas for the check to get to you soonest..
NAME..
ADDRESS..
ZIP CODE..
CITY..
STATE...
COUNTRY..
PHONE NUMBER
(HOME,OFFICE,CELL)
Pls mail me today,to let me know what's good.
I know I can trust you,
Best Regard.
 

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Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico
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A slight twist on these scams.....

As some of you folks know, one of my wintertime hobbies is to string along the 'overpayment' scams to get them to send me a phoney check to add to my growing collection. The last checks that I have just received have been counterfeit U.S. Postal Service money orders. They don't look too bad either. Because I buy and sell my bike stuff usually using USPS money orders, the phonies were apparent to me. If you take the money orders to the Post Office, they have instructions to confiscate the counterfeits, period.

So still be wary of anyone that wants to pay you more than your asking price; that wants you to send the "excess funds" to their "shipper" or "shipping agent". Do not send any items or monies until you have positively verified that the money instruments you have (checks/money orders/cashiers checks/bank checks etc.) are valid and geniune.
 

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eBay Bike Sales

I'm currently looking for a new bike and have always been quite successful with eBay in the past, however I’m concerned with the number of sellers that currently have “liquidated” stock for sale a very low pricing. The sales all appear to be done from the US and typical pricing is $1450 (£830) for a Specialized S-Works Tarmac which is +£3300 in the UK. I’ve contacted one of the sellers who assures me that I can deal through an Escrow agency and I’ve contacted the Escrow agency to see how legitimate that seems. However as my mum says “you don’t get something for nothing” and today eBay removed the item from sale. Have other people had similar dealings
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
douglegge said:
I'm currently looking for a new bike and have always been quite successful with eBay in the past, however I�m concerned with the number of sellers that currently have �liquidated� stock for sale a very low pricing. The sales all appear to be done from the US and typical pricing is $1450 (�830) for a Specialized S-Works Tarmac which is +�3300 in the UK. I�ve contacted one of the sellers who assures me that I can deal through an Escrow agency and I�ve contacted the Escrow agency to see how legitimate that seems. However as my mum says �you don�t get something for nothing� and today eBay removed the item from sale. Have other people had similar dealings
Yep, the fake escow sites and the bogus bike shop liquidations have been going around for a while. Browse some of the thread and sticky threads here and you will be in good shape.

You can always post a thread in this forum as well, if you would like advice. There are some nice deals in the RBR classifieds as well.


:)
 

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Coolhand said:
The typical variant of the Western Union scam, the Russian Minner scam.

Here is one of many, many, many threads on this:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=16208

One example of the usual cut and paste spam email they send to anyone selling a bike:
Wow! thanks a lot guys! I am selling a frame here and just got a letter almost identical to this one. I almost bought it. thanks again!
 

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Here's some more of our conversation, my email has been changed but his has not I hope this helps someone.

Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 12:48:26 +0100 (BST)
From: Send an Instant Message "CHRISTOPHER CHAPUT" <[email protected]> Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by yahoo.co.uk. Learn more
Subject: $1000 +$400=$1400 PAYMENT INFO NEEDED
To: "Chris R-M" <[email protected]>
Hello Chris ,
I got your e-mail safely. thanks soo much for everything. i m rreally glad over your email. I m really okay with all the conditon 'cos it's excatly what i 've searching for for the past few months ago. please all the assurance i need from you now is that whoever email you concerning it, tell him/her that it has been SOLD off!
For you to really know how prepared i was, you can contact my shipping agent today via email at [email protected]
cos he will be picking it up from your house. All you 've to do is provide where the pick-up is going to happen. if it's at your location, thats ok with me. i will forward your info to him.
With immediate effect, I'm going to ask my biz associate to issue the check payment of $6,850 in your name. you'll send the difference amount to my shipper via western union to enhance the pick up from your location. He handles my shipments for the past 10 years.
I will be giving $400 for your efforts and western union fees. I'll be very grateful if you can send the funds to the shipper the same day you recieve the check for a faster transaction and bcos i am really eager to have it picked up from you!
I'll need your data for the check, viz;
FULL NAME..
CONTACT ADDRESS..
CITY..
STATE...
ZIP CODE..
PHONE NUMBER... (HOME,OFFICE,CELL)
Pls mail me today to let me know i am the rightful owner of this BIKE!
Thanks for selling to me.
Cheers
Chris
Chris R-M <[email protected]> wrote:

Hello
what is your shiping agent?

--- CHRISTOPHER CHAPUT wrote:

>
> Hello,
> Thanks for the info you gave me. its really my
> chioce. Its what i have >been searching for for the
> last 6 months.Thanks for everything. Pls help me
> take good proper care of it cos i belive by now its
> mine.But right now is new year and i can see that i
> finanaly got one.
> Really i want you to pls send more pics if
> available and if not its ok.
> Also i will offer u $1,000 for that and all i
> needed is ur assurance that is mine as from now. am
> higly eager in seeing it. pls dont
> respond to anybody again on this bike cos i believe
> I am the rightful owner now.
> About the shipping, i will handle that myself. i
> shall contact my shipping agent to handle it.
> the payment is with a certified cashiers check
> which i believe is the best way. so convenient for
> me and if u are ok with that, get back to me
> today so that i could get the payment ready. I'm
> from Bronby, i live by the sea side in The Republic
> of Denmark cos
> am a SAILOR. I always come home ( Bronby) every 4
> Months and travel back to my place of work in Porto.
> I am really glad that you want me to get the bike
> and i will be happy also when i actually get it.Pls
> email me back today.
> I'll need your data for the check, viz;
> FULL NAME..
> CONTACT ADDRESS..
> CITY..
> STATE...
> ZIP CODE..
> PHONE NUMBER... (HOME,OFFICE,CELL)
> Pls mail me today to let me know i am the rightful
> owner of this bike!
> Thanks for selling to me.
> Cheers
> Chris
 

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Recently, I have received the following answer to my email enquiry regarding the use of the Pay Pal to pay for the bike advertised in classifieds at RBR site. I am relatively new to this site, but for anything I buy on Ebay I pay via Pay Pal. Is it a good way to make deal as suggested in the attached email? The first time posting here, I hope I'll get it right:

Read Message
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From : walkins Jason <[email protected]> | Save to Address Book | Block Sender

To : Milo Drobny <[email protected]>


Subject : Re: FOR SALE: Specialized Roubaix Pro 10 Spd

Date : Sun, Aug 13, 2006 07:23 AM

I think the best way to deal is to send the bike by UPS and once the shipment is made i will send the tracking number and you can chek online. Then you will wire the money to me. I don't have a Paypal account anymore because I lost money on my last transaction so I canceled my Paypal account. Look if you don't believe me please see for your self: www.nopaypal.com

thanks,

Milo Drobny <[email protected]> wrote:
Thanks for your prompt answer. I am definitively interested in buying
this bike. Are you planning to use your local bike shop to package
and ship the bike? Is paying via Pay Pal acceptable to you?


Thanks,
Milo
 

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Square Trade Scam

Yesterday a person calling himself Christian Williams attempted to scam me on the purchase of a Trek 5900. The scam was fairly elaborate. The bike ad contained a single picture, but he had all sorts of detailed pictures that he sent upon request. When it came time to discuss shipping and delivery he indicated that he was a Square Trade member. Square Trade is a legitimate online dispute resolution site. He claimed he had insurance through the site and that if the product did not meet the description I could contact Square Trade and they would refund the money. He said he would open an event with Square Trade and then we could proceed from there. The next day I received an email from square trade that confirmed all that he said. The message looked very authentic and included various graphics and seals of approval as well as a reference to an ebay seller. I looked up the ebay seller and they were highly rated.

I got suspicious for a few reasons. He did not ever call me or give me a number to call him. The square trade email said to pay by western union. This is a no-no as you read everywhere. The ebay seller sells trinkets in their store, not bike stuff. A previous email from the guy had different fonts that showed he had cut and pasted text. Some of the text referenced numbers in European format (5.000 instead of 5,000). I checked the hidden email headers on the email from square trade and the reply address did not match a square trade URL, instead it referenced cs-squaretrade.com.

I contacted square trade and they indicated they do not suggest western union. I then searched the web and found the exact same ad on another web site from a couple years back. It included all the same typos.

I still have no idea how to transact things safely if I buy a bike from this site. Escrow.com looks like a good option, but the mention of an escrow site seems to frighten people off as fake escrow sites are a common scam. If anyone has figured out a way that protects both buyer and seller when they cannot see each other face to face I would like to hear it.
 

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Wow EJM2605! I am currently in contact with the same person it seems like. Is it a 2004 UPS model? I have been gathering info about Square Deal and waiting for the next e-mail from Square Deal regarding payment instructions. Guess I should stop. Have you gottne any further info on this bike?
 

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It is definitely a scam. If you search google for the text of the ad you will find it on other sites from a year plus ago under a different name. Same typos and everything. I contacted the ebay seller referenced in the square trade email and it is not the person claiming to be selling the bike.
 

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Arrogant roadie.....
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BEWARE Fair Trade!!!!

ejm2605 said:
...................... When it came time to discuss shipping and delivery he indicated that he was a Square Trade member. Square Trade is a legitimate online dispute resolution site...................
Square Trade is NOT a dispute resolution site, it is a money transfer business, and one that scammers use a lot. Don't be fooled!
 

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Again, just making sure nobody gets scammed. Make the seller take the bike to the LBS of your choice after they tell you where they are located. You can just Google for shops based on an address. Try to use Paypal. Never ever ever western union. Just don't buy overseas. It's just not worth any savings.
 

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Pretty sure this is a scam:

Trek Top Fuel 98 for $1700.

This is the email the guy sent me in response to a number of questions, none of which were addressed:

"My best price is $1500 shipped. I’m a member of Square Trade offering up to $10.000 insurance. I have an insurance policy of $5.000. The transaction is between us supervised by Square Trade. This means that if the bike is not like described (this is not the case) Square Trade will refund the money that you sent to me. You need to make the proof that the money was sent to the proper information (mine) in order to get the refund. The way you are refunded is at your discretion and refund requests are processed within 3 days. If you agree with moving forward with the deal through Square Trade please provide me your full name and shipping address. As soon as I receive this information from you I will forward them to Square Trade along with the rest of the details in order for them to open a case regarding our deal. After you receive the notification from Square Trade please give me an email and confirm me if we have a deal in order for me to make the arrangements for the shipping process. "
 

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They're getting smarter by not underpricing bikes. STILL A SCAM. Did you ask him to take the bike to the LBS. Also, you offer to pay his Paypal cost which is minimal and use Paypal. He'll disappear.

Don't get scammed. The smarter we all are, the sooner they'll disappear and look for other ways to scam.
 

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Hey,
You were smarter than us. We stupidly fell for the dumb Square Trade deal and lost our $2,000.00 on a nonexistent bike. There were warning signs all over the place, but we did not heed them. I researched the classifieds on mtbr.com afterwards and found Christian Williams and other aliases selling bikes for the same deal. We are soooo frustrated and furious....this guy is untraceable.
 

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Arrogant roadie.....
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cjcakbkr said:
Hey,
You were smarter than us. We stupidly fell for the dumb Square Trade deal and lost our $2,000.00 on a nonexistent bike. There were warning signs all over the place, but we did not heed them. I researched the classifieds on mtbr.com afterwards and found Christian Williams and other aliases selling bikes for the same deal. We are soooo frustrated and furious....this guy is untraceable.
He isn't real. Probably works out of some internet cafe in Lagos or Accra in Africa, completely beyond capture by western law. Ain't the internet grand???
 

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cjcakbkr said:
Hey,
You were smarter than us. We stupidly fell for the dumb Square Trade deal and lost our $2,000.00 on a nonexistent bike. There were warning signs all over the place, but we did not heed them. I researched the classifieds on mtbr.com afterwards and found Christian Williams and other aliases selling bikes for the same deal. We are soooo frustrated and furious....this guy is untraceable.
Sorry to hear about this. I've tried scamming them back and telling them I need $50 western unioned to me to facilitate their transaction. Nobody has ever bitten. Maybe it's best to ignore them and hope they go away in frustration.
 

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I-M-D bell curve of bikn'
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Just plain old what they call "Nigerian Scams". Usually you can read thse pretty easy. Anytime anyone wants to send more than asking price for you to refund difference.......it's a scam. Plain and simple.
 
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