Warning - Do Not Use Western Union

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Gear For Sale' started by AA7BQ, Jun 2, 2012.

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  1. AA7BQ

    AA7BQ QRZ Founder Administrator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Today a rather sad note came in from one of our users who was recently ripped off by a scam artist. The particular individual, whose identity remains unknown, claims to be Phil Levine, K2JF. He is not. We have been in contact with Phil and he has offered nothing for sale nor has he been involved in any transactions of any kind in the QRZ Swapmeet. He's completely uninvolved in all of this.

    The victim (see below) had posted a Wanted ad on QRZ. Very soon afterwards, he was contacted by the scammer who identified himself as K2JF. A price of $1000 was agreed on and the money was sent by Western Union to a third party, one Frances Cruz in New York City.

    Needless to say, the merchandise never appeared and the $1000 + $86 in wire fees has vanished into thin air. Hence the reason for the warning above: DO NOT USE WESTERN UNION - not ever.

    This needless loss could have been prevented if:

    1. Western Union was not used. Western Union offers no protection whatsoever. There are no refunds and nothing can be traced. You're out of luck if anything ever goes wrong.

    2. Checking the callsign database for K2JF was a good idea, but then sending the money to a third party was an absolute red flag disaster. NEVER SEND MONEY TO A THIRD PARTY.

    3. Always ask for pictures of the item for sale. No pictures, no sale. Do a Google Image search for the model number and make sure that the picture isn't a stock photo taken from somewhere else.

    4. Only send money or merchandise to the address listed in the QRZ callsign database. DO NOT SEND MONEY OR MERCHANDISE TO OTHER ADDRESSES.

    5. Ask for references. Get the call sign and email of someone who lives in the vicinity of the other party and verify this with the Callsign database.

    6. In the Forums, click on the user's call sign and choose View Forum Posts. Have they made posts before?

    The staff at QRZ is gravely disappointed by this recent scam and hope everybody will use common sense in dealing with unknown persons on the internet.

    (from the victim)

    I just wanted you to know that I had posted a want for a Jupiter 538 radio on QRZ. It was answered by someone saying they were Philip Levine, K2JF and they had a Jupiter for sale.

    After some questioning and dickering, we decided on a price ($1000). He wanted me to send the money by Western Union, to a Frances Cruz in New York City. Which I did. The cost of sending the Western Union was $86.

    He gave me a shipping courier and a tracking number. The first day of tracking said it was in NY. The second day it was in New Jersey. That was on May 29th. Trying to track from then on, the package never moved.

    I became suspicious and tried finding a phone number for the company. I never found one! Information could not find one. I then called Philip Levine this morning to get more information, only to find out that he was not involved and that it was someone using his name, address and call letters.
    The scam artist made later appeals for more money claiming he was ill, in a wheel chair and facing an operation. He even offered me the Icom 756pro that is shown with Philip Levine’s QRZ call letters, for $700. I didn’t bite on that one.

    I don’t know if there is anything we can do to catch this person, but I have all of the email exchanges and a notice from Western Union that the money was picked up by a Frances Cruz. If any of this would help you, I would be glad to send it on to you.

    I have never had this happen before in all of my 87 years. I hope we can catch this character and the people who are helping him.

    Thank you,
    (name withheld)
  2. WY4J

    WY4J Ham Member QRZ Page

    1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. With all the information these days, there are no idiots around anymore.
    2. If the seller is from out of the country, notify the real ham that someone is using his/her call and delete the email message. Some are even getting an email address with the ham's call but with a different service provider. Verify the email address through QRZ.com. So always double check the seller's email with QRZ.com.
    3.You might also want to do a Google search on the call to see if anyone has posted anything negative about ripping off another hams.
    4. Do a Google search for the name and the town the person resides in. Something should appear as we do not live in a vacuum anymore.
    5. Google the telephone number.
    6. Call information and verify the home number if the seller claims this is his/her home phone.
    7. Not only speak to the person but call them back at an inopportune time.
    8. If the seller is male then a red flag should come up if the funds are being sent to a female and vice versa.
    9. Of course do not mail anything to a P.O. Box or care of anyone or any company.
    10. Always approach every purchase as someone is trying to rip you off. This is not Kansas or today's is date is 1950. With the onset of technology everyone and everybody is a potential crook.

    In my first job out of college I was a skip tracer with means that my job description was to find those deadbeats who had beaten the bank of of money and did not want to be found. Or once we found them and got a judgment, if they had any assets we tried to seize whatever of value they owned in order to satisfy the judgment. Believe me, with a little creativity we found most of them. Today's scum uses similar tactics to scam the honest and naive. Don't be a fool and never trust anyone you do not know.
  3. N3EEI

    N3EEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    On a side note, DO NOT USE "Money Gram" either. The same type of thing happened to me in the amount of $135.00. The scammer said he was elderly and asked me to send the cash to his grandson who was in the Armed Forces as his birthday was in a few days. As in the story above, no radio?? I found a land-line number for the name of the Ham who's call sign was being used by the scammers. I called him, he in fact is in his 80's, and said I was the 3rd person to call him in 2 weeks about radios for sale, none of which he ever had. I then advised him to call his local PD and do an "Identity Theft/Fraud Report". I even offered to speak to the officer that took his report if needed. Hope these "scammers" are caught OR get scammed by someone themselves!! It's bad enough to do it to someone, but to hide behind an elderly gentleman who had no clue as to what was going on ................ COWARDS!!
  4. WA6JFK

    WA6JFK Ham Member QRZ Page

    How do people fall for these wacky deals?

    I always check email addresses and never send to anything but qrz.com addresses.

    Beware and be safe.

    I posted a want a while back and got all kinds of BOGUS replies from HAMs in the UK

    I alerted the real OM's at once....

  5. NZ7KW

    NZ7KW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also, when you receive a photo, run it through tineye.com to see if it was downloaded from somewhere online.

  6. AE8L

    AE8L Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup, only accept USPS money orders. They are guaranteed by the US govt. They can only be gotten for $500 max. So, if you sold something for $1,000 (plus ship), ask the buyer for 2 separate money orders. Also, be aware that ebay's Buyer Protection is just that. I recently had a guy buy a tablet PC from me w/ a no return policy. I fully tested it prior to shipping it off and it was holding a good, long and stable charge. They guy bought the item, and several others of the same model at around the same time, switched out my good internal battery with a bad one and filed a dispute and claim against me. (That way he could force me to take the item back.) The guy had a registered address that came back to some cash advance business he did not own or work for and had a 'ghost-line' phone no. When I talked to an ebay rep. about him, they told me that ebay has a hidden policy to where they will always find a claim in the buyer's favor, no matter what 100% of the time unless they do a Pay Pal charge-back. (Which ebay owns.) The guy left pos. feedback just a day before filing the claim. Caveat emptor with ebay!

    Here on QRZ, there's a number of people with registered user IDs that are not ham calls. There is always the potential of someone hijacking a call sign on here from someone that's not already registered with the site and bootlegging with it on the Swap Meet forum. Also, you should be wary of meeting people half-way that you don't know. The last thing you want is someone pulling a knife or a gun on you and robbing you or your radio. (Hey, it can happen...)
  7. WB0VHB

    WB0VHB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Turning The Tables On Scammers

    I too posted a wanted to buy on QRZ and received many "offers" from many interested sellers. All with ham callsigns.

    However, if you are using an email program that allows you to view the full header information of the email (Thunderbird does), it is very easy to find the IP number used to send the email. Then using a webpage like whois.net, that IP can be cut and pasted to find out where the IP is registered. ALL the sellers that contacted me were from Ethiopia.

    Now the fun begins. I had 3-4 of the scammers running back and forth to their local Western Union agent to collect funds that I never sent. When you send money to someone, Western Union will give you a transaction code the recipient uses to claim their money. Since I had received funds recently via Western Union, I switched some numbers around in that number and used it as my claim number to the scammers.
  8. KA4AQM

    KA4AQM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Warning: Do not use Western Union

    NOTE: USPS money orders are now available up to $1000 each. Traceable, FREE replacement, and copy of backside showing when, where, and cashed by who. Recommended by many and trusted by most....and yes, I work for the USPS!
  9. N8OUC

    N8OUC Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cool site - thanks for posting. I'll give it some use.

    The one key thing to buying stuff on the internet is don't let the thrill of an unbelievable deal override your common sense. For those posting legit photos of items for sale, consider watermarking it with a note to look up your info on QRZ for address verification.
  11. QRZ
    Important Rules
    Have you read the Swapmeet Rules?

    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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