A YOUNG Cupar man is warning others’ not to be fooled by an online sales scam.
Matthew Perry recently advertised his car online for £2800, but immediately became suspicious when he received a reply from one ‘potential’ buyer.
He is now warning other people offering items for sale on the internet to be careful.
Matthew explained: “I received an email which wasn’t in very good English and appeared to be generic in style.
“This alerted me as it could be used for anything being sold on the net.”
The message also asked if Matthew would accept a bankers draft as a form of payment.
Although his suspicions were already aroused, Matthew replied to ‘Jean Pierre’ to see what would happen next.
Matthew said the response confirmed the ‘buyer’ was dubious.
It said: “Thank you for your mail, I’m really interested in purchasing your merchandise, I want to purchase it for my son whose birthday is coming up soon, I want it to get to him as a surprise gift in Malta where he is resides.”
Matthew said the seller then went on to request his full contact details and said that he would then get his ‘financial agency’ to send a bank draft to him.
Matthew said: “ I replied with my address but not my full name just out of curiosity and a couple of days later I received a plain brown envelope and inside was a cheque for £15,000 headed from HM Revenue and Customs.
“The amount was also to cover shipping costs of the car.
“After some internet research it showed the cheque account number and sort code to be correct for HMRC.
“I went to the bank on Monday and they confirmed the cheque to be a fake.”
Geoff Bates from Fife Council environmental services and trading standards, advised anyone who accepts a payment to wait until a cheque has cleared before parting with their own goods.
He also advised against anyone disclosing a full name, address and date of birth as this can lead to identity fraud.
“Car sellers can find themselves scammed, even before they’ve sold their car,” he said.
“If you use a website to advertise your car for sale, you may receive an email from a foreign buyer agreeing to pay the full advertised price.
“This is almost always a scam so ignore any requests that ask you to contact a shipping agent on the buyer’s behalf.”
Mr Bates added: “They may also try to send you a cheque, which later turns out to be fake, and ask you to send the car to a shipping agent, or then cancel the sale and ask for a refund.
“Eitherway you could lose your car and maybe your money too.
“By waiting six full business days for funds to clear, you’re protected from fake cheques.
“Banking rules guarantee that the bank has no comeback if the buyer’s cheque later turns out to be fraudulent.”