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Buy / Sell / Wanted Scam Warning


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When being vigilant, you can usually see when something just feels a little off. I'd always report something that feels slightly suspicious. If it is genuine, then no harm done. 

I'm unsure about putting a minimum post count though, as that could see an increase in more irrelevant topics or replies to "farm" posts. I don't have a large amount of posts because I only reply to things if I feel I have something worthwhile to post/say, so it'll likely take me a while to get a high post count! 

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We’ve had a number of reports of scammers joining SGL and pming members regarding their classified or wanted posts. The message reads along the lines of - I saw your advert and my uncle / stepfat

If any of you get a PM from new member Jeff753, please ignore it. Jeff753 has been identified as a scammer and is now banned.

We are banning these folk as fast as we can. I would ask everyone to remain vigilant and hit that report button at the slightest suspicion. I'd rather have a few false alarms than have a member scamme

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I once lent something of no great value, about £30.00, to a fellow member, after a couple of months they stopped posting or answering PMs so never got it back but for all I know there may have been a very good reason.

Dave

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2 hours ago, Grant said:

No - that restriction was removed some years back now but, that isn't what's happening in these situations - legitimate members who are listing stuff for sale or stuff wanted are being contacted via PM by relatively new members and this is where the scam is occurring. Restricting who can post adverts wouldn't stop this particular issue.

Can't you prevent new members from being able to view these sections under a certain post count?

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28 minutes ago, Starflyer said:

Can't you prevent new members from being able to view these sections under a certain post count?

Yes, we can but then people post farm to get their post count up which then gives a false sense of security to people wanting / selling as they will think somebody is a full established member.

We've gone through all of the options on this and it was either make a very restrictive buy / sell section which could then only be used by members with a long post history or, make it more open as it is now.

We are looking at some alternative ways to run the buy / sell section within the forum and at the same time will be making some changes to the way it works.

It's worth saying though, over the years we have had very few issues with the buy/sell area and so I wouldn't want to see us overreact and put in a lot of rules and changes that make it harder for genuine people to use the buy / sell area because of a few trouble makers - better to find a way to weed those trouble makers out if we can and in this instance there method is quite clear so if people keep their negotiations and discussions within the forum and report anybody who invites you to email somebody off forum then we should be able to put a stop to a lot of these shenanigans.

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34 minutes ago, Starflyer said:

Can't you prevent new members from being able to view these sections under a certain post count?

It can happen in any section of the forum.

In a thread anywhere on the forum, a member expressing an interest in something, even casually, could be PM'd with something along the lines of "I see that you are interested in X, well I have one available ......." etc, etc. 

 

Edited by John
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Firstly the MOD's do a great job and we thank you for the effort.

it's always a difficult situation as described above.  But also it is often the case that it is beginners that are most in need of looking at the buy/sell section, and beginners are least likely to contribute to the forum because they are....well, beginners!!!

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I thought if you did a deal through paypal as the seller you were better covered if this was done as gift/friends and family as the rights are taken from the buyer.  The buyer cannot scam the seller by saying goods not received which is the typical scam when placed as goods and services.  If I use PP goods and services and cover the sellers fees if the seller was looking for 'gift', if the seller refuses this it is a sure sign of a scam. Apologies if I'm incorrect.

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Yes but Paypal always sides with the buyer.

1) first scam is buyer already has a gizmo which is ruined or badly used.  They buy a second better gizmo off you, and then claim you sent them the crappy one.  Paypal will side with buyer if they have proof of a crappy item.

2) always use tracked postage.  I recently sent something 1st class which royal mail then lost.  Buyer just claimed with Paypal to get a full refund.  I had to chase up with RM who tried to get out of it as it was a telescope part

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23 minutes ago, Martthebass said:

If I use PP goods and services and cover the sellers fees if the seller was looking for 'gift', if the seller refuses this it is a sure sign of a scam. Apologies if I'm incorrect.

Herein lies the problem.  This is not correct.  I recently sold an item to a new member (3 posts), and stipulated Paypal F+F only, to ensure that the item wouldnt then be declared as defective or missing and I would lose both the item and the money.  Despite this being made clear, the seller paid and the fees were deducted out of the money I received.   I cancelled the transaction, emailed the buyer, refunded the money and sold the item the same day to another buyer on here, via PayPal F+F as originally requested.

The issue on SGL isnt PayPal, it's the scammers out to fraud and scheme off innocent people.  Post counts/restrictions are not the answer, we just need to be sensible and avoid anything that seems a bit off, even it means losing a sale.

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41 minutes ago, Grant said:

Yes, we can but then people post farm to get their post count up which then gives a false sense of security to people wanting / selling as they will think somebody is a full established member.

We've gone through all of the options on this and it was either make a very restrictive buy / sell section which could then only be used by members with a long post history or, make it more open as it is now.

We are looking at some alternative ways to run the buy / sell section within the forum and at the same time will be making some changes to the way it works.

It's worth saying though, over the years we have had very few issues with the buy/sell area and so I wouldn't want to see us overreact and put in a lot of rules and changes that make it harder for genuine people to use the buy / sell area because of a few trouble makers - better to find a way to weed those trouble makers out if we can and in this instance there method is quite clear so if people keep their negotiations and discussions within the forum and report anybody who invites you to email somebody off forum then we should be able to put a stop to a lot of these shenanigans.

Difficult, isn't it ? A sale by post requires a degree of trust from both parties, either could  lose out (goods or money) . I've bought three items on here, all for relatively small amounts (under £50) with no problems, but I've also missed out on things because I've always gone to the seller's profile and not just based my trust on their post count or years online, but also skim - read some random posts of theirs. By the time I've seen enough to be confident, someone else has sent a pm and posted on the thread  !

I'd rather miss out on a possible bargain in order to buy with a really good degree of confidence, and I would probably do the exact same if I was selling, check out the prospective buyer's history. For more expensive items, I would probably want (under normal circumstances !) after some on line discussion about the detail of the item (which would very probably reveal some of the less smart fraudsters)  to carefully inspect the thing I was buying in person and pay in cash .

I can see that the PM system could be used to circumvent any buy/sell section restrictions, and any changes should not involve time or value judgements from the mod.s . I wonder if maybe some sort of rating system might be possible as an add on to the buy/sell section , where confidence points could accrue for both sides of a completed sale ?

There are dishonest folk everywhere , they are not the majority, but it pays to stay aware. As the saying goes, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst .

Heather

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45 minutes ago, W0nderste said:

Firstly the MOD's do a great job and we thank you for the effort.

it's always a difficult situation as described above.  But also it is often the case that it is beginners that are most in need of looking at the buy/sell section, and beginners are least likely to contribute to the forum because they are....well, beginners!!!

I echo the comments above, and it was probably a couple of early purchases from the for sale section that made the difference between me continuing with the hobby or not.

Publicising the nature of the scams and educating people to the risks and how to exercise caution to minimise them is the best way forward in my mind, and there has been some useful information posted already on this and related threads. Maybe there should be a buying / selling tips sticky thread to help people avoid some of the common pitfalls and scams.

Unlike eBay, you can pass on an offer if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. I always check up on an unfamiliar buyer / seller to judge how genuine they appear, and it only takes a few minutes. Yes, I have lost out on some bargains as a result of the time spent researching, but rather that than make a rash mistake.

 

As an aside, How do you cover the sellers fees in PayPal, as I have seen this requested many times on ads? Is there an option when paying, or is it simply a case of calculating the fee and then adding it onto the amount paid (potentially increasing the fee slightly in the process, I presume)?

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3 minutes ago, AstroTim said:

 

I echo the comments above, and it was probably a couple of early purchases from the for sale section that made the difference between me continuing with the hobby or not.

Publicising the nature of the scams and educating people to the risks and how to exercise caution to minimise them is the best way forward in my mind, and there has been some useful information posted already on this and related threads. Maybe there should be a buying / selling tips sticky thread to help people avoid some of the common pitfalls and scams.

Unlike eBay, you can pass on an offer if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. I always check up on an unfamiliar buyer / seller to judge how genuine they appear, and it only takes a few minutes. Yes, I have lost out on some bargains as a result of the time spent researching, but rather that than make a rash mistake.

 

As an aside, How do you cover the sellers fees in PayPal, as I have seen this requested many times on ads? Is there an option when paying, or is it simply a case of calculating the fee and then adding it onto the amount paid (potentially increasing the fee slightly in the process, I presume)?

I have on occasion just added the PayPal fees to the transaction asking price. 

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12 minutes ago, jock1958 said:

I have on occasion just added the PayPal fees to the transaction asking price. 

I always add PayPal fees as it gives you better protection. At present I think the fee is 3 . ? Percent so I add 4 percent to make sure. When you consider it only costs £4.00 on a £100.00 item it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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19 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Difficult, isn't it ? A sale by post requires a degree of trust from both parties, either could  lose out (goods or money) . I've bought three items on here, all for relatively small amounts (under £50) with no problems, but I've also missed out on things because I've always gone to the seller's profile and not just based my trust on their post count or years online, but also skim - read some random posts of theirs. By the time I've seen enough to be confident, someone else has sent a pm and posted on the thread  !

I'd rather miss out on a possible bargain in order to buy with a really good degree of confidence, and I would probably do the exact same if I was selling, check out the prospective buyer's history. For more expensive items, I would probably want (under normal circumstances !) after some on line discussion about the detail of the item (which would very probably reveal some of the less smart fraudsters)  to carefully inspect the thing I was buying in person and pay in cash .

I can see that the PM system could be used to circumvent any buy/sell section restrictions, and any changes should not involve time or value judgements from the mod.s . I wonder if maybe some sort of rating system might be possible as an add on to the buy/sell section , where confidence points could accrue for both sides of a completed sale ?

There are dishonest folk everywhere , they are not the majority, but it pays to stay aware. As the saying goes, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst .

Heather

The vast majority of my gear has been purchased via SGL classifieds and I have not had any issues to date, but Like Heather I tend to take a bit of time looking at the profile of the seller and reviewing their previous posts before expressing interest via the for sale board and I have also missed out on items because of this, but I don't regret my approach.

I have purchased a few low cost (less than £20) items from brand new members or members with low post counts but haven't yet had an issue.  Maybe I've just been lucky.

I've recently completed a transaction with a member based in Portugal for an item that was posted in the midst of the Xmas postal mayhem.  As he hadn't heard from me by 31st Dec he offered to refund me the cost of the items as he assumed they'd been lost.  I told him that I'd wait another week to give Royal Mail chance to clear their Xmas backlog and the item duly turned up in the first week of Jan at which I updated the seller that I had received the parcel.

I do tend to confirm when parcels are delivered as a courtesy to the seller, but I'm sure that there have been times when I've forgotten to do so due to life just getting in the way so I apologise to anyone that I haven't notified.

To echo what others have said the vast majority of users on here are genuine and honest but it does pay to be careful nonetheless.

ABS has a link to a page with details of the latest fraud attempts that they have been made aware of, though the latest is dated 2019. 

Maybe we could have a pinned and locked thread in the classifieds section with similar details when scam reports are sent through to the Admin team as a warning for other users. 

Obviously I'm keen not to add too much to the Admin workload though as I realise that the classifieds section takes a lot of admin time and comes under scrutiny for the amount of time it takes to administer.

Just my tuppence worth.

Ade  

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31 minutes ago, banjaxed said:

I always add PayPal fees as it gives you better protection. At present I think the fee is 3 . ? Percent so I add 4 percent to make sure. When you consider it only costs £4.00 on a £100.00 item it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

I should have qualified my statement that I always add on Pay Pal fees unless I really, really trust the person.

Edited by jock1958
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1 hour ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I wonder if maybe some sort of rating system might be possible as an add on to the buy/sell section , where confidence points could accrue for both sides of a completed sale ?

The downside there is that I think (and maybe I'm wrong) that most on here are not regular sellers/buyers, meaning it would take some time to accrue the points.

Personally, I've only made one purchase via SGL, in that case I looked at the member's post-count and "reputation" plus a few random posts from them. I'd take as a warning sign a low count or a low reputation, more so if there was a big imbalance between the two. Not many members can accumulate high post-counts without a few "likes", "laughs" or whatever along the way.

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Not sure how popular my opinion is, but after buying all my gear second hand since starting the hobby 10 month's ago, I'm pretty happy with how this site and ABS work.

It requires common sense, especially for larger items.

I don't understand why the PayPal fees are so controversial - someone has to take the risk, and it's up to the buyer and seller to agree who that is. Based on my experience of PayPal over the years, it's always open to scams in one direction.

I'll always ask for f&f when receiving payment, and as a buyer, I'm not going to assume I have any protection even if I pay the fees.

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It's a shame to me now EU/UK Buy Sell  members a new kettle of fish involved import tax even accounts to 2nd hand stuff and extra charges,for me SGL buy/sell complicated as per the tariff's  will wait and see what happens as already fell  to the long river company in import duty  ouch.

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2 minutes ago, fozzybear said:

It's a shame to me now EU/UK Buy Sell  members a new kettle of fish involved import tax even accounts to 2nd hand stuff and extra charges,for me SGL buy/sell complicated as per the tariff's  will wait and see what happens as already fell  to the long river company in import duty  ouch.

That's a nightmare regarding second hand goods Andy.  We are only starting to see the issues come to light now.  

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I don’t think post count is a good means of filtering folk out. As stated, getting your post count up is easy if you find that’s a restriction so it proves nothing. Also it would filter out folk who are honest and genuine, like myself - I’ve bought numerous bits and bobs in the past year, including a single purchase costing £1800, and sold a few bits too, but I would probably be blocked by a post count filter based on some of the numbers suggested here, because of my paltry 48 (now 49) posts in 8 years of membership*. I don’t think the forum really wants that. 

*quality, not quantity 😝

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15 minutes ago, jif001 said:

I don’t think post count is a good means of filtering folk out. As stated, getting your post count up is easy if you find that’s a restriction so it proves nothing

 

"Post farming" as it is known is easy to spot from the moderator / admins point of view. Post counts can be reduced :wink:

 

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22 hours ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I can see that the PM system could be used to circumvent any buy/sell section restrictions, and any changes should not involve time or value judgements from the mod.s . I wonder if maybe some sort of rating system might be possible as an add on to the buy/sell section , where confidence points could accrue for both sides of a completed sale ?
 

 

21 hours ago, wulfrun said:

The downside there is that I think (and maybe I'm wrong) that most on here are not regular sellers/buyers, meaning it would take some time to accrue the points.

Personally, I've only made one purchase via SGL, in that case I looked at the member's post-count and "reputation" plus a few random posts from them. I'd take as a warning sign a low count or a low reputation, more so if there was a big imbalance between the two. Not many members can accumulate high post-counts without a few "likes", "laughs" or whatever along the way.

What I think a buyer/seller confidence rating would do is add an extra little bit of info for a prospective buyer or seller. I don't think it would be a handicap to have never sold or bought anything before, because a careful seller or buyer has post count, reputation, post content etc etc to take into account as well. For instance, when I've bought items from here, I've put a message in the 'what did the postman bring' thread naming and thanking the seller, which is the sort of confidence building feedback I think would be useful if it was made more formal .

It would be awkward and time consuming for a fraudster to cheat their way to such a rating, as they would need to set up an account, plus a raft of sock puppet accounts , then post sham adverts, then reply to themselves, then supposedly sell to themselves, then rate themselves , all from accounts out in the open which can have their posting history examined by anyone interested enough to check. All that need to expend effort might send them elsewhere in search of easier targets to scam.

Heather

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4 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

 

What I think a buyer/seller confidence rating would do is add an extra little bit of info for a prospective buyer or seller. I don't think it would be a handicap to have never sold or bought anything before, because a careful seller or buyer has post count, reputation, post content etc etc to take into account as well. For instance, when I've bought items from here, I've put a message in the 'what did the postman bring' thread naming and thanking the seller, which is the sort of confidence building feedback I think would be useful if it was made more formal .

It would be awkward and time consuming for a fraudster to cheat their way to such a rating, as they would need to set up an account, plus a raft of sock puppet accounts , then post sham adverts, then reply to themselves, then supposedly sell to themselves, then rate themselves , all from accounts out in the open which can have their posting history examined by anyone interested enough to check. All that need to expend effort might send them elsewhere in search of easier targets to scam.

Heather

If I were a scammer i'd have being playing a reeeeeeeeally long , convoluted game 😁

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10 minutes ago, johninderby said:

How very Machiavellian of you. 😁

 

10 minutes ago, johninderby said:

How very Machiavellian of you. 😁

Once im King etc....etc......

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