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Barnstormers Receives More Than A Million Visits and 17 Million Pageviews From 200 Countries - EVERY MONTH
Please forward scam emails to email@example.com as soon as you receive them. Also, when you receive a response to your ad, simply "Google" that person's name and/or phone number. In most cases, Google's Results will reveal any scamming activity relative to that name or phone number.
BEWARE OF TEXT MESSAGES
Scammers are calling advertisers and pretending to be selling advertising services (for a fee) for which the scammers promise to post your classified ad on other websites. One scammer claims to be a "licensed eBay dealer". Here are two reports from our advertisers:
Please be aware that a scammer is responding to Want Ads by texting advertisers' phone numbers.
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Barnstormers, Inc. does not become involved, in any way, with transactions between buyers and sellers advertising on Barnstormers. Should you be informed that Barnstormers is involved in a buyer and seller transaction, consider it fraud.
THE BEST ADVICE BARNSTORMERS HAS TO OFFER AT THIS TIME: Most major U.S. cities have a Fraud Task Force and it is usually sponsored by the Secret Service. Try to find and make contact with your local Fraud Task Force. They can give you immediate help if you have become involved in a scam.
Please also report scams to Barnstormers AND the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center AND the U.S. government-sponsored Internet Crime Complaint Center. Unfortunately, the FBI generally will not take a case if it involves less than $100,000. The U.S. Postal Service has the same threshold. We understand, however, that scams involving avionics under $100K will be investigated by the FBI.
If you are a Seller, read the Guidelines for Sellers...
If you are a Buyer, read the Guidelines for Buyers...
Legitimate buyers will furnish name, address and telephone number... whereas scammers do not. Scammers, like the examples on this page, usually say the same thing... that they will send you a check for more than what you are selling for. Normally, they send you a counterfeit cashier's check. Here's how it works:
1. The scammer wants you to send the balance (between the amount on the check and the cost of the item) to them right away.
2. Not all banks are wise to the counterfeit check, especially if it's a counterfeit cashier's check, and sometimes it takes three weeks for it to come back. By that time, you have already sent the balance AND the merchandise. Then the bank wants its money back from you.
Any mention of a client or debtor owing money, overpayment, Western Union, international shipper is a red flag... these are scams and should be treated as such. That's how to recognize scammers. They are hitting all the aircraft, watercraft and automobile classified ads websites on the Internet. There is nothing much that you can do.
Another type of scammer meets with you in person, with check in hand.(Read EXAMPLE #8 below). Every aircraft seller should make a point of carrying a camera and taking a picture of each buyer when they come with check in hand. Also, every aircraft seller should ask to see the buyer's driver's license and copy down the ID number, birthdate, etc., like store clerks write on a check.
Following are examples of scams that have been reported by sellers on Barnstormers.
EXAMPLE #1 - SCAM REPORT SUBMITTED BY ADVERTISER: I need your advice on what appears to me to be a scam. "Hello, how are you doing today? its so good to tal;k to you on phone. well in regards to the plane i will pay you $45,000 but my engineer will have to comer and inspect it, But for you to know that i am very serious about it and i also want you to help me keep this plane so that another buyer wont get it. So i will pay you 10% of the total amount. I will pay yiou by the most secure way which is bank wire transfer into your company account.I cant risk sending checks because these days there are lots of hell in the states about checks. So i will like to hear back from you as soon as possible. there is no problem with that at all i will make wire transfer by 12pm tomorrow so you will have money into your accopunt by 12 pm on saturday so in order for me to make the $4300 into your account give me info such as
Bank Name and Address...
So as soon as i get this info i will make the payment soonest. I am really serious about this so get back to me very soon. thanks Andrew" Thinking there might be some legitimate buyer out there, I contacted my bank and followed their instructions. I sent the scammer a bank routing number by which he may transfer funds to our Federal Reserve Bank. I also gave him the Bank name and its local address. When Federal Reserve receives the transfer, they call my bank who in turn calls me and gets from me the account I want it deposited into. The bank advised me not to give out my address and checking account number."
EXAMPLE #2 - SCAM REPORT SUBMITTED BY ADVERTISER: "Someone attempted to scam me today, and I wanted to pass along the details in case you haven't heard of this before. Perhaps it is worth mentioning to others who have ads listed on your site. I was contacted (via AT&T's Internet Relay service) by a person claiming to be interested in the airplane I have listed on Barnstormers. The caller stated they wanted to buy my airplane without even seeing it. This person then said that in order to ensure no one else would buy it before he could pick it up, he wanted to give me a deposit. He told me that he felt checks were unsafe and wanted to complete the transaction via a wire transfer. I was a little leary that someone would agree to purchase any airplane without seeing it first, and I was convinced it was a scam when the person repeatedly insisted that I give him my account/routing numbers. He even persisted when I offered to hold the plane for him without a deposit."
EXAMPLE #3 - SCAM REPORTED BY ADVERTISER: "I am Robert Macuby and am intersted in buying your good l'm okay with the price and would like you to know that payment will be remitted to you by my client in the usa that is owing me over goods I bought from him but due to delayment over, coming for the pick up he had to sell it off to someone else hoping to get me another before i will come for the pick up but couldn't, so he will issue you the amount beening a cancelling order which i placed with him and it will be remitted to you on a bankers draft or money order. Also, my shipper will make an arrangement to come for the pick-up at your location. If this is okay by you, provide your contact details and phone number on which payment can be remitted to you immediately. I wait to read from you soonest, Regards...... Joseph"
EXAMPLE #4 - SCAM REPORT SUBMITTED BY ADVERTISER: Following is a scam I encountered while selling my PA28/140. The scammer was buying my plane for his client and actually sent me a cashier's check for $7,000 more than I wanted for my plane and asked me to send back the change. It had to be sent Western Union. I got the FBI involved and called the bank the check was drawn on in West Virginia. The bank said they get 100 calls a day on this guy and they also had the FBI working on it down there. He went by the name J. Blanc. I jerked him along for a couple weeks, promising to send him his change while I worked with the FBI on catching him. In the end, it appeared he was from the U.K.
EXAMPLE #5 - SCAM REPORTED BY ADVERTISER: "We are interested in buying your above mentioned product (3 BLADES PROP) at advertised rate of $450.00. Goods to be picked up from your location for onward shipping to London. Cost and modalities of shipping to be born by us. Payment for the purchase is by check through a debtor in US. The debtor owes us higher than our purchase. He will therefore be sending you a check for $5,000 to cover the cost of our order, as well as the Shipping costs. On receipt of the check, you will cash and deduct the cost of our order. The balance you will send as we would instruct you to the Agency that will ship the Goods to us. If this arrangement suites you fine, please send us your address where to send the check, as well as the name to be on it. Also send us your phone number for easy communication. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Best Regards, MR. KEN OWEN"
EXAMPLE #6 - NIGERIAN COUNTERFEIT CHECK SCAM • INDUSTRY ALERT • The Nigerian Counterfeit Check scam artists are hitting this site in full force. Here is another example of emails that they send to sellers: "We are interested in buying your above mentioned products at the above rate. Craft to be shipped to London. Cost and modalities of shipping to be born by us. Payment for the purchase is by check through a debtor in US. The debtor owes us higher than our purchase. He will therefore be sending you a check for $11,500 to cover the cost of our order, as well as the Shipping costs. On receipt of the check, you will cash and deduct the cost of our order .The balance you will send as we would instruct you to the Agency that will ship the Goods to us. If this arrangement suites you fine, please send us your address where to send the check, as well as the name to be on it. Also send us your phone number for easy communication. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Best regards, Mr. John Daniels."
EXAMPLE #7 - ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF NIGERIAN COUNTERFEIT CHECK SCAM • INDUSTRY ALERT • Email received: "Am interested in buying your (Your Product) which price is $2650 firstly i will like to know the present condition of it because am a distributor of it in west africa so one of my client is owing me the amount of $7,000 and he is sending you a certified cashier's check of that amount drawn in america bank so dont worry about the shipment ,i have a shipping agent that will come for the pickup.so what you will do is just deduct your fund and send the excess amount through money gramm to my shipping agent that will come for the pickup at your destination.I will want a trust wothy fellow to transact business with me,so if this is acceptable with you i will want you to forward me your FULL NAME,ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER that you will use in receiving the check as soon as possible. EXPECTING YOUR MAIL SOONEST. camelian." And here's a note from Jon Kilpatrick: "I had one of these nigeran fellows contact me. I was sent a cashiers check drawn on an american bank I took the check to my bank and had it verified the numbers were good. Deposited the check and got it back in a few days. It was a forged check with a good account number. It fooled my bank. Thought I would pass info along to you."
EXAMPLE #8 - THIS REPORT WAS SUBMITTED BY A BARNSTORMERS ADVERTISER: Buyer calls up from Oklahoma. Asks all about the plane I have for sale. We come to agreement. He comes to my location in Missouri on Friday at 5 pm. Offers $25K in a bank check. I said yes I will take it. We fly a bit. I am trusting this middle-aged American guy. I noticed his car tags were Texas. No big deal Right? But he said he was from Oklahoma. With a closer look I noticed the car keys tag showed a Galveston rental. I looked closer at the check. NO watermark. And just lines on the back. I stopped him from taking the plane. NO deal until I check out this check. I offer to deliver the plane after check has cleared. He argued that it's good and insisted on not leaving the check without taking the plane. "NO deal," I said. Come back on Monday and we can complete the deal with a bank transfer. He agreed aggravated and left. The phone number he gave was a prepay phone (no longer working). His name shows up nowhere. There is no Wells Fargo Independent branch in Oklahoma City. He had it all worked out!
EXAMPLE #9 - THIS REPORT WAS SUBMITTED BY A BARNSTORMERS ADVERTISER: An email received in response to his ad: Dear respected one, I am writting you this letter with due respect and heart full of tears as i am in need of your urgent help and immediate assistance. I am ALFRED KONE,the only child of late MR and MRS EDWARD YAO KONE, FROM IVORY COAST here in West Africa. My father was a wealthy Cocoa merchant, well known in almost all over the West African sub-region before he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outings to discuss a business deal. My father took me so special being his only child (SON) after the death of my mother years back, and before the sudden death of my father two months ago in a private hospital here in Abidjan, he secretly called me on his sickbed and told me that he has a sum of USD$5,500.000 (Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars) deposited in one of the international banks here in Abidjan, and that he declared to the bank on the day he deposited the money that it belongs to his foreign business partner who will be submitting an account information for onward transfer of the money to Overseas. My father also explained to me before he died that it was because of his wealth and some huge amount of money his business associates supposed to balance him from the sales of Cocoa that he was poisoned. My father advised me incase he died to seek for a God fearing foreign person in a country of my choice, who will help me stand as his foreign partner and transfer the money out from the bank here in Abidjan for my future life. However, i am honourably seeking your assistance to stand as my late father's foreign business partner/beneficiary of this money for easy and immedaite transfer to your bank account,because i am afraid that the people who poisoned my father might be also after my dear life. For your information,my father did not mentioned any particular name to the bank as his foreign business partner, but he declared that the money belongs to his foreign business partner for the security and safety of the money and to avoid much questions that always arised if someone deposited a huge amount of money in the bank here. Every Documents covering this money in the bank is intact with me, and i will tell you what is required for the transfer of this money to your account once you accepted to assist me. I have made up my mind to offer you 20% of the total sum for your kind assistance. Email me. Hoping to hearing from you soonest, Thanks, Yours sincerely, ALFRED KONE.
Barnstormers receives and maintains a record of complaints and suspicion alerts offered by prospective buyers against Barnstormers advertisers. Most fraudulent advertisers are selling avionics, but not all. Some are selling engines, props, as well as aircraft. When Barnstormers Administration receives an inquiry, a complaint, or a "suspicion" alert, the email received is recorded on the applicable advertiser's account.
For example, recent "suspicion" alerts contributed by prospective buyers resulted in nine advertisers' accounts being closed down after investigation. ALL of the "suspicious" ads offered avionics at hundreds of dollars below the current market price. The ads were posted by the same person using different names, different email addresses and different hangar accounts. The scammer also used other people's credit cards to pay for his upgraded ads with pictures. In addition, the scammer is requesting that the transaction be done through non-existent escrow companies that have existing websites. Without the help of Barnstormers visitors, we would not have been able to identify the suspicious ads and advertisers.
BUYER SAFETY TIP - Never pay for your item using instant cash transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
Following are examples of scams that have been reported by buyers on Barnstormers.
ALERT #1 - SUBMITTED BY PROSPECTIVE BUYER: We are in the business of buying and selling used avionics. We have noticed a pattern among recent listings, and I am intersted in learning if you are aware of this pattern, or more importantly, any complaints. In two recent ads, for a GNS-430 system and a KLN-94 system, the sellers are using a shipping / escrow system called "DWC Company". The web site for this company is http://www.dwc-company.com/. I have never heard of them before. The prices for both systems are quite good, which also raises red flags. Are you aware of people using this service? Are you aware of any complaints or problems? I'm sure that you want to keep this as clean a marketplace as possible, and I really appreciate your help.
ALERT #2 - SUBMITTED BY PROSPECTIVE BUYER: The seller wants a wu or wire transfer and has suggested using an off brand escrow service. See a copy of his email and a link to comments about this "escrow service" below. "Hello, I can sell you the unit but its with a shipping company in PA. Its there because I already had a potential buyer who backed out because they couldn't afford it. Using this company you have 5 days inspection period and in this time they will hold your money. If you are not satisifed you can return it and they will return you all amount. If you are happy with it they will send me your money and this deal is close. The name of the company is www.dwc-company.com. For start this deal you have to register and they will send you more info for payment and shipping. Thanks,"
ALERT #3 - SUBMITTED BY PROSPECTIVE BUYER: There are some scammers working your website. I can identify there ads. They have been running an ad for a Garmin 430. When you email them they send you a discription of a 6 month old radio that was on eBay. Then they send you to a website called online shipping which is a fake shipping copany providing escrow service. Can these people be turned in to some law enforcement agency? I'm sure they will trick somebody. Thanks for your attention.
ALERT #4 - SUBMITTED BY PROSPECTIVE BUYER: Hello Barnstormers, I want to report one ad in your database that is a FRAUD Attempt/Scam. The following announcment is trying to fool the buyers, diverting them to one inexistent escrow company called DWC. The local police officer checked the address and confirmed that the company does not exist. Please react fast and prevent further problems for your visitors.
ALERT #5 - SUBMITTED BY PROSPECTIVE BUYER: I may have been scammed by a Barnstormers seller. He had an ad on May 25th selling a GNS430. I have not been able to get in touch with him or the third party holding company that supposedly held the item until I sent the money. I did look up the holding company and talked to them twice before I sent the money, but now I can not get on their web site: www.fastonlineshipping.com. And I have not received the item. Have you had any reports on this guy or this holding company?