10 February 2009

AllClassifieds being targeted by shysters and con artists

| JD114
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Put an ad in AllClassifieds for a desktop computer. As one does. Today I got an email from a gentleman who purports to go by the name of Andrew Nix. The email read thus:

    Hello there,

    I just need to tell you that this is a very lovely property you have
    gotten here and I am interested in buying it outrightly. For a quick
    sale, I will pay you $700.00 for this property .Let me know if my
    offer is accepted so that we can finalize this ASAP.

    NB: Honestly, I do not know the actual worth of this property ,If my
    offer is not ok, Let me know so i can shoot up abit or bring it
    down as the case maybe.
    Hope to hear from you soon.


Smelling a rat, I asked the gentleman if he would advise of his location and got this reply:

    I will be making arrangement for the pick up but I will like to know
    if my offer is accepted.

Being rather fond of what little money I generate from selling surplus gear, I declined his kind offer. The reason? Almost certainly this ‘Andrew Nix’ is fishing for prey in the counterfeit cheque/money order business. Naturally I don’t have proof but this offer bears all the hallmarks of this type of sting.

So, good people of Canberra, if you get offered a deal for an item you’ve listed on AllClassifieds or anywhere else for that matter that seems too good to be true, it almost certainly will turn out to be just that, and chances are your money will disappear into cyberspace never to be seen again.

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I’ve listed a couple of items on All classifieds. Small things (camera accessories) valued at about $200 each. And both times i received these emails saying … i’m out of town…i’ll put extra money in for postage international…buying as a gift for my son/friend
The first one was obviously a scam, very broken english asking me to send it to Nigeria!! but the one i received this morning not quite so obvious.
Needless to say i emailed back asking cash on pick up.

I was wondering how they could scam through Paypal. Thanks to skidbladnir for clearing that up for me.

Hells_Bells744:57 pm 10 Sep 10

My boyfriend has had a few of those email replies selling stuff on AllClassifieds too. Definitely had the exact same one as Beserk Keyboard Warrior last time.

They don’t seem to want to know anyhow. Just keep getting the word out, people will catch on I guess.

Me too, I’m pretty excited this has finally happened to me!
I’ve just responded saying I made a mistake and priced it too low and that I don’t have pay pal and will my bank account details suffice.
I plan to get a bit of sport with this…

Beserk Keyboard Warrior3:09 pm 10 Sep 10

Am selling a car online and just got this familiar-sounding email:

Thanks for the price given, but my work schedule is keeping me too busy. i am a petroleum engineer currently on a rig offshore.I would have loved to come in person or talked to you on phone,but due to the nature of my work i won’t be able to come for the inspectation due to my work basis and our phone is down on the rig right now due to bad weather..i am buying the car for my Cousin and i really want the car to be a surprise for him so i wont let him know anything about the car until it gets delivered to him,i am sure he will be more than happy with it…i will get a pick up agent to come pick it for me…And as for the payment,let me know if you have a paypal account cos I can only pay with paypal here, i will need you to give me your paypal email address so i can make the payments asap..i will be paying $10,000 to you via my PayPal account if that is ok by you,please let me know asap….Hope to read from you soon

I got the simalar email from a john smith wanting to buy my car, This is how it went


is the item still up for sale?



I reply with the usual still for sale


Thanks for the email ,do let me know how much you
are willing to sell to me . I will be paying with my paypal
account which is the safest online payment mode.so please do reply me
asap with your paypal account or send me a payment
request from your paypal account so i can effect payment to you
rightaway. You can easily open an account with paypal if you don;t
have one at http://www.paypal.com.au its safe,simple and reliable also do get
back to me so we can arrange for pick up as i will like it to be
picked by my pick up agent due to the fact that i am out of the
country now on job duties,so no shipping included I await your reply.

Hope to hear from you soon.


The lowest I would go would be $1900. Payment for the car will be COD
as I don’t have a pay pal account and also don’t trust
internet banking. I am more than happy to liaise with your pick up agent


Hi John

If that is your real name after reading some blogs on the web im pretty sure you are a scammer if im wrong I will meet with your ” pick up agent” along with the police and it will be $2000 CASH ONLY.


.PS. How dumb do you think I am you dead s#it

Havent heard from him since SO WATCH OUT FOR THIS DOUCHE.

The average internet user is as internet-savvy as the average RiotACT reader.

No idea how savvy the average AC seller is, but it looks pretty easy to fleece Grandma\Grandpa\Aunt Beryl out of her gear.
(Not that I would)

I don’t believe there’s anything AllClassifieds need to do about this problem, as they are only providing a service to sellers similar to the Canberra Times or Trading Post and a lot cheaper.

It’s simply a case of buyer or in this case seller beware as with every business transaction on the planet.

However, a notice to sellers on the website advising sellers to verify the bona fides of buyers couldn’t hurt could it?

Felix the Cat8:56 pm 10 Feb 09

I have a few items listed for sale on AC at the moment (including my car), have had for a few weeks now with no problems.

@Jb: Purely because I am curious…

Were AllClassifieds notified before you went to publish this story, and did they go so far as declining to comment, or just decide to sit back and see how it plays out before making their response?

If anyone from AllClassifieds in a position to speak for AllClassifieds is reading (and chooses to exercise their large opportunity for an uncensored reply), has this problem been brought to their attention before and only just now been publicised, and have/will any steps been/be taken to address the issue of scammers?

(I many not use AC yet, but I would be more likely to use a service that recognises it has customer problems and tries to fix them, than one who denies that they might have valid concerns. In which case I might use a competitor, when the time comes)

I know someone who was tried to be scammed on allclassified trying to sell a camera

The buyer claimed to be in South Africa and offered more than the seller was asking to more than cover extra postage costs

The scam worked like this: the “buyer” asked for the trade to go through Paypal at which point the seller set up an account and requested payment in escrow.
The “buyer” then sent a fake email that looked like it was from Paypal saying that payment has been received and is awaiting a tracking number from a shipment company in order to release the money from escrow

It was pretty easy to spot because the fake Paypal email had an obviously wrong address, and the seller’s Paypal account was still on a waiting payment status

The scam was reported to Paypal, but I don’t know if anything came of it

PsydFX – great idea, but I read just recently somewhere a lady who tried to do just that and neither the police nor the company it was being done through were interested in taking the bait.

When I was selling my car on All Classifieds I recieved a similar scam email stating that the interested buyer was a Marine Engineer at sea, and that they would purchase the car for the agreed price and pay immediately via PayPal, they then went on to state that they would have a Pickup Agent come and collect the car once the transaction had gone through.

Sensing it was a scam I told them to f(_)ck off and reported it to All Classifieds. In hind sight, I should probably have gone along with it, and gotten the police involved as they may have been able to track the person down through the “Pickup Agent”

i have used an ‘and’ in that second sentence instead of “logs the value of offers, or”.
Mentally insert and reread.

It should probably also be noted that I’m no lawyer, its just my reading of their Terms and Conditions.

AllClassifieds for its part in ‘assisting’ sales listings, doesn’t really do much for user protection. 🙁

Ebay has a policy of only allowing authenticated members to contact authenticated members, and never actually revealing a user’s email either directly to the public or to an authenticated user unless one user goes out of their way to reveal it as a system-logged private message.

AllClassifieds’ system never actually requires any form of membership, or authentication other than a character recognition “Captcha” before letting a person see the user’s email address or phone number.
Captchas are breakable, so their system 1) does not prevent bots from harvesting emails of listing users (for spam or scam purposes) and 2) the nature of their business puts users at an elevated risk of the ‘fake buyer’ or ‘postal theft’ scams mentioned here.
And it does it as a private communication between users entirely seperated from AllClassifieds, so AllClassifieds doesn’t know\care about it.

So their disclaimer linked to from every page is all they need. (emphasis mine)
All Homes Pty Ltd is not involved in or a party to any transaction between buyers and sellers of items listed on the website. Accordingly, All Homes Pty Ltd makes no guarantees, undertakings or warranties regarding the accuracy, truth, comprehensiveness or currency of information contained in advertisements, the suitability, quality, safety, merchantability, fitness for any particular purpose or legality of any of the items advertised for sale on the website, or the ability or capacity for sellers or buyers to complete or enforce a transaction regarding an item advertised for sale on the website

tylersmayhem1:37 pm 10 Feb 09

Has anyone bothered to let All Classifieds know about this?

BT, I agree that PapaDoc should continue baiting the buyer.

Holden Caulfield12:46 pm 10 Feb 09

Following Skid’s scenario I know a guy who sold a Gen 1 iPhone on eBay last year. He got a fair price too.

The sale was completed, paid for using PayPal and the iPhone was delivered as you would expect.

About a week later the 3G iPhone was announced for Australia. Suddenly the seller began to have problems with the iPhone and demanded a refund. PayPal sided with the buyer and automatically withdrew the funds from the sellers PayPal account.

The iPhone was returned and is still being used today by the original seller. That is, there was never anything wrong with it. It seems like a big case of buyers remorse and PayPal can sometimes be too far in favour of buyers.

What’s particularly interesting about this is that the way that the scammers are taking security provisions put in place to prevent scams on the selling side, and turning them around to help them effect scams on the buying side. The ingenuity of evil surely knows no bounds.

Until you get the cash out of Paypal, they can still quarantine it, or just bleed the seller through a death by a thousand cuts.
(This is the point of the dispute resolution centre).

‘Buyer'(Guyman) sends $700 dollars, advises to change the sending address from what their account was verified for. (Hence the “I work internationally, and move around a lot, so would not be at my usual address in Canberra\London\wherever” introduction)

Seller sends item to requested address, because this is consistent with their interactions with buyer(guyman).
Guyman lodges a dispute through Paypal, saying the box was empty or never arrived.
Paypal informs user that dispute is in play, and quarantines their payment.
They ask you to prove that you sent it to the verified address.
Paypal discovers seller did not send to the address on the account.
Paypal decides seller was stupid in taking such a risk, against the procedures Paypal advises as ‘relatively safe for both parties so long as they use verified addresses’.
Paypal is not at fault because they can only verify the addresses people self-identify as active, not every address on earth.
Paypal refunds money to Mr Nigeria, whose verified address was in London\Canberra\wherever, saying they are not responsible for stupid behaviour\international postal services.

It gets much easier if people choose to use Western Union, or just tell eBay support that they paid by direct deposit.
Ebay has an almost zero tolerance policy, and don’t give an useful level of buyer\seller protection on bank deposits, which is great if you run a scam.

There is a Canberra section on Craigslist now.


Now, that site is FULL of scammers.

I take it the scam is to get the account details?

If they pay you via PayPal, then how does the scam work?

Skidbladnir said :


“I work with an International shipping company” seems to be a codephrase meaning “This is a scam”

It must be a bugger for people who really do work for international shipping companies.


“interested in buying it outrightly” suffers the same problem.

All roads leads to Nigerian guymen.

Heh, the 419Eater link on the Google list is, as always, entertaining, and explains how the scam is supposed to work.


“I work with an International shipping company” seems to be a codephrase meaning “This is a scam”

I have often wondered about this sort of scam. Surely there is a point where your bank has to take responsibility if they say the money is in your account and the cheque turns out to be fake?

Sorry for the double post, but I just got his reply:


Thank you for deciding to sell to me,reciprocation of trust is very vital in every dealing,as i can categorically assure you that there will be no regret or soever as you’ve decided to sell to me. I am buying this (property) for my cousin as a gift,and it is urgently needed.

To enhance speedy transaction i will not be able to come for the inspection as I was planning going on buying physically but could not due to the nature of my work as i am always on the move cos I am a marine engineer and I work with an International shipping company,so there will be no problem with pick up as I have a reliable person to pick it up from your destination.

I will be paying with my paypal account…so please do reply me asap with your paypal account or send me a payment request from your paypal account so i can effect payment to you right away.

I await your reply

NB:Honestly, I would have loved to come for the inspection of this property but cannot because I’m always busy sailing.
Hope to hear from you soon.


Hahaha, this is one I woke up to this morning after listing a PC:

Hello there,

I just need to tell you that this is a very lovely property you have gotten here and I am interested in buying it outrightly. For a quick sale, I will pay you $1,700.00 for this property .Let me know if my offer is accepted so that we can finalize this ASAP.

NB: Honestly, I do not know the actual worth of this property ,If my offer is not ok, Let me know so i can shoot up abit or bring it down as the case maybe.
Hope to hear from you soon.


He sure must like the “property” I have for sale!

proofpositive10:54 am 10 Feb 09

AllClassifieds needs an escrow system. Allowing payments via Paypal may help avoid these scam schemes.

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