If you’ve ever posted a classified advertisement online for an item for sale, chances are you’ve received e-mails from faraway places, from individuals that are planning to defraud you of your items and/or money. That’s not to say that fraud doesn’t also occur locally, it does, but there are typical patterns that take place in common overseas scams. US sellers are typically the targets of such scams, and unfortunately they are often times quite effective, since enough people fail the “if it sounds too good to be true” test, to make the scam worth the effort.

The most common target for chiropractic classifieds in these sorts of scams are chiropractor selling items like equipment, chiropractic tables, x-ray machines, and things of that nature. The scammers don’t care what the items are, they just want your money and/or your equipment. Unknowing sellers on other classified ad websites have been conned into shipping numerous items overseas. Items as large as motorcycles. The community effort on Planet Chiropractic has been terrific in helping to quickly identify scammers which helps us to block their activities. Scammers are a reality of buying and selling online, and I find the best thing people can do to combat being taken by a fraudster, is to stay educated on recognizing potential scams.

Here’s a sequence of e-mails from just yesterday involving someone in Africa sending e-mails to a seller of chiropractic items in the United States. Take a look…

Hi, (from the scammer)

How are you doing? Am writing you in regards to your posting on here and i’m interested in buying the item for one of my cousins.I want to know if the item is still available,if yes,Pls do get back to me with the detail and the last price of the item.Hope to read from you and have a wonderful and productive day.

Thanks
rickson.

rickson
rickson_taylor@yahoo.com

Hi, (The unknowing seller replies)

I still have the item. It is $550 + any packaging/shipping/transaction fees to get it to you. If you give me an address I can find out the final cost. I ship via UPS.

Seller

Hi, (The scammer follow up)

Thanks for the response to my introductory email..I am pretty cool with the price and condition and i am buying this for my cousin but my mode of payment will be the Most acceptable,safer and reliable means of payment which is United state certified money order/cashier check…Also,i am going to add $40 to the price for you to withdraw the advert from site.Please do get back to me with your name and address along with your phone number so that payment can be sent to you as early as possible and i will have my shipper come to pick up the item once you receive and clear the payment….And if you have a picture of the item,kindly attached with your response so that i can send it to my cousin.

Kindest Regards,

rickson
rickson_taylor@yahoo.com

After reading the above paragraph most sellers come to the conclusion that someone is attempting to scam and defraud them. If sellers would pay closer attention, they would potentially notice the signs of a scam in the first e-mail. It has the following makings of an e-mail from a scammer

  • poor grammar (many e-mails include poor grammar, so not the perfect individual identifier)
  • item requested for third-party (in this case a cousin)
  • nonspecific (meaning there’s no actual specific mention of the item)

When selling items online, you pretty much have to expect that a certain amount of e-mails you receive are going to be from people attempting to defraud you of your money and/or your items, take the necessary steps to know who you’re dealing with before you ship items or money anywhere.