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  • Online scams and out of service mags

    A question (well, two questions) for my fellow DefCon-ers...

    Question one

    How often do you sell things on eBay and (even more importantly) CraigsList? Are these items ever of significant value? I ask because recently we tried selling a set of furniture on CraigsList. the post is actually still online here.

    we were somewhat surprised and saddened to find that within days of the post, we were almost immediately hammered by buyers who all turned out to be scammers.

    it was all the typical "we just sent you a check" followed a day or so later by the "oh me oh my... our secretary cut the check in the wrong amount, Western Union the excess to this shipping company who will transport the goods" scam.

    what really seem to aggravate us more than anything was the fact that we couldn't find a single authoritative agency who cared the least bit about this. i mean, we're not talking nickels and dimes here. some of the fraudulent checks were in excess of the item price by thousands of dollars. (felony false pretense fraud) most of the scams involved receiving parties in other states. (interstate mail/wire fraud) and yet no one, from the feds on down, gave us any kind of response when we informed them that we'd be happy to cooperate or string along the other parties. i assumed that the local PD in some sleepy West Virginia town where one of the Western Union recipients was alleged to be would have liked to get in on a piece of a huge fraud ring bust. (although i suppose that someone could pick up WU-transfered funds from anywhere, not just the stated branch office, right?)

    does anyone have experience with online scammers? do you find that they are the majority of your online respondents to sales, etc? what agency, if any, would ever be interested in pursuing them? (or are they so under the radar now that they can just operate with relative ease, casting wide nets and roping in one or two dupes a month in order to net a few thousand here and there?)

    one last question on this topic for those with legal knowledge... are we (the sellers) guilty of any offense or are we opening ourselves up for legal trouble by cashing a check that may be fraudulent but is possibly legitimate? we have no plans of cashing any of the checks that are obviously from these scammers... but what of a potential buyer who seems legit? We clearly aren't going to exchange any merchandise until all funds clear, but is the act of even cashing a bad check a crime? how long does one have to wait in order to be certain that funds have actually gone through and will not be recalled at a later date?

    Question two

    totally unrelated... anyone have an old, no longer functioning mags for an AR15 or AR18? maybe something where the springs have worn out too much to be serviceable? i'd like something into which i can insert some dummy 223 rounds for an inert display piece and wanted to avoid purchasing a new mag if one was around just taking up someone's shelf space. anything from a 10 to 20 round would work... preferably box shaped and not curved like 30-rounders.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: Online scams and out of service mags

    I'm in no way a lawyer, but there was a case I read about a couple months ago where a person was simultaneously both victim and perpetrator of fraud. (Can't find the article, but it was within the last 3 months)

    The victim got an order from a customer out of state for a huge amount of money. The perp sent the check which was actually a forged copy of another check. The victim went to the bank and had them verify it's authenticity. They said it was good. He went ahead and cashed it and spent some of the money.

    A few days later they called him and said that it was actually bad and to give the money back. He had already spent most of it and was charged with check fraud despite the fact that he received it from someone else and the bank had initially verified it.

    The guy was the victim and became a perpetrator of the same fraud.

    It would seem from this case that you need to *REALLY* make sure that the bank verifies the validity of the check first, preferably in writing, and wait till it would have cleared back at the originating bank before spending any of it.
    Never drink anything larger than your head!





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    • #3
      Re: Online scams and out of service mags

      With online purchases, I would never even think of taking a cheque (check, for the American's in the room. :) ). Unless it's a HUGE purchase, Paypal offers protection. Granted, I've heard PayPal horror stories, but it does seem to be a safer way to go to me.

      I one spoke with a guy who "bought" a large dump truck on eBay, sent the money (in excess of $10,000), and never received his vehicle. But he was naive. For large sales, that's what escrow services are for. But you need to be careful and use a reputable escrow service *of your choosing*. False escrow services are a method of choice for scammers.

      My father once sold a $3000 bass guitar on ebay using a legitimate escrow service. The whole thing went down flawlessly. But you do need to be careful, and it's sad that nobody with the authority to do anything cares to try and stop it.

      db

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      • #4
        Re: Online scams and out of service mags

        My wife (more) and I (less) sell on ebay and have never had any major problems with scammers or people not paying.
        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Online scams and out of service mags

          I sell stuff online all the time. Both on eBay and CL. In fact, it may be a Defcon Forum member who bought my Shmoocon registration off me this morning. Overall, as much as I fucking HATE their politics and policies, you really cant go wrong with PayPal. Or, as they say, cash is king. The last few times I sold things on CL, I met the person and did the deal as cash. Hard to work an elaborate wire fraud scam when we're dealing in paper money. Cash comes with its own set of problems, but being smart about it makes things go a lot easier. Dont have them come over to your place, bring the item to them, or meet them somewhere public to do the deal.

          Only negative dealings I had with a cash transaction on CL was when I sold my DJ equipment. Had a hip-hop DJ want to buy my setup so he could leave a set of tables set up at home and have a set to bring to the club with him. Sounded reasonable. Then he told me that he worked during the day and DJ'd at night, so would I be willing to bring 1100.00 worth of DJ equipment to his house in the ghetto around 10pm so he could pay me cash before heading out for the night. I mentioned that I frequently went shooting on Friday nights in the area and would it be fine if some of my rifle club buddies were in the car with me when I swung by to drop them off. Suddenly he wasnt interested because i didnt look like such a good robbery victim.

          Outside of that, never been a problem. Then again I wont do business with people outside of my immediate area unless its through paypal.

          I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

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          • #6
            Re: Online scams and out of service mags

            I have bought and sold extensively on eBay. I don't dig Craigslist (no reason other than it just seems hinky to me) although I have a friend that uses CL like it's his own personal shopping center and never has problems.

            I tend to deal in US Postal Money Orders on eBay. There is a bit more hassle than PayPal, but when you get one, you pretty much know it's good. When you send one, the seller is pretty much assured that it is legit.

            I have sold some relatively high dollar items on eBay and have never had any problems. Send me a money order, when I cash it, I send you the stuff. My purchases on eBay tend not to be very large just because I usually use it for rare CDs (no more than $100) or small computer/electronics equipment.

            Pretty much anything online is subject to scammers (as you know) and it can be frustrating. I have only dealt with one scammer in my nearly 10 years of using eBay. I was selling a rare CD (~$80 value) and the person said they sent the MO but that it was for their son and could I mail it to them ASAP so it would get there by their birthday. I refused and of course the MO never arrived.
            perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

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            • #7
              Re: Online scams and out of service mags

              Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post

              one last question on this topic for those with legal knowledge... are we (the sellers) guilty of any offense or are we opening ourselves up for legal trouble by cashing a check that may be fraudulent but is possibly legitimate? we have no plans of cashing any of the checks that are obviously from these scammers... but what of a potential buyer who seems legit? We clearly aren't going to exchange any merchandise until all funds clear, but is the act of even cashing a bad check a crime? how long does one have to wait in order to be certain that funds have actually gone through and will not be recalled at a later date?
              Several years ago, I got a Paralegal Certification (as well as a Embalmer's License, Notary Commission, Cake Decorator Certificate, and permanent job tenure with the Government)...but anyway...somehow I can answer this......

              Legal trouble, well that depends. The police may come around and ask questions. However, if you can show you had no malicious intentions with the transaction involving a fraudulent check and that it wasn't deposited/cashed with the intention of defrauding, then legal reprecussions are unlikely. This is with the police. However, when it comes to the finanical institution then...

              YES, you *can* be on the hook and liable for a check that is not good or bogus, even if you accepted it in good faith as payment for a legitimate sale. Way down in the fine print when you opened the account and sign the forms, you stated that as the account holder, you are responsible for any and all deposits into your account, even if those deposits go unpaid for any reason. So, if a check is not payable due to insufficient funds, account closure, fraudulent drafts, etc., the bank will charge the amounts back to you and take it out of the account that you made the deposit into. The bank may also draw funds from other accounts (both within and outside of that bank) and/or take legal action to recover the amount of the deposit paid out. Further, all banks reserve the right to refuse a deposit if they don't feel that the funds will clear. So basically, if they even THINK that the check is spurious, thet won't even take it out of your hands.

              So, how can you get money from a deposit that hasn't cleared?

              Well, in 1987 the Expedited Funds Availability Act mandated that all banks in the U.S. must make funds available to depositors within the next business day on all Federal or State Government issued checks (Social Security/Welfare/Tax Refunds, etc) and official bank checks (Cashier and Certified checks). Basically, the money for these checks are guaranteed by the issuing institution, so you know the check is good.

              If you deposit any other type of check (pay check, personal check, corporate check) the bank will allow first $100 of the deposit to be available to you by the next day, and then the remainder will be freed up to 5 days later...depending on where the drawing bank is located. This is part of the reason that these foreign check scams work so well, as it may take about 2-3 weeks for checks in some foreign banks, particularly Nigeria, to clear. By that time, the full amount of the deposit will be available to you, even though the the check hasn't completely cleared. Chances are, that you will probably have withdrawn cash or have written checks against the deposit by the time the check has cleared (or bounced).

              If you draw or write any checks against this deposit, and the check bounces, then you can encounter for legal trouble for checks that don't go through.

              So just because you can get the money from the deposit of the check, doesn't mean the check has cleared (or is even good). Be careful about who you do business with. Like noid said...Cash is King. If you can't do that, PayPal is a prince. Even with buyers who seem legit !!
              Last edited by czarina; March 19, 2007, 20:02. Reason: Errors in spelling
              While you would never turn your back on an enemy for obvious reasons, only a friend can backstab you.

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              • #8
                Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                currently my geek co-pilot, packet barron, is trying to sell his PS3 on craig's list, but all he seems to get is scamers from Africa. This is despite the fact that he listed it as for sell inside Las Vegas only. It has been pretty fustrating for him trying to sift though the BS to find actual buyers.

                Perhaps if Craigs List partnered with someone (kinda like ebay with X.com before they became pay pal, then wholy owned by ebay) to do ident checking. That might help, though, with all the SSN fraud that might open up a new black market and expand to the nature of evil credit card "Carders" has reached.
                "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                  thanks for all the responses. while they are all appreciated, they sort of side-stepped my original question a bit (which is understandable, as it's easy to get lost in the sea of stories we all have regarding online scams)

                  when i buy and sell online i exclusively rely on paypal or just cash. i love noid's comment, by the way, about a discussion with a potential "buyer" for some DJ hardware. nicely executed term negotiation. while we can read scams a mile away and are likely to not get duped by them, i was curious if anyone could shed light on which law enforcement agencies ever take a whack at the people behind them. or, as it is seeming to me now, do no agencies really care about this sort of stuff? does the interstate aspect put it beyond the purview of local PD but the (possibly) small-potatoes nature keep it off the FBI's radar as they go after bigger fish?

                  in short, can scammers like this just continue to cast wide nets and ply their trade with relative impunity since no one will go after them until they actually take someone for a serious ride? not looking for a new career or anything... just curious about the state of the world.
                  "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                  - Trent Reznor

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                    Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                    thanks for all the responses. while they are all appreciated, they sort of side-stepped my original question a bit (which is understandable, as it's easy to get lost in the sea of stories we all have regarding online scams)

                    when i buy and sell online i exclusively rely on paypal or just cash. i love noid's comment, by the way, about a discussion with a potential "buyer" for some DJ hardware. nicely executed term negotiation. while we can read scams a mile away and are likely to not get duped by them, i was curious if anyone could shed light on which law enforcement agencies ever take a whack at the people behind them. or, as it is seeming to me now, do no agencies really care about this sort of stuff? does the interstate aspect put it beyond the purview of local PD but the (possibly) small-potatoes nature keep it off the FBI's radar as they go after bigger fish?

                    in short, can scammers like this just continue to cast wide nets and ply their trade with relative impunity since no one will go after them until they actually take someone for a serious ride? not looking for a new career or anything... just curious about the state of the world.
                    You've got it. The Federal agencies want only the cases where there is a high dollar amount. The Secret Service and FBI used to both want a minimum $50k to start. (I have know idea what the current figure might be, but if anything it's probably higher.) State and local agencies rarely have the resources to chase people outside of their jurisdictions unless it's a capital crime. As a general rule, state and local prosecutors also hate to deal with multi-jurisdictional crimes, and they too, rarely have the resources to devote to such crimes.

                    All-in-all, if the scam artists are halfway careful, don't con "local" people, and keep the dollar amounts relatively low, they're probably going to get away with it.
                    Thorn
                    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                    • #11
                      Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                      thanks for the reply, Thorn. it's a shame that some things like this just really have no wide market in the law enforcement world. Then again, they're only about one layer less transparent than Nigerian Inheritance Scams and I would suppose that the vast majority of folk see right through it the instant one crops up.


                      heh, so now that that's settled... anyone have an old box magazine like the one i was seeking?
                      "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                      - Trent Reznor

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                        Originally posted by Thorn View Post
                        The Secret Service and FBI used to both want a minimum $50k to start.
                        The secret service uses 5k currently for interstate credit card fraud currently.
                        "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                          Our local law enforcement is actually focusing more on personal ads. Vice online if you will.
                          "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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                          • #14
                            Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                            Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                            heh, so now that that's settled... anyone have an old box magazine like the one i was seeking?
                            I do, I'll send you pm on the best way to get a hold of me.
                            "It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times". Pearl S. Buck

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                            • #15
                              Re: Online scams and out of service mags

                              Originally posted by lil_freak View Post
                              I do, I'll send you pm on the best way to get a hold of me.
                              awe, you may be a sinner but to me you're a saint. a million thank yous.
                              "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                              - Trent Reznor

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