Have you been on the lookout for cheap electronics, mobile phones, game consoles and digital cameras for your own private use or to turn a profit?
There has been an increasing hype to buy electronic items at a much lower price than the retail price. Many individuals are looking to buy items for a low price and then resell them on eBay or similar auctions websites and turn a profit.
Online electronic product shopping scams involve perpetrators pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake advertisement.
You will usually find such adverts on general forums, dubious websites, on classified ad places like craigslist, your email, social media and on b2b trading websites.
The Cheap Online Electronics Offer
While most online vendors are legitimate, fraudsters can unfortunately use the anonymous nature of the Internet to rip off unsuspecting buyers.
Fraudsters will set up fake merchant websites that look like genuine online retail stores or contact you directly with their pricing lists. These websites offer luxury electronics at very low prices. Sometimes you may even get the item you paid for (although it will be a fake replica), other times you will get nothing at all.
The biggest indication that and offer is a fraud is the method of payment. Fraudsters will often ask you to pay with a money order, western union or bank transfer, but if you send your money this way, it is unlikely that you will see it again or receive your purchased item.
The following real example demonstrates how these types of fake online vendors usually operate. In this case, the scammer contacted us through email and offered us electronic products at unbelievable prices.
The products on offer are now dated, but at the time of our conversation the products were brand new technology. In any case, the methods used nowadays are still the same or similar.
Needless to say that we knew it was a scammer, but the continued conversation was to show you some methods these online thieves are using. And it was fun to mess with the thief.
Conversation With A Fraudulent Seller
Please provide a price list for your available items. Where is the item location? Do you accept escrow? Thanks.
Scammer: Hello, we are mobile phone trade limited, located in london. We directly introducing our available Electronics on sales such as; Laptops,Mobile Phones,Xbox 360,Sony Psp,Pda Phones,MP3 & MP4 Players,Playstation,Digital Cameras,Dvd Players at manufacturing prices.
NOTE: All listed Model above are Brand New, Unlocked, OEM packaging and accessories, No Operator Logo, Come with their Original Sealed Box With 1 year International Warranty from the manufacturer,Please find below our available products Forsale.
(ATTACHED PRICE LIST)
I’d like to order 4 pieces of PS3. Is this good for europe electricity, or are the adapters for UK, US or JAPAN? Does it come with the 60GB or 30GB disk, what else is in the package?
I will pay you using escrow.
Scammer: Hello, ps3 is good for europe electricity. It’s come with all the accessories in full package. We receive payment via moneygram. We dont accept escow. Reply with your shipping address and your contact phone number.
Sorry, there are too many scammers around the internet, moneygram is not safe. I will only do the deal with escrow.
Scammer: Hello, i understand you, many scammer on internet they scammed me last week with some of $5000usd they ask me to ship for them and they receive the order and keep my money till now.
We do receive the system of paypal before but we stop it now.
If you can make your payment via moneygram we will ship your order and give you tracking number as soon as we confirm your payment.
Mail me back with your full shipping address. Thanks
I can’t send it via Money Gram because my country doesn’t have this system. I don’t know, I have absolutely no guarantee that you actually have the items and will send them to me.
Can we do it the escrow way, this is safe for us both?
Scammer: hello, i really undersntad you to, i dont deal with system of escrow. i have more confidence using paypal than any escrow service. we can also use paypal.
or if you dont have the system of moneygram then make the payment vie western union money transfer and we will ship out your order within 2working days you will recieve your order in your doorstep.
we have garrantee that as soon as we make the shipping we will give you trascking number to enable you to track your order.
reply with your full shipping address so i can give you the payment information. thanks
I don’t have a paypal account, escrow is totally safe, we can use that, what do you think? Where are the items located, UK?
Scammer: can you make the payment via western union hide the secret number and prove to us that you make payment by sending a scan copy of the payment,we will ship the package and allow you to receive it after your inspection you send us the details to enable us withdraw the fund. Thanks
Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) that you are talking about as a “secret number” is not necessary to pick up the money. So even If I hide this “information ” you are still able to pick up the money.
Scammer again: hello, all you need to hid is just the MTCN # the receivers name is not security at all but the number find out more on www.westernunion.com or contact any agent close to you.
i am waiting for your urgent reply tomorrow is monday can i make the package tomorrow?
mail me back so i can ship the order tomorrow. reply with your full shipping address and your contact phone number.
I’m sorry I can’t use western union, there is to much risk involved for me. I have no insurance to get what I paid for.
Scammer: hello, let me tell you every business is a game of risk, i can only do this if truly you want to buy the ps3, you pay for 50% up front and when you get the order you pay the balance of 50%. mail me in time so that we can make the shipping today.
your address for the shipping and your full receiver name and your contact phone number.
To share the risk evenly we can use Letter Of Credit (The L/C is a guarantee, given by the buyer’s bank (ME), that they will pay for the goods exported, provided that the exporter (YOU) can provide a given set of documents (your ID, EMS, GLS or FEDEX tracking etc.) in accordance with clauses specified in the L/C and in a timely manner).
I am looking for a longterm partnership. I would be buying goods monthly, so I have to know with whom I am dealing with.
Scammer: this is a long processing which i dont accept, i have given you the best way which can be okay for two of us. think of this it take a long processing. if you want to do letter of credit my order start from $5000usd.
if it is up to $5000usd i can do so but with the order below that i can do such. if we understnad eachother we can do a long time business. i understand you try to understand me also.
i have try in all the way to make you trust in business you have to play the game which call risk.
i belief in risking, i want to risk also. thanks for the consine
If you like to risk then you can send me goods in advance. What’s the problem? After I receive them I will pay you via anything you like (western union, TT…).
I can order for 5000$.
Scammer: if truly you want to do business with me send $200usd so i can use it as shipping charge here, as soon as you receive the items you send my money. if you agree with that reply
I pay you 200$ via letter of credit and you send me goods for 5000$ and after I receive it I send you the rest? Is that what you mean?
Scammer: i mean for 4 ps3 pay $200usd as advance and when you receive the order you pay the balance. mail me your shipping address if you agree on that so i can ship out the ps3 4pieces today.
Are you registered on alibaba? Can you give me some kind of legal document of your existence, a government regulation number, etc… ?
Hello, ok we got your full shipping address? Here is the payment information below
(PAYMENT INFORMATION ERASED)
And you will have to get back to us with the payment confirmation details, eg, MTCN# and senders name, so that we can confirm your payment and proceed with your shipment and get back to you with your tracking number.
Thanks, answer my questions first please.
Hello, we dont send out any documetns or pictures until you make an order so as for us to be sure you are serious and lieght buyer.
So if you are really interested in dealing with us, you can go ahead and make the payment and get back to me with the payment confirmation details like i have said.
If you send me the items first then I will do the payment via western union. Otherwise we use escrow.
If you do not want to do business go and rest in your house not coming on net to disturb people. i am m not willing to take the risk of sending you even 1 phone onb credit to pay after if you are not willing to make the payment pls, do not worry me much. we do not want to use any escrow service due to our past experience. Thanks
No problem. We can also pick up the goods localy and pay you in person. Then you have no risk.
Scammer: I will only use direct bank transfer.
I am not sure I understand your answer. Local pick up is possible on 17-19th July. I have given you three options of payment. Escrow, Letter of Credit or Local Pickup. Why don’t you accept these?
Please stop wasting our time if you are not willing to follow simple instruction, we have told you what we accept if not ok with you ,stop worring as we will not follow whatever you say. bye
Goodbye. Shame on you, scammer.
Scammer: SHAME ON YOUR FATHER. BASTARD.
We have successfully accomplished our mission to annoy and agitate the scammer. A quick recap of the following points will let you know the indicators by which you could recognize the scam.
Some points may be more obvious than others and they may be more sophisticated with better scammers. In the above conversation we had a really unintelligent scammer, but he provided us with valuable insight to such and similar scam operations:
- Price List. There is no way you could get these items for such a low price as is stated in the document. The products are either counterfeit or the whole price list is fake and there are no actual items for sale.
- Name of the company. Phone Trade Limited – name is too random and default.
- This seller accepts paypal. Most people assume paypal is one of the safest methods of paying online. And it is, if you are dealing with an actual real company. However, it is easy to open up a fake paypal account if you have bad intentions.
- Seller failed to provide any information that would prove the company’s existence.
- Seller is hesitant to answer questions.
- Seller denied local pick up. There’s really no real reason why one would do that. It might not be a preferred choice, but it should at least be an option.
- The company is supposed to be located in London, but as you can clearly see, the choice of words and English language of the supposed sales department agent is very poor.
- Seller asked to keep the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) “secret” when making payment via Western Union. MTCN is nothing but a control number with which you can track the process of your money online and is not needed to withdraw money.
- Seller is urgently trying to get the transaction done. In every reply he wants my full shipping address, so the “deal” could be done as soon as possible and take my money.