Piano sellers, beware of piano buyer scams! For additional information, please see this thread in our Piano Forums ...
Piano Buyer Scams
Unfortunately the convenience of the Internet has also spawned new opportunities for scam artists.
If you are selling your piano online you should be aware of this possibility.
Some of our advertisers have been approached by these scam artist and come dangerously close to
losing thousands of dollars.
If anyone offers you a check for more than you are asking ... it's a scam! They will have some odd story about providing a bank or certified check for more money, and all you have to do is deposit it and send them back the difference. The Check Will Bounce! But unfortunately not until after you've sent the money. You will then be out what you sent, and be expected to make good on the check by your bank.
(It's doubtful the piano will ever be picked up by them).
You can also report Cyber Fraud (scams) here...http://www.ic3.gov/ The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
You can also report fraud complaints/ scammers here ... www.fakechecks.org
While paying for your purchases on the Internet with PayPal can be a good way to protect yourself, accepting payments
via PayPal is not always safe!
Because of the popularity of PayPal, the scum that likes to scam people have worked hard to come up
with a number of ways to steal your money. Now that isn't to say everyone who offers to pay you with PayPal is a criminal, but
you should know what the scams are and how they work so you can avoid them.
The first red flag should be if the purchasers address and the shipping address are different. But there are many others.
I highly recommend visiting this page on PayPal before accepting PayPal for payment.
PayPal Scams and how to avoid them
Fake Check Scams
From FakeChecks.org (www.fakechecks.org)
Scammers will try to convince you to take a check for MORE than you are selling your item for! The check will turn out to be a fake, but not before you've lost your money. Don't do it!
They send or give you a check or money order for more than the purchase price and ask you to send the extra to someone who will take care of shipping. But there's no reason why they can't send that person the money directly.
They say that a check or money order payment will come from someone who owes them money and tell you to deduct your share and send them the rest. Maybe they're in a foreign country and because of currency differences it's difficult to pay you directly. But it's easy to transfer money electronically from anywhere - there's no reason to have someone else send you payment.
They claim they sent the wrong amount "by mistake" and ask you to return the excess.
Legitimate buyers will be happy to send the exact amount you're owed.
A typical SCAM forwarded by a piano seller on 01/02/08...
Thanks for the information provided on the purchase of your Piano,i am willing to purchase it at the price of $1000, I will be going on a long vacation as i have just recovered from a partial stroke, I will assign a shipper who will work with you, considering the purpose of the purchase and my situation, I crave your indulgence in assisting me in seeing this purchase through, you will be receiving payment in a cashier check of $5900 this is a payment from an earlier cancelled order as the goods did not match the stipulated quality hence was cancelled,therefore you will be receiving the payment issued in your name from the debtor in the same amount.
You are only required to deduct the cost of the Piano which is $1000, upon receiving the payment and send balance of $4900 to Pickup agent for him to be able to offset shipping /tax charges and any other expences that might accrue in the cause of this transaction and other Shippments he is doing for me.Upon sending the balance to the shipper,the shipper will then proceed for pick-up,he will be responsible for signing of neccessary paper work and shipping,please comfirm this arrangement and forward your particulars;
YOUR NAME,ADDRESS,PHONE NUMBER,on receiving this information i will forward it immediatly to my debtor and will let you know when to receive payment,all other information neeeded in completion of this transaction will be communicated to you in due time.
Thank you in anticipation of your understanding and co-opearation.Looking forward to your swift response,thank you once again and please consider it sold.
Mr Peter Allen
The following story was sent to us by a piano seller:
I wonder if you would care to place a warning re: a scam that I just went thru.
It was quite an expensive loss but a wonderful lesson. I placed and ad on piano world for my piano for sale. Got a response from a person in England (?) saying he would buy the piano and sent a cashiers check for the piano plus shipping charges. It was deposited and I sent out the shipping charges via western Union ($5500). Several days went by and I did not hear from the shippers. Then I get an email that the person was ill that bought the piano and they want their money back. Could I Western Union it back? Well by this time I knew something was up (yes it took me that long) Then yesterday I went to take some funds out of my ATM and there wern't any funds there. The cashiers check was a phony. It took the bank 5 days to pick up on this!!!! I cannot aford to lose the money but it did teach me a very valuable lesson. The name of the person was Barry Edward but of course he will never use the same name again. I would caution anyone buying or selling a piano to be extremely careful with cashiers check. I have contacted my attny but have no hope of recovering the money sent via Western Union.
All those beleaguered widows, complaining chief's sons and yowling high-ranking government officials don't want your assistance in getting a large sum of money out of Nigeria anymore.
Now they want to buy your stuff.
Yes, there's a new twist in Nigeria's thriving Internet-based scam operations. This time, the scammers pose as potential buyers for big-ticket items, like cars (or pianos), listed for sale online.
The buyer explains that a business associate in the United States will mail the seller a cashier's check for the amount of the item plus the cost to transport it overseas. The seller is asked to wire the transportation fees to the buyer once the check has cleared so the buyer can arrange for shipment.
But a week or so after the check clears and the money has been wired, victims are notified by their banks that the check was counterfeited.
The scam has become so widespread that victims formed their own online support group last month. The group now has close to a hundred members.
Scam victims admit they initially were skeptical when the deal was brokered, but after receiving and depositing a cashier's check that cleared, they assumed all was well.
The scam takes advantage of a little-known loophole in the U.S. banking system. Many people don't realize that when a bank says funds have cleared, it doesn't mean the check is good, according to Carol McKay, director of communications for the National Consumers League.
"Under federal law, depending on the type of checks deposited, banks must give consumers access to the money within one to five days. Longer holds can be placed on deposits over $5,000, but banks are reluctant to inconvenience their customers," McKay explained.
"Unfortunately, it can take weeks for fake checks to be detected in the banking system. And consumers are then left holding the bag for the money they've withdrawn. That's because it's the depositor, not the bank, who is responsible if a check turns out to be bad."
Jeff and Shawn Mosch were victims of the scam, and they figure their bank is just as much at fault as the con artist who ripped them off for $7,200.
Shawn Mosch said she went to the bank with the cashier's check and told the teller, "I need to know when this is going to be a good, clear check -- when this is going to be actual money I can spend and it's never going to come back and bite me in the butt."
She was told her butt would be out of harm's way in 24 hours.
Mosch said she waited an extra day just to make sure, and then wired the money to the buyer. Five days later, the bank informed Mosch the check was counterfeit and her checking account was now $5,000 overdrawn.
McKay said the scam isn't limited to Internet sellers. The Consumers League is starting to hear from people who have also received counterfeit checks in connection with work-at-home offers.
"Banks would serve their customers better by explaining that they can't immediately tell if the checks are good and that the depositors will be stuck if they're not," McKay said. "In general, it's probably a good idea to wait several weeks before drawing on checks from unfamiliar sources.
"But the bottom line is this: No legitimate company will offer to pay you by arranging to send you a check and asking you to wire some of the money back. If that's the pitch, it's a scam."
For additional information, please see this thread in our Piano Forums ...
Piano Buyer Scams