AMEMBER SELLING A BOAT ONLINE contacted us recently after eceiving this email: “Thanks for your swift response. Your asking price is okay by me. I would have love to come see this in person but am presently on job transfer to another state and when we make payment and you receive the funds, the
mover and my representative will see them in person on my behalf and the only
method of payment for now is by making by sending Bank Draft to you.” The
recipient wisely suspected the email was a scam, but wondered how it would
work, as the “buyer” was going to send a bank draft. Keep reading to find out
why the member’s intuition was right, how these kinds of scams work, and what
to look for so you won’t be a victim.
IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS
Learning to recognize the signs will help you protect yourself from boat-buying and selling scams
Many of the scams we see today are variations on old tricks that have been around for
decades. The three that follow are currently
in wide use:
COUNTERFEIT CASHIER’S CHECK/
MONEY ORDER: A bogus buyer will contact you with an email like the one that our
member received, offering to send a cashier’s
check or bank draft for the full asking price
if you provide your contact information. At
some point, the buyer will tell you that he/
she must send you the check for significantly
more than the purchase price and give you
one of a number of bogus reasons why this
is necessary. Most commonly, the buyer will
claim to be out of the country and want to
have the boat shipped to him/her. The buyer
will ask you to deposit the funds and send
some portion of the money to someone
else, often a phony shipping company. Most
people assume a cashier’s check or money
order is the same as cash, but in the days
of Photoshop and color laser printers, that’s
BoatU.S. CONSUMER PROTECTION BY CHARLES FORT
How To Avoid Counterfeit
■ Ensure the amount of the check
matches in figures and words.
■ Check to see that the account number
is not shiny in appearance.
■ Check to see that the drawer’s
signature doesn’t look traced.
■ Official checks are generally perforated
on at least one side.
■ Inspect the check for additions,
deletions, or alterations.
■ Contact the financial institution on
which the check was drawn to establish its
legitimacy, and to verify the account. But
obtain the bank’s telephone number from
a reliable source, not from the check itself.