Suspicious emails from potential buyer

Seller Alert: Beware of suspicious/dodgy emails from potential buyers asking about the final asking price of your item. This could be an attempt at 'overpayment' or 'advanced fee' fraud, which is circulating at the moment. 

Folksy is vigilant in identifying and prosecuting people who seek to de-fraud users of Folksy. Unfortunately we do occasionally get reports of scammers sending emails via the Folksy messaging system. Fraudsters tend to persistently target high-value items.

This article explains:
1. How to spot a scam
2. How to report the user to Folksy
3. How the scam works
4. What to do if you have responded

1. HOW TO SPOT A SCAM

The messages sent follow a very distinctive format so once you have seen one, you are likely to spot them straight away in future. A couple of examples are pasted below:

EXAMPLE 1:

Hello seller,
>
> how are you doing today?I saw your item posted on here and I am interested immediate purchase of the item,but before i proceed with the payment I would like to ask you some questions:

> 1) Are you the real owner of the item?
> 2) Is this item still available for sale?
> 3) What is the present condition of this item?
> 4) Do you accept PayPal as your mode of payment?
> 5) What is the final asking price of the item?
> please kindly contact me back on my email (often a yahoo com email address is included) for fast respond
>

> Best regards 

EXAMPLE 2:

Hello Seller

Am [NAME],I came across your item on here, i will like to buy the item,is it ready for the immediate purchase, before i proceed with the payment i will Like to ask about the item...

 1) Is the item still available for sale?

 2) What is the present condition of the item?

 3) Do you accept PAYPAL as your mode of payment?

 4) what is the final asking price?

 Kindly get back to me with your reply to ([EMAIL ADDRESS])

 Best Regards.

2. REPORTING THE USER TO FOLKSY

Folksy Admin remove and report any usernames who send these messages. If the username/profile for the user no longer exists, the user has been dealt with, so you can safely just ignore and delete the message. 

If the user's Folksy profile page does still exist or if you are unsure,  please forward their emails (including their Folksy username) to support@folksy.com

Accounts which have been removed from Folksy recently include:

  • Maria2018
  • Karianna
  • Amanda88786
  • Lynn45
  • kevin1965
  • Ann3444343
  • Amanda12345
  • Mrsimpossible1
  • Tina128
  • Vivian28
  • LarryGold
  • Maryduffield004
  • Lauramarshall38

3. HOW THE SCAM WORKS

Further correspondence with the 'buyer' often results in this type of exchange:  

Thanks for the respond,i am an oceanographer and am currently on the sea at the moment, i am buying the item as a gift for my mother,i want to make it a surprise gift for her,she won't know anything about the gift until they get delivered to her so i want you to reassure me that the item is in good condition as you have described.i can only pay through PayPal.So please kindly get back to me immediately so i can proceed with the payment and after the payment has been done,i have a pick up agent that will come around to pick the Item up immediately after payment,so you don't have to bother your self about shipping,all I will need from you now is your PayPal email,phone number and the address where pick up is going to take place with the final asking price, so I can book shipping with my agent before making the payment for you.

The 'buyer' arranges to send funds (including a large amount to cover courier costs) to your Paypal account and then asks you to transfer the shipping fee, often to a Western Union account. However, the email which appears to be from Paypal which states that you have received money relating to this order, is likely to be fake and so the shipping fee that you transfer out of your account will be your own money. 

More information on a similar scam

4. WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE RESPONDED VIA EMAIL

If you have entered into conversation with the bogus buyer via email:

Please remember that the aim of the scam is to trick you into sending money to the fraudster. If you haven't transferred any money or given the fraudster any bank details, there's likely nothing to worry about, but there are some steps we would advise you take:

  • Stop responding straight away and mark any emails that were sent directly from their email address (usually a yahoo.com address) as SPAM - this will send a report to their email provider to investigate and is the best way to get their email address closed down. 

    N.B. Please do not report the original notification email that came from robot@folksy.com/no-reply@folksy.com or you may not receive any future messages from us or genuine buyers. If you have reported one of our emails as spam, please let us know ASAP so we can clear you from our blocked list!

  • DO NOT ship the item or allow anyone to pick it up

  • DO NOT send any of your own money to the 'buyer' to cover any costs.

If you have received a notification that you have funds in your PayPal account from the fraudster

  • This is likely to be fake. Please don't click any links in the email. Please always go directly to paypal.com and log into your Paypal account to check your actual funds and transactions. 
  • If you believe an email or transaction to be bogus or fraudulent, please report it to Paypal and ActionFraud

If you have transferred any money or provided any financial details to a suspected fraudster

  • Please contact ActionFraud or your local Police station on 101 for advice and assistance ASAP.

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