I am trying to sell on old cello that I no longer play. I posted an ad on a website dedicated to selling musical instruments. I got a message asking for more information, so I replied, hopeful that I found a buyer. The subsequent reply, however, raised red flags.
The subject line was “PAYMENT DETAILS NEEDED.” The person said he was very interested and would instruct his client in the states to write me a check for more than twice my asking price. I was to cash it and wire the difference to his shipper who would then pick up the instrument. The person then asked for my full name, address and cell phone number.
Why was I suspicious? First, the message was from outside the United States and full of spelling and grammatical errors. His name was also very ordinary, so I think it was fake. Second, nobody looking to buy an expensive musical instrument should do so before trying it out first. My “contact” was willing to send thousands of dollars overseas having never seen it. Third, shipping costs would have been more than the instrument itself, which is not sound financial discipline. Fourth, the “offer” seemed too good to be true. If the check I would have received was bogus, I would have been in a lot of trouble.
The lesson here is that scams can exist where you least expect them. Be careful before giving your money to anyone.