Classifieds scam warning

A reader advertising an item for sale in the Millstone received a reply that she rightly calls “very suspicious.”


See the full text at bottom; I’ve redacted details that could identify the reader.

There are several red flags here:

  • The person uses the name ‘Hugh Thomas’ but does not seem to be a native English speaker.
  • The story shifts about who will pick up the item, from “freight forwarder” to “prepaid shipper.”
  • Asking the seller to send money to some third party for ‘shipping’ is highly suspicious. I suspect that is the crux of this apparent scam attempt — once the scammer has your name, address and phone number they’d presumably request some sort of banking info from you, and there you’d be. Scammed.

It’s rare that readers receive suspicious replies to Millstone classified ads, but it does happen once in a long while.

Generally, you should deal only with people who are clearly from this area, and should require cash at the time of purchase. 


Hello,

I write to let you that I am interested in buying [redacted]

Please, advise if payment with Check is fine by you. If so all I need from you is the address that I should send the Check to as well the name that should be written on it. I have excluded freight charges because my freight forwarder will come and pick -up the [redacted] as at when due.

I will like you to do me a favor after you have cashed the money I will like you to send the excess money to my client prepaid shipper who will come for the pick – up at your place. If you are okay with this let me have your Name and address so that I can send the Check as soon as possible. I am awaiting your reply. Do not forget to send the below, after you have agreed with the above method of transaction.

Name on the Check……..

Address……… City…………..

State…………. Zip code……….. Contact cell phone and land phone number ….

Your urgent response to this inquiry would be highly appreciated

Regards
Hugh Thomas