Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

It’s bad enough receiving 2 to 3 Ebay or Paypal scam every month, but now people are targetting ads on the McGill Classified Ads bulletin board. It all started when I posted an add to sell my ITX computer.

Mini PC ITX, EPIA MII 10000 1Ghz, Memory 256MB PC2100/DDR266, 2.5″ 20GB Seagate Harddisk, DVD Toshiba Slim Drive, Morex 3688 casing ( 2.5″ x 8.25″ x 10.25″) , 1 PCMCIA slot, USB, Firewire, 1 Compact Flash slot , TV out, Network Card, bought August 2004, works pefectly, photos on request.

A day latter, I received this offer:

Good day to you, I saw this your Item displayed for sale and I took much interest in buying this Item from you at your own Price but I will like to know if this Item is still in perfect condition and I will be paying through Western Union (bidpay) or Money Gram which is the most Fastest and secure for online payment Once the payment has been made and approved I will like to handle the shipment myself via my fedex account and also schedule a fedex pick up myself. Please if this is okay by you send me the Last price you want to sell this Item to me and include your name and address for the payment.

So I’m already suspicious, but I decide to give the benefit of doubt and continue with the transaction. I send him the final price, some contact info and a few additionnal pictures. Several hours latter, I get an email from Bidpay, confirming that I’ve just receiving a payment for the computer. A closer look at the email reveals something more suspicious.

This order has been approved, we will send the above address payment in 3-5 business day.You CAN NOW send the items to the buyer now. Due to the fact that most sellers don’t send out item despite the fact that buyers have paid for the item, we decided to make a new policy that, sellers must ship out items within 48 hours of payment approval and send us the tracking number for verification. If we do not hear from you as soon as expectecd, the payment will be returned back to the buyer. We will be waiting for you to ship the item and mail us the shipment tracking number so that we can send out your payment immediately.

If you have ever read Bidpay’s FAQ, you will know that Bidpay is not an escrow service. Still, I log on to my Bidpay account to check on the transaction. I’m not surprise to learn that I have no transaction pending. The Bidpay email is a fake and the buyer wants me to send him my computer. Several minutes latter, I get this email:

Thanks for your mail, I have make the payment and I will want you to e-mail me when you receive the confirmation of payment, So that I can schedule a pickup through FedEx and I will be sending you the shipping document, where you will find the shipping tracking number. And as soon as you get the package shipped you will have to send the tracking number to Western and they will proceed with the payment…

Ok, I know this is a fraud. I’m not answering these emails anymore. I fowarded the fraudulent email to Bidpay and they told me to ignore the email. Next time I’ll know, if I’m suspicious about the buyer, I don’t even answer him.

I hope this can be a lesson to other sellers out there. If you’re suspicious about a buyer, just don’t do business with him. There is already too much fraud on the Internet to be careless. And don’t forget, just because an email is signed by Ebay or Bidpay doesn’t mean the email is official. When in doubt, be cautious.