Monday, 7 September 2009

Todays news

Well today I rolled into the office to see nothing, no parcel, no envelope just a big empty gap on my desk where the box should be.

Now to an extent that is great because it makes the claim so much easier (no delivery = easier claim). But remember one of the previous successful scams, where once a claim for non-delivery was made, the guy sent an empty envelope to generate tracking details for Paypal.

So first step raise a dispute on Paypal. A simple job easily done. Step 2 escalate the dispute to a claim, not so easy, the page complains about an unknown error.

After waiting an hour, try again. Its the same issue so I decided to find another means of escalating the compliant, and search the site. It turns out that Paypal now have phone numbers you can ring and real people at the end of the phone so after 15 minutes on the phone, the dispute can be escalated.

It even seems that they listen, as the claim seems to be where it is supposed to be rather than sitting in the 10 day limbo hell that Paypal initially insisted was unavoidable.

Now all I can do is contact Epsom police and wait patiently for Paypal's response.

Meet the scammer 2

Further research also shows he has past form.

John Mark Humphries, 41, of West Ewell, Surrey, operated a home CD burning factory to produce counterfeit Microsoft, Symantec, and Sage software over two and a half years.
He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday for offences under the Trade Marks Act and Theft Act.
Humphries was caught by a Sutton Trading Standards investigation, which found him selling fake software under the user name "harry_houdini0_0" as part of a routine sweep of the site in May 2006.
It was later discovered he had registered 12 eBay accounts to punt the knock-offs, using innocent people's details to hide his own identity. ®

So this time he seems to have got really sloppy.

I also must comment on my previous entry it would seem according to the Electoral role that Diane is quite happy living on stolen property.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Meet the (alleged) Scammer

So lets look at the person who is supposedly selling me the camera.

Meet John Mark Humphries of Epsom, Surrey (full address and phone number is available but I'm a nicer person than John seems to be).

So lets explain why we believe this person is him.

  1. Paypal email address - matches nickname on Flickr
  2. Paypal name - marches name on Flickr
  3. Paypal rough location - matches his photos on Flickr
  4. He admits on Flickr to owning an A300 and an A300 box was sent to one of the other people he has scammed.

I wonder what or if his wife Diane knows of his schemes.

The scam itself

So now some background.

Two weeks ago I decided to try and upgrade my camera from a Sony Alpha A350 to the A700. There are many reasons for this but the main was that its a more professional camera represents the sensible upgrade from what I have but it looks like the model will be discontinued. Result a slight rush to buy one before they run out.

Now personally I'm not bothered about buying things brand new or second hand if I can get a suitable discount. This view point has worked well over the years and has either saved me a fortune or allowed me to buy more crap (take your pick but I know my wife's viewpoint). So I went looking online for new prices (circa £530 or so for a new camera) and at second hand prices to discover one had recently been sold on a forum for £400.

Now my camera is probably worth £300 or so second hand with other bits I won't be needing (second lens, case spare battery....) so while £530 was out of my price range £100 extra for a decent condition second hand camera is possible justifiable (and I've just had my birthday). So I started trawling the forums to look for a suitable camera.

So having decided on a plan I started looking for a suitable camera and on the 25th August I found a suitable camera on the dyxum forums (original post here). Thinking everything was above board (and I do believe that thinking good about everyone is a good idea until they show otherwise) and having checked as much as I could on 26th August I sent £380 by paypal to the (alleged until I get into the office tomorrow) scam artist in return for the camera.

The camera did not arrive immediately but paypal confirmed purchase of postage on the 28th so with a bank holiday in the way nothing was going to happen until at least September 2nd.

September 2nd came and went and I was off on September 3rd and 4th but thanks to working in a small office I get everything delivered to work so I didn't need to think about the camera until Monday 7th when I would be back in the office.

Then on September 3rd I visited the dyxum forums to discover this topic.

edit as I've now found the original link.

The set up

I've been online for years and I'm very careful in what I buy online. But once in a while anyone can be caught out and it seems that I have been.

Thankfully, I've been alerted to this before I can see the parcel so while I know there is a very strong likely I have a problem I can start discussing it before I can start dealing with it.

Firstly here is the outline of the scam:-

  1. somewhere online a scam artist offers something for sale at a plausible price.
  2. the scam artist offers to use Paypal as a payment method.
    Now paypal once had a dire reputation but supposedly has in later years improved its anti-fraud support. I think we will find out more about this down the line but at the moment I'll leave that here.
  3. Now Paypal allows you to use credit cards for payments. So I'll add Barclaycard to the list. Supposedly in the UK credit card companies are jointly liable for credit card transactions over £100 (lets see shall we) or can initiate a chargeback to ensure you get your money back.
  4. Once paid the scammer now sends you something recorded delivery (or any method that result in a signature to confirm delivery).
  5. Having opened the parcel you try and initiate a refund from Paypal. However as the scam artist has proof of delivery Paypal refuse to do anything (because after all you as the customer may be lying).