This scam is becoming one of the most common scams used by scammers and very closely resembles the Romanian Laptop Scam already found on this site.
Essentially, a Western Union scam is any scam that takes place using the Western Union method of payment.
Most commonly, there is a situation where a buyer pays for something via Western Union, and then never receives what was paid for; or the buyer pays for an item via Western Union, and then receives an item of a value far lower than what was actually paid for.
Buyer pays for a brand new laptop valued at £1000. Buyer never receives laptop.
Buyer pays for a brand new laptop valued at £1000. Buyer receives an old, used, £100 laptop.
ScamsOnEbay.com has nothing against the Western Union service, it is just not supposed to be used for online purchases from unknown sellers.
If you visit the Western Union website, it clearly states Western Union is NOT to be used for sending money to people you don't know.
The Scam Itself:
Please note this scam takes a various number of forms for a wide variety of items. Just because it does not match exactly your transaction or potential transaction, does not mean it is not the same scam. In other words, avoid any scams the resembling the following MO (situation).
Buyer finds an item at a price far lower that what would actually be paid for that item. The buyer either finds this item on an ebay auction, or on a website, or most commonly, they are contacted by another ebayer after placing a bid on similar items. In such a situation the buyer usually receives an email with the following format:
I am a such and such (respectable ebay seller, owner of a small company, wholesaler, etc.)
I noticed you bid on a some item on ebay (this can be anything from a laptop, to a keyboard, to a guitar, to Disney World tickets... Basically it can be anything priced over £10)
I can sell you said item, for a price far lower than retail (or any price lower than what you would normally pay). Note: some sellers do ask the retail price for the item, so just because they are asking retail price, does not mean they are not a crook. It is just more common for them to offer a lower price, because they can attract more potential victims.
I can only accept money via Western Union money transfer, however I can provide you with a shipment tracking number to ensure you, that I have sent your item. (This is just a way to may victims feel safe before sending their money; the tracking number is usually fake, yet it appears to be real.)
Note: Sometimes thieves do provide real tracking numbers and may even be willing to "ship" your item before they get their money. In such scenarios the thief is likely sending an empty box, or an item worth far less than what was paid for (IE a £1.00 brass chain instead of a £1000.00 24K gold necklace).
Buyer shows interest in the item, thinks the deal is too good to pass up, and asks for more information on how to complete the transaction. The scammer knows the victim is already interested because they were already bidding on similar items on ebay.
The seller tells the buyer to send the money via Western Union, the seller then asks for the Western Union MTCN # or the money transfer number (this is basically a number that gives the thief access the money).
Once the thief has the MTCN or money transfer number, he/she can pick up the money at any Western Union worldwide and disappear. The buyer has paid, but the item that was paid for will never be sent.
Further Information About Western Union
In case you haven't understood the meaning behind this article, allow me to spell it out for you.
NEVER PAY WITH WESTERN UNION!
THAT MEANS NEVER
NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
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