Image of the day

Captured by
Mike Harden

Rosette Nebula NGC 2238

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

I think I got scammed

Started by ScienceFakeNews, 01/10/2023 11:32PM
Posted 01/10/2023 11:32PM | Edited 01/10/2023 11:52PM Opening Post
I’d posted this ad some time back:
https://astromart.com/classifieds/astromart-classifieds/telescope-catadioptric/show/celestron-edgehd-925-kit

This user responded with an offer that was $300 below the lowest I’d seen:

https://astromart.com/users/121552

While that should have raised a flag I’ve also seen people sell items at low prices. 

The person then gave me the usual sob story of having to report to IRA for PayPal transactions (which was true until very late in December when IRS extended the deadline to next year) over $600 so I paid via Zelle to what he claimed was his wife’s account jennypoohh02@gmail.com (in hindsight that’s another red flag). 

This is where I let my usual distrusting self make an error in judgement when I should’ve held firm and walked away. 

Since then it’s always been one excuse or another for the best part of 2 weeks why they haven’t been able to ship. As of last evening the excuses were still flying along with a promise to ship right that evening (and there’s of course been nothing by way of tracking). I just feel they’re taking the Mickey out of me by continuing to engage on email 🙂

The person’s email address is topgreatyody@gmail.com (although… emails.. yeah)

The thing is, when they initially responded to the ad, they had a few decent reviews without anything being over the top. Now, the profile has gone missing from AstroMart. 

So my question to everyone is: do you hold firm for PayPal and refuse to entertain split payments or other modes? 

Also wondering if there’s a way for the site owners to validate that an exchange has really taken place before someone can post a review. 

I’ll live with my losses in the hope that I am a tad less stupid now than I was a month ago. 

Hope this helps someone. 
Posted 01/11/2023 12:30AM | Edited 01/11/2023 04:07AM #1
Yes you pretty much made all of the mistakes on that one.....and likely have no recourse whatsoever since you paid via zelle. Same as handing someone cash. 

I work with 2 options only when dealing with someone I dont know. They can use paypal (NOT the friends and family version) or a US postal money order and wait for it to clear. Anything else and they can go pound sand.

The only thing AM can and will do is ban scammers. The fact that you cant find that account now means that has already happened so you likely are not the only one who got scammed by them.

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA
Posted 01/11/2023 12:36AM #2
Fair enough. Not ashamed to admit my stupidity. I am gonna flag this to BoFA for Zelle but not with any hope. 

And thanks for the suggestion to stick to PayPal/money order. 
Posted 01/11/2023 11:22PM | Edited 01/11/2023 11:23PM #3
I fell for a scam from the same guy. Just starting to get into this hobby, buying my first scope... $2,000 lost. I submitted an wanted ad for a SW Esprit 100ED, which sells for $3200 new. He then moved the conversation to email with the name/email address of Yody Tapsiwan <topgreatyody@gmail.com>. He sent pictures of the telescope and offered it to me for $2000, a good but still reasonable price. When we agreed to the price the seller asked to receive money via paypal "friends and family" method to avoid 1099 reporting. I asked to move to Zelle, and they agreed - providing their supposed spouse's email address <Latia9248@gmail.com>. The Zelle transaction took 1 week to complete, but it eventually went through. The seller states he never received the money but my bank confirms it was deposited in his account. 

Weird and twisted part is that he continues to engage. I asked him to send me a pic of the telescope in front of CNN from today and here's his last email 


I am happy that Capital One can see the Zelle transaction was not received.I have never heard of  any Zelle transaction taking days or weeks before being received.Zelle transfers are instant and always deposited within a few minutes.For now i am more interested in you getting your money back as i would not want to be involved in anything that would eventually rip or cheat you out of your money.

Let me know once you get your money back from Zelle ,so i can have a clear conscience about all these.


I can't think of a motivation for this, except to delay any reporting to Zelle or authorities so more scams can go through? Any way for what it's worth I submitted a cyber crime report to the FBI. https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/safety-resources/scams-and-safety
Posted 01/12/2023 12:08AM #4
Originally Posted by Benjamin Smith
I fell for a scam from the same guy. Just starting to get into this hobby, buying my first scope... $2,000 lost. I submitted an wanted ad for a SW Esprit 100ED, which sells for $3200 new. He then moved the conversation to email with the name/email address of Yody Tapsiwan <topgreatyody@gmail.com>. He sent pictures of the telescope and offered it to me for $2000, a good but still reasonable price. When we agreed to the price the seller asked to receive money via paypal "friends and family" method to avoid 1099 reporting. I asked to move to Zelle, and they agreed - providing their supposed spouse's email address <Latia9248@gmail.com>. The Zelle transaction took 1 week to complete, but it eventually went through. The seller states he never received the money but my bank confirms it was deposited in his account. 

Weird and twisted part is that he continues to engage. I asked him to send me a pic of the telescope in front of CNN from today and here's his last email 





I can't think of a motivation for this, except to delay any reporting to Zelle or authorities so more scams can go through? Any way for what it's worth I submitted a cyber crime report to the FBI. https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/safety-resources/scams-and-safety
Exactly - or they just revel in keeping the scam going 🙂

good idea to submit the report. I’ll do so as well. I was also thinking of submitting it to Google itself - not sure it can do much to be honest but worth a shot. 

for that matter I wonder if there’s anything AstroMart itself can do - charge a small listing fee maybe. 

commiserations you too! We live and learn..
Posted 01/12/2023 04:03PM #5
As far as I am aware there is NO payment service (outside of escrow services) that offers protection outside of paypal goods and services. Not Zelle for sure, same as handing someone cash just like paypal friends and family. 

Some guidelines that have worked for me.

1. If someone has almost no or NO feedback history on AM for successful transactions I usually keep looking. If it is something I really want/need right away then I will conduct some due diligence.

2. I have even asked for detailed info on the item and if what I get back appears in the least like manufacturers or retailer's ad copy I will google a portion of it and see if they are using ad copy or their own words. Its pretty easy to spot those who know little about what they are trying to sell.

3. And this is the important one. If they have little or no feedback I keep looking if the item is greater than $100 I dont care how legit they seem. I have passed on several purchases several times if they are over $100 unless I am comfortable with all of this I have outlined. I am however a bit more relaxed if it is under $100.

4. Last step would be a phone conversation. Without one there isnt going to be a transaction unless all of the above is satisfactory. When selling something myself I always lead off offering my contact info and prompting them to call me to discuss. Most dont but I offer anyway.

90% of the astro gear I have was purchased via AM and to date I have not been scammed and I have been buying and selling here for many years without issue using the above. 

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
8" f/16 Muffoletto Achro
Meade 6" AR6 f/8.0 Achro
Celestron C11
Parallax PI250 10" F/5 Newt
Vixen FL102S,NA140SS,R200SS
80mm Stellarvue Nighthawk with WO APOupgrade lens, 90mm f/16.67 Parallax Achro
LXD75/LX200, Mini-tower, GP-DX, CG5 ASGT, LXD650, GM-8, G11, GM-100, GM-150EX, GM-200 and a Gemini G40
4" portable AP convertable 44" or 70" pier
Stellarvue M7 Alt-Az, TSL7 Pier/Tripod
12.5" f/5 MidnighTelescopes DOB Swayze optics
Monroe GA