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Reply to Wanted Ad SCAM WARNING

Started by montypython112, 06/16/2022 10:44PM
Posted 06/16/2022 10:44PM Opening Post
If this sounds familiar, report the user to herbyork@mac.com. In my case the user I was suspicious of was banned within an hour of sending the email. 

Here's how she tried to fool me. I am a new user and posted a wanted ad for an EQM-35, asking $600 negotiable. I received a reply saying they would part with their EQM-35 for the $600 from a user with no feedback, but with a sold listing for a ZWO. I asked for photos of the mount and she emailed me photos which looked just as if someone took them in their living room and of the right mount. I was ready to buy and asked for paypal given they offer buyer protection. She said, "I can use venmo and zelle. My Paypal is linked to my taxes because of my business." Not that familiar with paypal, this made me suspicious but I wanted to believe it. Reverse image search on the photos pulled up nothing. I voiced concern about lack of feedback, and here's how they nearly got me. 

The user said they recently sold a $1500 CCD. I asked for the seller to provide the username that bought it and messaged him. His profile has no feedback or visible activity at all but is two years older than the relatively new (april) account that replied to the wanted ad. He replied same day with frankly a very detailed recount of the purchase and explained he withheld feedback as he wants to get another imaging session in first. It was a very, very convincing and earnest sounding response and I was ready to send the money like a fool. But the email address given for Zelle payment did not match the Astromart account's email nor the email that sent in the pictures. I pretended Zelle wasn't working and asked for venmo given they said they'd accept it and venmo shows a name associated with the account. Wouldn't you know, seller says, "Do you have cash app?Not sure if my venmo is fully set up." Alarm bells, so I emailed Herb and he immediately recognized it as a scam. They would've taken me for hundreds of dollars if the Zelle address matched the email, should've emailed Herb as soon as it got suspect. Some users, like me, are just new. But better safe than sorry. 

As an aside, looking back I noticed the seller's English and grammar was a tad off but excusable. I then noticed the seller curiously almost never put a space after each period. On its own, nothing obvious. But a look back at the "other user" who confirmed they were happy with a CCD bought from the seller, and what a coincidence, they didn't put a single space after using a period in the long message sent to me. 

A few lessons I learned and would like to share:
NEVER send a low feedback user money through any service without buyer protection. Not worth the risk to get a slightly better deal.
If a user claims to accept one payment method and then suddenly switches on you, get suspicious. 
Poor grammar from a user based in the US and with a whitebread English name is a massive red flag. 

Most critically, if you get a funny feeling don't hesitate to email herbyork@mac.com. It will be sorted very quickly and it's a unique opportunity to cost these lowlifes money directly, even if its just $15. 
Posted 06/17/2022 03:28AM #1
Good catch!

20" MidnighTelescopes f/5
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