Last updated: 26 June 2005
Subject: Scam Awareness, Always be Cautious! Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 10:15:43 From: M. J. The Madjordainain (firstname.lastname@example.org) I don't know weather you would want to post this or not. but I know a lot of folks looking for good information come to your site. As you know I have really begun to take a more serious interest in my astronomy 'hobby' and as such I always have an eye out for the that "scope of my dreams". Recently Meade's Factory Outlet had a new Meade LX50 10" complete package up for sale at Ebay. I bid on it and some one else wanted it a little worse than I did, I was the last bidder prior to their winning bid. No biggy, I wasn't willing to pay as much for it as the winner was, I have a decent 8" Newtonian F5 reflector! Well a few days after the auction was over with I got a very official looking notification from the "Meade Factory Outlet" stating that the winning bidder for some reason could not complete the sale so I was being offered the package for my last bid, which was accurately listed in the offer. I became a little suspicious as in the notice it said not to "reply" to the email message but to reply to the address given in the body of the message. I responded to the listed address with a lower offer out of curiosity and received another very real looking message from 'Ebay' stating to send the buyer my shipping info and they would contact me with the payment info. Bada-bing when I received the payment info lo and behold the 'Meade Representative' needed me to send the payment via Western Union to Wilshire England! Hmmmm, damned funny there Mr./Ms. 'rep', Meade's factory is in California here in the U.S.A. and on the original listing they accepted much more standard, traceable, and controllable methods of payment. I contacted Ebay's fraud investigation division and sent them a copy of the message with the payment instructions, 'rep's' address & such, Ebay Identified it as a fraudulent set up, I doubt they will pursue it much. A shame really as I told the 'Meade Rep' I could not get to a Western Union office/center for at least 24 hrs so not to look for payment for at least 24 - 30 hrs. Needless to say they emailed me not to be concerned with the payment delay, it was OK! Interestingly as of this writing that individual is not aware Ebay has the pick up/delivery address the "Meade Rep" gave and could easily have set them up for apprehension! My point is to advise folks to be very wary when dealing with purchases over the Internet, The realistic presentation and appearance of these messages was really authentic looking. This "rep" could have easily bilked a novice or less suspecting person out of their money. If you decide to post this somewhere on you site and are interested in a little more detail I could forward you the messages I received from "Ebay" so others would know just how realistic a fraud can make these things appear, they looked 'good'. In short let folks know to be cautious! The Greenhorn AKA: Mark Jordan
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