It's the Buyer's fault in half of all scams

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Gear For Sale' started by AA7BQ, Jun 18, 2019.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Say, what if I told you that I had a nearly new, ICOM 7610 that I would like to sell to you for $2000?

    If you watch prices, you know that a new one will typically sell for about $3000 - $3200 so this sounds pretty good, right? Well, yes it does. Can you afford to lose that $2000 in the event that the deal falls through? Probably not. Everyone has heard the old adage "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." Who in their right mind would take a 33% loss on a brand new radio when plenty of people are willing to stand in line to buy it for much more? I'll tell you. People who cannot resist the enticement of getting a deal, possibly one which they could not afford otherwise. These are the golden marks that scammers dream of because not only will they pay, but in their excitement, they'll tend to overlook small but important warning signs.

    The key to avoiding scams online is to be suspicious of everything. That doesn't mean that you don't believe what you see, but rather that you weigh all of the information given before you make your buying decision. I've bought and sold a lot of equipment online and have found it relatively easy to avoid being scammed. I will admit, however, that I have been scammed, but not recently and never for a significant amount of money (i.e. more than $500). Here are a few things to consider before laying down your hard earned cash for that fantastic deal you found online:

    1. Search the forums for other sales by the same seller. Is this his first sale? Many scammers are hit-and-run and never have a previous history because they only intend on doing it once.
    2. Ask for more pictures. Ask for a close-up of something that wasn't shown in the ad, or anything you can think of that would require him to take another photo. If the seller won't or can't comply, walk away.
    3. Search the forums for reports about this seller. Our Ham-to-Ham References section is great for that.
    4. Is the seller a good communicator? Does he answer promptly? Does he have a reasonable grasp of English grammar? Poor English on a USA issued call sign is a red flag. Poor communications, in general, is a red flag.
    5. Ask for a phone number and SPEAK with the seller. No legitimate seller should refuse this request. Ask him how long it will take to ship the item upon receipt of payment. Ask him something about his home town, as indicated by his call sign record. Ask him questions about how he used the equipment.
    6. Ask for a written estimate (in email, or posted) of how much time to expect between payment and shipping. Far too many deals go bad when the seller doesn't ship promptly. Some sellers are honest but incompetent and ship so slowly as to make you wonder if they've scammed you. Don't let fear lead you to misidentify incompetence, as it's far more prevalent than malice.
    7. Don't be afraid of PayPal. Yes, they charge a 3% fee, but that's a lot less than a 100% fee you will pay if the deal goes south. You shouldn't care about the 3% anyway because the Seller pays the fees.
    8. Whenever a seller suggests PayPal Friends and Family, run away because the person making the request is unethical at the least, and a crook at the worst.
    9. If you pay by Money Order, Cashier's Check, or PayPal Friends and Family, consider that once you send the payment, it's gone forever. It doesn't matter whether you receive the goods or not, your cash is gone and you won't have any way of getting it back. Forget about calling the police or the 'postal inspector' because they simply cannot help. They will not send a detective out to review your case. Your report will be filed and forgotten. You won't be sending anyone to jail, and it won't get your money back.
    10. If you can't help yourself and you absolutely must have the item and have decided to take a chance with a cashier's check or Money Order, never send it to any address other than the one that appears on his FCC license. Break this rule at your own peril. Many others have gone before you and lost. There's nothing wrong with using Certified Mail to send a check. Demand a signature. If the seller claims that he can't be present to sign for the check, then the deal is over. Walk away.

    Folks, I'm going to watch this article and as additional good suggestions come forward, I will add them to this list.

    73, -fred AA7BQ
     
    K9ASE, KK6QMS, KD5BVX and 14 others like this.
  2. NK7Z

    NK7Z Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Prior to any purchase, I Google the callsign and add the words scam. I also google the email address, and phone number if any. I also ONLY use PayPal for all sales and purchases, never family and friends.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    KD5BVX, KC0AAB, N1PMK and 4 others like this.
  3. W2RMT

    W2RMT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    No email on their QRZ page was a red flag for me.
     
    KF1P, KD5BVX, AD0JA and 4 others like this.
  4. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I always use Google Image, and search on the model and brand of whatever is being sold. Many times the QRZ photo pops up, but if there is an identical photo without a callsign, it is almost certainly a scam.
     
    KJ4RWH, WB5PDZ, N4FZ and 3 others like this.
  5. KB2SUJ

    KB2SUJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    All great points, Fred.
    One of my 'guiding lights' to any seller or buyer is, how many posts do they have and how long have they been a member. I am a n00b here, having just joined in 2018. So people like me, you should be wary of. But, if someone looks at my posts, they should be able to get a feel for how real I am.
    PM the person. Only a person who can log in can see it. Make the phone call, especially if it is on an item that is expensive. As Fred said, do not EVER let the excitement of a hot deal on something you want blind you.
    Only ship to the address of the persons call sign.
    An honest seller and buyer can develop a trust and comfort factor. Do that. Just because you are not face to face, you cannot develop a rapport, if only for the one transaction.

    I've yet to be ripped off and I'd never rip anyone off. The few times I got something that was 'not as advertised' was when it was so cheap that the money I might lose was a known cost of curiosity. I had a gy contact me about a motorcycle I want to sell. Guy was a n00b on the site (like a few days) no posts as a member. Just PM's. Lived in one state, was 'in a different one traveling' wanting me to drive 10 miles to meet him in yet another stte and sell what I had at a discount. Who buys a motorcycle on a whim while traveling? Years back, I wanted to buy a tractor. I saw a few that were exactly what I wanted, but super cheap. What a find! Well, of course, the owner was 'out of state' at the moment and the tractor was in yet another state. To which I'd reply "Gee, what a coincidence, I am visiting my brother in law, a SEAL Team Six member who lives in the next town over, he and I can go pick it up...." They lie, you lie and get a giggle.
     
  6. W5PFG

    W5PFG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think this is a great thread with good ideas. Gets right to the point: buyer beware.

    Asking for additional pictures when someone has already taken the time to produce good photos with their callsign might be asking a bit much. For me it would depend on the item.

    If there is a reasonable request for an additional photo, I'll entertain it. I'm not taking additional pictures just because someone wants to "test me" by seeing what is on page 4 of the manual or by asking to see the molded imprint of the radio in Styrofoam. Sellers also have to decide "is the juice worth the squeeze?" as there are many tire-kickers out in the world. Time is money.
     
  7. KB2SUJ

    KB2SUJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do not have my email listed on the QRZ page. I ask for PM's instead. I do not want just anyone emailing me.
     
    WZ7U likes this.
  8. KA4SFF

    KA4SFF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have bought several items thru here. Worst thing to look out for that I see is asking a question about an item listed and getting a stranger email you he has the same item for cheaper.
     
    N4THC likes this.
  9. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't post your email address where it's public and that won't happen (barring a hacked QRZ account which is far less common than the drive-by scammers).
     
  10. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Look up the ham on the internet and call them and ask questions about the item for sale!
     
  11. QRZ
    Important Rules
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    This forum enforces a set of buying/selling rules for the benefit of all users. Make sure that you're familiar with the rules before posting or replying in this area. Got questons? Contact our moderation team here...

    All Sellers Must Be Verified As of July 1, 2019, only Verified Users are permitted to post in this forum.

     
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