Beware of Scammers on the Forum!

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Oct 6, 2003
In recent weeks the forum has attracted scammers. Be on the look out.

We were informed of the situation by one of the members who lost money to one of them and reported it. Subsequently, two more highly suspect accounts were highlighted, one was banned in the middle of a PM conversation with a member.

Usually, when we get spammers, who join to post links to everything from fake watches to US church groups, we delete the accounts and all posts, and report them as spam. In this case, we have merely banned the three accounts so that their posts can be used as an example.

The MO of these scammers is to build a post count in the forum to allow themselves access to the PM system, then reply to people who have posted Wants, using PM. They claim to have the item, may even post pictures, but the picture has just been copied from some other source. They like being paid with BACS or Paypal Friends and Family. No item is ever shipped, they make excuses to give themselves time to defraud another few members, then move on, either to a new ID on the same forum, or to another forum.

This character was reported after defrauding one member, and while we were looking into him, he was reported by another member for trying the same trick and is now banned. The same ID was used for scamming on several other forums, all with the same MO. Note that the stated location for the member was changed, forum to forum.

Following this discovery, advanced pattern recognition highlighted these accounts and they too were banned.
*I have just had a PM telling me that this account was used to defraud another member* :(


There are other accounts that are under observation, but have as yet made no posts.

We have been fortunate so far that as a forum we have been small and obscure enough not to attract this sort of criminal. This may gave fostered a false sense of security where we assume everyone on the forum is a friendly, trustworthy, part of our community.

If the first we hear or take action over is when a member actually gets scammed, that is a bit too late. If it quacks and waddles, it gets treated like a duck.

I would like to tell you how to spot scammers and spammers, but that would also be telling the scammers what to do to avoid detection. I can give some info though.

Photos of items. In the past, I have used to search for images to see if they are used by other people on other sites. This is not effective against scammers copy/pasting photos to pass off as the kit they are offering. Maybe just the effect of the march of progress. I searched for a photo posted in 2019 that was used by Bruno73 and got no hits at all, whether I pasted the URL where it was hosted, or uploaded a screen grabbed image. A better technique is likely to be to do your own Google/Bing image search for the item and see if the photo you have been sent shows up. This technique showed up the picture Bruno73 used.

Payment: Forum rules say no Paypal Friends and Family. Assume no one honest will ask. If you want to pay BACS, you should know the person, or at least have a solid feel for their posting. More on this in a moment. If the name they give and the bank details do not match, big red flag. Report them!

Posting style and knowing people: This is the internet and people with hundreds or even thousands of posts in some places have up and done the darnedest things, however, genuine participation, especially over years of membership does tend to show and be a pretty good indicator for trust. In contrast, someone who has racked up a dozen or so posts that look like generic fluff, that required little effort on their part, and added nothing to the conversation, has provided little proof they can be trusted.

Be on you toes folks.

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