A new scam emerging?

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Having read all the warnings about Nigerian/African scams and scammers, I thought I'd add this warning.

Just recently, I had a NPB who asked me to send the item 'straight away, as soon as possible as it's a birthday present for my ill mother'. Sound familiar? I emailed back explaining that I would certainly post the item as soon as I received payment but not before, and that if the buyer didn't pay straight away, shipping would be delayed for a couple of days until my next day off. I received no reply. Neither did I receive payment. The name of the buyer was (not wishing to sound racist) of African origin and the message requesting immediate shipping was not exactly gramatically outstanding. Once seven days had passed, I filed an NPB alert which was ignored. I left some frank negative feedback, worried that doing so may damage my own 100% positive record, but never received feedback in return. This bidder was a very low feedback bidder (yet another warning bell is clanging) and is now, I discover, no longer registered with eBay.

I was lucky - because I stick rigidly to the rule that I don't ship items until I receive cleared payment, I didn't lose anything (other than a few days spent fuming about timewasters). However, what worries me is that this bears all the hallmarks of the Nigerian scam - but the buyer's address was in the UK. I really hope that these people haven't moved operations to the UK as they now know that no eBay sellers will ship to Africa/Nigeria. There was a landline number with the address, which I tried to call to ask the buyer about their intentions when I didn't receive payment, but it wouldn't connect - it was clearly a made up number. EBay, I have to say, were less than helpful - their advice was to file an NPB, despite the fact that I emailed them telling them all my attempts at contact were ignored, I thought this was a scam and that the telephone number given was false. The buyer/scammer never got round to detailing exactly how they wished to pay, although I suspect that it may not have involved PayPal. I think this was because I replied quite firmly to the request for immediate shipping - if I had sounded as if I might be persuaded, who knows?

So, watch out - just because the address you are asked to ship to is in the UK doesn't mean the buyer isn't a scammer. This might be the next step in the Nigerian scams. I could be totally wrong. I really hope I am. Be warned.

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