Thursday, January 15, 2009

Possible Scam for Vintage Sellers:

Here is the email chain that developed today, which as it unfolded made me more and more suspicious. I feel that I was being singled out for a possible internet mail scam. I’m posting the details here, with the names and specific addresses removed, as a warning to other sellers.

This took place over approximately six hours this morning, starting with this email:

Hello Sales,
My name is XXXXXXX. I will like to order for some product from your store,down to my store in Australia . So i will like to know if you do mail order and also if you accept payment via credit card. Kindly get back to me with your official web site so that we can make some progress.



Street Address, KYNETON Victoria Australia

My initial response:

Mr. X,

Thank you for the inquiry. I can do mail order, and can also accept credit cards directly, although my website is not set up to accept them - I usually conduct such business over the phone.

My website is, but it is mainly a framework directly people to other sites in which I have an online presence. A good portion of my work is one of a kind, although I am able to reproduce many of the earrings and some of the necklaces I have for sale in my shop.

Does your store have a website as well? I'd love to see it.

Designs by Victoria

Received this response a couple of hours later, as a new email instead of a response to the previous thread:


Thank for your email,I would like to proceed with my order via
email,here is what i will like to order for,Will like to order below,

Vintage Red Wool Suit........QTY (1)

Vintage Baby Deer Black Dress Traininers child size 3.5W........QTY (1)

Vintage or Antique Fur Stole.......QTY (1)

I will like you to get back to me with the total cost and the shipping
cost.and here is address for you to the shipping cost and please
kindly get back to me if this items is in stock because i do not want
any delay on this.

Shipping Address.
Street Address, KYNETON Victoria, Australia


I replied with a brief:

I'll get the quote on the shipping for these items this afternoon.

Another response, a couple of hours later:

Thanks for the email..i will be waiting for the total cost more over i usually have problem with delivery so i have a personal shiping agent that assist when it comes to delivery , i just contacted him and he is ready to do a pick up as soon as am done with the order. Kindly get back to me with the cost of my order and i will proceed.

I was a getting a bit suspicious as this progressed, as he had not responded with any information about his supposed shop, and this business about the shipping agent made me even more so. So, I responded again, quite rightly:

Thank you again - I'll have the shipping total for you shortly.

In order for the sale to proceed, these items do need to be purchased through my Etsy shop, as otherwise I will be practicing fee avoidance.

I received this reply:

i don't do that online ..get me the cost of my order and i will give you my card to charge.

At this point, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. We’re talking about $150 in merchandise here, and as I’m just starting out, I most definitely can’t afford that kind of loss. So I replied:

I'm sorry, then I cannot proceed with this transaction. Items that are listed in my Etsy store must be purchased through the store. If you decide not to proceed with the sale, thank you for your time, and I will be replenishing my stock from time to time with new merchandise if you wish to begin doing business in this fashion.

And I haven’t heard back.

So I may have lost a legitimate sale, but the grammar, the insistence on completing the transaction as soon as possible, the unwillingness to do anything that would leave any kind of trail, the poor grammar and punctuation, plus the funny business with the shipping agent made this just seem like it’s not worth the risk. If you get a similar contact, you may decide otherwise, but I feel more secure having not gone forward with this transaction.

Here are the items that this person wanted to purchase:

Addendum to post, 1-17-09: Although according to Google Analytics, I have had no views in my shop from this territory in Australia, I have had one visitor from Nigeria.


Wenchie said...

Shady! I'm glad you didn't go through with it as there were several red flags with that persons replies.

Martha said...

I have been doing business on line for over 10 years. Allow me to assure you that you did NOT lose a legitimate customer. What you lost was the potential for a whole lot of grief. Have yourself a piece of chocolate to celebrate.

Designs by Victoria said...

Well, Martha, if you insist!

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm not really in doubt as to the legitimacy of the transaction, but I ended up arguing back and forth with someone on a forum who was insisting it could be a real customer that I'd refused to do business with. Rather frustrating.

Leslie said...

I go the same exact emails when I listed something expensive on Craigslist, including the shipping agent etc. I kept wondering how the scam works and googled "craigslist scams". It was all there. They use phony credit cards and very very good fake money orders. You supposedly have their money but in reality when the bank realises it is counterfeit you are stuck with paying them back and your merchandise is gone. Who knew!

Abizness Digital Images said...

Am really surprised he/she even responded to "don't do CC over line..." In the three incidences I've had the grammar & spelling in the emails got worse & worse, and there was lack of punctuation & by second mail there became a sense of urgency relayed. All of these pshishing attempts went cold as soon as I sent a Pay Pal request to the address...

Good for you to stick to your guns!!