In today’s electronic age, where a scammer in Nigeria can take advantage of a little old lady in Broken Clavicle, Wyoming, it’s important to be very careful checking out your sources before you send money to anyone for an online purchase.
I’m in the market for a riding mower, and I was checking out what Amazon had to offer.
I found this one that looked interesting, and noticed that there was a used one for sale at a ridiculously low price: $499.00, with free shipping.
Before I did anything, I checked around to see if it’s possible for scammers to set themselves up as sellers on Amazon… Most of the Articles indicated that Amazon has a rather strict vetting process and money back protection.
Edit: After doing some more research, it turns out that Amazon shuts down fake or scam accounts, but only after being notified – and that this is a huge problem, with phony sellers popping up by the hundreds each day.
I did notice that the seller’s storefront indicated that it had just been created, which is always a red flag, but I thought it would be worth at least sending an email to the seller to ask a question. The listing said, “Contact me before you buy!” and provided a contact email, JHONSONY86@gmail.com, so I sent off this inquiry:
How can you sell this item for so little with free shipping? What condition is it in? I know it says “like new” but still…
Here is the response I received:
Hello there,The product is BRAND NEW, never used, ( US model, not grey market or refurbished).The product is Sealed in its original box and comes with full Warranty, receipt, all manufacturer supplied accessories.The total price is $499.00 including all shipping taxes, if you are in US, and for international shipping you have to pay extra 29,99 $ (outside US) .If you want to buy, send me your phone number, full name, shipping address and I will contact Amazon asap to process your order. Dispatch is by normal UPS Services, which takes 1-3 days depending on where in the US you are.My return policy is full money back in 30 days.For more information don’t hesitate to contact me!Best Regards,Anthony Johnson
Well, there are so many red flags here that I can’t count them. The way the name was misspelled in the email address, the fact that the email address was in all caps, the bad grammar, and the absolutely ridiculous information in the response – selling a brand new riding mower for 1/4 of the list price, offering free shipping by UPS for a large item like a riding mower, indicating that international shipping would only cost $30 more, all combine to scream “run away fast, this is a scam!”
I wrote the seller back and included a few choice Nigerian insults for him; it was interesting to note today that the offer had been removed from Amazon.
Be ever so careful out there.
The Old Wolf has spoken.