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Beware of a scammer in our midst


Gunner
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Just wanted to make the community known about something that has been going on outside the forum. I had a Gentex helmet for sale in the classifieds section about a month back. I got an email from a Solomon Barrister asking to buy the helmet. This person claimed that they were buying this for their daughter and that they lived in the UK. They wanted me to accept payment then transfer the leftover funds to a Western Union account which was supposedly the shipper. Being that I am trustworthy and wanting to help out my fellow pilot I began the transaction. It took this person about a month to send me a payment, they even claimed it was in a Fed Ex and provided me a tracking number that worked.

 

This week I got a cashiers check for $3,600 in a normal plain old envelope with no return address. I was only requesting $750 for the helmet. The scam was supposed to have me cash the fake check and then wire the extra money back to this person which was supposed to be used for shipping. I'm not that dumb and knew this was a total scam the instant that fake check showed up.

 

Bottom line is that you have to be careful out there. I've conducted numerous transactions over the internet successfully.... I thought I was helping out a fellow helicopter pilot....

 

Be careful with who you deal with in cyber space. I didn't just fall off the tunip truck and this person didn't win. I'm planning on trying to prosecute if I can but I doubt there is anything I can do.

 

Just wanted to make sure everyone knew about this out there.

 

Fly safe!

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Gunner (and all),

 

This is a scam that has been going around the internet for the past couple of years. It's not just helicopter goods, but anything for sale on the internet--I've even heard of it on dating sites. They usually say they are inlcuding "a little extra money for your trouble" and to just wire them back the "leftovers". Usually, the checks you get look so real that the "mark" doesn't suspect anything, cashes the check, maybe waits a couple of days to see what happens with the funds, and when they see their bank balance remain positive, they wire the funds back to the scammer. The problem is that 1) the check is completely fake (which is easy to do in today's age with color laser printers/copiers); and 2) Western Union wire transfers are basically untrackable. So long story short, a couple of weeks later the check bounces, you've already sent off the "extra money", and not only are you out of the amount you wired, but also all the fees that come with having a returned check, likely overdrafting your account, and any other checks you may bounce as a result.

 

Remember everyone, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is....

 

Glad you didn't fall for it in the end, Gunner!

 

-V5

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If they use the USPS, isn't it a federal offense? Or does that only work withint the US?

 

It is a federal offense, and I have worked cases like this where we caught some of them in New York and others working the scam from London. The problem is that you normally have to prove a very large fraud loss ($500,000 +)and connect it to the same criminal enterprise for the U.S. Attorney to prosecute it. Many of them work these frauds from Nigeria where it is considered honorable to defraud foreigners - so it is tough to get them extradited.

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