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Fraud targeted at online-sellers

Payment via Western Union

The Watchlist Internet warns against a very sophisticated fraud. The victims are privat persons who offer their expensive goods on online platforms, like cars or motorcycles.

Proceedings through Western Union

Someone places an ad for a high-priced good which can only be delivered by a hauling company, on one of the many online sales platforms. An apparently interested buyer contacts the seller via e-mail. After agreeing on a price, the seller declares his bank data.

The alleged buyer claims that he already transferred the money and sends the payment confirmation of a foreign bank. He even paid more than the amount they agreed upon, as he added the costs for the hauling company.

However, the buyer tells the seller that the money has to be unlocked at a Western Union office. A respective explanation follows in his next e-mail:

  • The seller should pay the costs for the delivery to the hauling company at the next Western Union office.
  • After that transfer, the remaining amount (which would be the price for his goods) would be unlocked on his bank account.
  • The "buyer" furthermore asks for an immediate notification, when the above mentioned steps are taken.

The fraudster then even calls the seller personally, in order to gain his trust.

When the seller becomes suspicious, the fraudster tries to convince him to sell. According to Watchlist Internet, he sends copies of his ID. However, those are stolen or fake.

Tips & help

We recommend the following:

  • Sever all contacts with the alleged buyer.
  • Don't react to any messages, calls or e-mails.
  • Don't transfer any money, neither via Western Union nor any other bank company!
  • If you already paid, try to reverse the payment. Ask Western Union or your bank company to stop the transaction.
  • If your money is lost, file a charge at the police.
  • Only transfer money via Western Union to persons you personally know and trust!

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