In the Fake Buyer Scam, the scammer will pretend to buy items and then send a counterfeit check. They will *always* overpay for the order, asking that the extra be sent to a shipper or some other third party. And there will be some weird reason why it is necessary to send that extra via wire transfer. Sometimes they just say they sent too much by mistake and please send the extra back via wire transfer. Whatever the reason the critical factors of this scam are overpayment and wire transfer. It is just the scammer at the other end of that wire transfer and once they pick up the money, they - and the money, are untraceable and gone. They hope to get their victims to wire that money before they figure out the original check is fake and the bank will withdraw the entire amount from your account.
Variations of the counterfeit check are: stolen credit card numbers not yet reported as such so there is a delay before you receive the chargeback, and even some will pretend to pay by paypal and send you a fake copycat email of a paypal payment confirmation email (and you'll be surprised at how many people believe that fake email and go ahead and wire the money, never manually checking their paypal account to see no money has, in fact, been paid).
Often these scammers have poor sentence structure and misspellings but another clue is they seem to ignore your questions and just reply with their "template" of what the next step in the scam is. it is too much effort to actually pretend to be a real buyer at this point - people are either going to fall for the scam or not. And sadly, enough people ARE falling for the scam, that they don't yet need to try any harder than they do now. It is sad.
But really, it is easy to avoid falling for this scam. DO NOT accept any overpayments. These are not tiny overpayments - they are significant. And NEVER EVER EVER wire money in behalf or back to any customer. EVER. Simple. Avoid these two things and you will not fall for this scam.
Here is an example of an exchange with a scammer recently sent to me that highlights how these emails typically go. It ends because Becky then got suspicious and googled Jane Roberts and found all the other people who have received scams from "Jane Roberts" (name has been faked, it is very likely to be some dude in Nigeria or some other foreign country).
From: BeckyNext Email:
Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2013 12:15 AM
I received an email from Arbonne about you being interested in Arbonne products. What is the best way to reach you?
On Jun 6, 2013, at 2:22 AM, janet robert [email@example.com] wrote:Next Email:
Below is the lists of my inquiry.
2 of collagen support #817
1 of Makeup primer #7825
5 womans balance #1995
Kindly advise back as soon as possible with the quotes excluding the shipping costs from it. We will be responsible for the pick up of the order at your location once the payment is confirmed. My shipper will be making the pick up arrangement once i get the receipt of the payment from you .
Hope to read from you soon.
On Jun 7, 2013, at 4:22 AM, janet robert [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote:Next Email:
Greetings to you and thanks for your response. I will like you to kindly get back to me with the information below for the payment of the Arbonne to be mailed out Am so sorry,i don't have a credit card nor debit card. I can only make payment with a Cashier-Check drawn and cashable at any bank. If accepted, kindly advise back with information such as :-
Physical Name :-
cell Number :-
I will be waiting to read from you soon for the payment of the order to be mailed out. Kindly get back to me . Hope to work with you on future orders.
From: BeckyNext Email:
To: janet robert [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, June 7, 2013 5:10 AM
Subject: Re: Arbonne the check
Good morning. I need to get your information to complete the order- name, address, and email address. Thanks
From: janet robert [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: June 8, 2013, 4:26:01 AM EDT
Subject: Re: Arbonne
Reply-To: janet robert [email@example.com]
send me your info so that i can get the check sent right away...........