Outstanding! After all these years online I’m finally being targeted by those dreadful Nigerians, they’re trying to scam me on an eBay auction. (Disclaimer: I need to be careful not tarnish Nigerians as a people, my parents lived and worked there for several years, and my big brother was born in Nigeria).
I had a cleanout of the cupboard the other weekend and came up with a box of computer bits and pieces, so I’ve been selling them on eBay. Today I listed an O2 Atom PDA phone. Bought it a year or so ago while in between Blackberries, but wasn’t my cup of tea, so stashed the box in cupboard.
Imagine my excitement when eBay notified me this evening someone had clicked the Buy it Now within hours. Yay, money in the bank. The successful bidder is sandracollins0022222222. Their profile says Queensland (I listed the item only for Australia).
Then comes a message from sandracollins0022222222:
I am interested in paying for this item so i will want to know its present condition and also i will and paypal or Bank deposit are most Preferable and okay by me I am sending the item to my One and lovely Husband in Nigeria as a gift kindly rapped it well.I don’t mind if i will pay you for the shipping cost to Lagos Nigeria,so i would like you to get back to me with the shipping cost because i want you to ship it to him in Nigeria immediately please kindly get back to me with the total cost including the shipping cost plus insurance cost, So i can transfer the funds into your account now And i will also be offering the Additional Amount of $50 the Shipping Cost so as to get the Item shipped fast to him in Lagos,Nigeria I Await for your Urgent Response asap.
"Here is the shipping address where you will be sending the phone to:
Name: Adetayo Olayinka
Address: 40D, Ayilara Street
Off Ojuelegba road
Get back to me as soon as possible to know the total cost altogether including the shipping cost as well.
Hmmmm, my excitement has abated. Me smell a rat. I checked out the eBay forums and quickly found many people who’ve sold to someone like this, they receive an email from PayPal confirming payment, so they ship the item off to Nigeria. The payment confirmation, of course, turns out to be fake. Goodbye phone.
Closer inspection of the buyer’s profile shows it was registered today, and has no other transactions, and no feedback ratings.
I’ve sent a note into eBay asking for help.
Having seen some many of those ubiquitous Nigerian scam emails go past and resisted the temptation to grab a 25% share of some deceased oil minister’s zillion dollar estate, I finally I reckon I’ve struck lucky!
Once in a while I’ve wondered about having a go at the 419ers. One of my favourite sites is 419 Eater where some seriously talented, and funny, dudes try scamming the scammers – often with completely unexpected and hilarious results. Including getting one scammer to read the whole of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to an audio file, and others to make a short film of, wait for it, the Dead Parrot Sketch. The latter surely will have you rolling on the floor in pain. Ah Nigeria, so many scammers, so much hilarity.
On a more sober note, I should probably just note that unfortunately many people have been taken in by these scams, and have lost money – and in some terribly sad instances, been physically harmed. It’s not always a laughing matter.
In the meantime I’ll wait on eBay and see about relisting my phone.
eBay to their credit responded within hours. They cancelled the account of the scammer, cancelled the bid, and refunded my listing fees. I relisted the phone and it sold after a few days to a real person paying real money. So all ended well.