I was nearly fooled by a LX200 scam so let me tell you how they did it.
- They advertised the scope for a bargain basement price (the bait)
- In their ad, they asked I contact them directly, in advance of closing the auction ("will cancel order soon" is typical)
- When I emailed them on their private ex-directory email they sent a URL linking to a "special" fake ebay site allowing for "honest escrow-protected" payments and using the same colour scheme and logos as eBay do - so be VERY careful (the catch).
- The site asked for payment to be made to a Western Telegram address - funny that, such payments are completely untraceable or recoverable.They then pestered me when I finally realised their game and didn't meet their payment deadlines (the lean).
- They even steal other people's eBay IDs (thrrough identity theft and some leaked password) so they appear to have an excellent track record - only problem is, it's not them that's selling it!
Since then I have been trying to police LX200 ads and let eBay know where there's something fishy going on - you should do too, to protect future mugs like me. Look out for the following warning signs:
- Do they ask you to contact them directly for "further information" or "to make a sell"?
- Do they use images for their email address, or other descriptor items in the description? This is to stop any of eBay's security bots from picking up their scam Looking carefully at the text - you can recognise the images by a slight off-white discolouration around the text
- Does the so-called seller appear to have a huge track record (100's or even 1000's of sales) but surprisingly appears to have had no interest in scopes until now?
- Do they not reply appropriately for your requests for more information; special angle shots of the scope, or availability to inspect or collect?
- Does it appear to be a once-in-a-life-time bargain?
- Have you seen the scope pictures before in another ad?
- Has the seller given less than 4 days from posting to closure?
- Does it appear to come with 10 million accessories, all perfectly typed with not a single typo?
If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions then STOP and THINK before you act. My finger was hovering over the COMMIT button before my rational centre took over from the greed centre of the brain!!