Internet Scams

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There are several pages here detailing different scams directed at boat sellers. The new Page 4 is a scam directed at boat buyers!
Also see the Room for Rent scam

I would like to say that 99% of boat buyers are totally honest - it is easy to get paranoid about scams.
However, here is a page on
How to accept payment for your boat safely

I am being told that there are several 'dealers' using the email addresses of boat sellers on Sailing Texas. They offer listings and will charge for this, whatever they might say in their original email. PLEASE do NOT take them up on their offers. You can find yourself paying up to $200 for their 'services.'



June 2021. I am being notified of the scam where they send you a check, with an added amount to pay the 'shipper.' PLEASE don't fall for this one. You pay the shipper, the check bounces and you have lost the boat and the money you paid this man.

New scam July 2018. This 'gentleman' says he wants the boat for his wife's birthday. Sends the seller a check. Then he wants to withdraw from the sale, and says he will give the seller some money for their trouble. DO NOT send any money back to this scammer. His check will eventually appear as fraudulent.

Scam Tell-tales:

  • 1 - a thread of several unrelated addresses - a scam buyer said he was in Michigan; the return address on the Fed Express envelope was Hawaii; the check had 3 different states on it.
  • 2 - the check is always for more money than the transaction amount- a transaction amount for $1900; the check for $3000. Various excuses for this - usually that they want you (the seller) to pay a "shipper" and then after you have done this, you find that the original check bounces.

    Please see the rest of these pages, which outline different scenarios.

    These scams are not directed solely at boat sellers, they will try anything for sale on the net! Send the url of this page worldwide and let's get these guys back to an honest living.
    The purchase scam goes like this: they want to buy your boat for $2,000, but they have a debtor who owes them $7500 in the states, and they want the debtor to pay you the $7500 by check and have you wire them the difference of $5500, Western Union. Then you find out the check is bogus.
    They also counterfeit US Postal Money Orders, millions of dollars of these have been found! The best way to identify a genuine postal money order, postal service officials say, is to look for the telltale watermark, which, when held up to the light, should reveal an image of Benjamin Franklin. Genuine postal money orders also have a security strip running alongside the watermark, just to the right. If held to the light, a microfiber strip will show the letters "USPS" along its length.

    August 2016. After a 'legitimate' email, this is being sent out:
    Thanks for the response, actually I am sorry that I could no longer come to view it because I had a change in my work schedule and will be very busy. Just to let you know that am okay with the condition and price of the boat. I am ready to make instant purchase. My mode of payment would be in Cashier's Check via UPS or Fed Ex 1/2days delivery.
    I'll arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check cashed and have your money in hand, and i promise everything will go smoothly. Kindly get back to me with your full name and address including your cell number, so i can overnight the payment to you and i will let you know when its mailed out.
    Thanks and i hope we handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you.

    Everyone seems to be being sent this one at the moment (June 2016):

  • Hello Seller, I'm Scott, I am writing you concerning your posted Boat placed for sale on, do you still have it available for sale???

    Then after the seller responds:

  • Thank you, I am okay with the price and condition, I'm willing to offer you a check for payment and I'll be handling the shipment aspect,I have a reputable shipping company that I'll instruct to come and pick it up from you after you've received the payment and it has clears your bank and you have your cash at hand.. Ok?

    One of my sellers said the boat was $100,000. (Actually about 11K.) He still responded with the above answer!

    This received 6/4/14

    This sent to me from a seller.
    Henry Wesley is trying to pull a scam on boat sellers. He also uses the name Charles Elmore, and Sadde Pemberton.
    He sent me a check for full payment, and the day after he deposited it he emailed to rescind the sale and asked for a refund by way of wire transfer. His check was false, from a bank called TD Bank in Florida.

    I am interested in buying your boat. I came across the listing on Is it still available for sale?
    Yes it is still for sale. I just had a trailer custom made for it, and it is now in mast up ready to drop the mast. Here are a couple of extra pics.

    Kindly get back to me with the information below:
    *Full Name as it should appear on the payment.
    *Full mailing address(NO P.O BOX ADDRESS)
    *City/State/Zip Code
    *Mobile telephone number
    *Home/Office telephone number

    I will arrange for a check to be sent to you while the survey and inspection will be done at a later date. I would also contact a shipping company regarding the haulage.

    The payment had been sent to you. Kindly track the shipment at either OR
    This is the tracking number.........EM 039 583 695 CA

    It is unfortunate to inform you that I received a phone call early this morning that my dad passed away over the night. This is a great shock to me as I was dumbfounded.
    I never imagined this happening at this time and I would have to let go the boat I intended buying for him as there will be no need for it anymore since he is no more alive.
    I would like you to kindly deduct $2000 from my funds due to the inconveniences and expenses you may have incurred during the process of selling this boat to me as I understand you may have incurred some expenses.
    I would get back to you with the information on how to refund my money asap. Thank you so much for your understanding.

    I understand completely. Once the cheque clears I will send your money. Please give me a remittance address.

    The check was false.

    "Paypal" scam. 8/2016 Take care if the 'buyer' insists on paying by Paypal and wants new photos of your boat. After the funds clear, they have their shipper fetch the boat. Sometimes they leave a receipt for pick up with an address that it will be shipped to, but who knows where it goes and later, the buyer claims that the product was never received (shipped to a different address - or was "lost"). They then get a refund AND a free boat with new pictures so they can sell it.

    AGAIN, ALWAYS ask for a phone number, call it and don't take any excuse as to why a buyer can't speak on the phone.

    "Paypal" scam. 3/2012
    The Paypal logo looks legitimate.

    Dear .....,
    You have received a PayPal Payment of $15,300.00 from Kenneth Hill.

    A temporary hold has been placed on this transaction!

    As mentioned in the receipt of Payment and as per New PayPal Payment policy, we have fully debited the total amount (above) from the buyer's account which includes the buyer's shipper's pick up fees.

    In order to complete this transaction and get the funds approved in your account. We advice you go to nearest Western Union Office,and send the $1,250 to the Agent and send us a Scanned Copy/Photograph of your Western Union Transaction Receipt (in .JPG Format) with the Western Union Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) in details.

  • Here is another scammer. 2/13

    Good day, I saw your item from site,which you placed on advert for sale. I am interested in buying the item. I will like to know if it is still available for sale and it's working condition. Last price?, My mode of payment is Bank Transfer, Check cashier and money order? Please reply promptly so that I can make a decision.
    Thank you
    Steven Clayton

    Here are some new scammer emails that I was sent today. (7/18/11)

    Attention, We saw the advert of your(BOAT)for sale kindly please get back to me if it still available for sale and get back to me with your last offer.

    I await your reply soonest.

    Best Regards. Mr Robert Massimo

    The following emails from this gentleman keep asking "what is the price of the boat." He doesn't seem to be looking at the ad at all.

    A gentleman named JOE SPIVEY is emailing sellers constantly.

  • Again, always ask for their phone number. That seems to stop them.

    Another one.


    I'm inquiry on the boat i saw it pictures that you have advertise for sale on sailing texas.

    However,i want to know if it is still available and also your best asking price for it.


    They always want to know the "best price for your boat."


    Another one.

    How are you doing and your Folks? While surfing through the internet, your advert posted for sale was found, I am Mr Maxell from Detroit. The advert i saw happen to be the one i have been searching for a while now, I will be glad if you sale for me if its available, and don't worry about the shipping because i have a company that is responsible for that which is ASC LIMITED (Clearing and Forwarding) and they have been working for me years ago.

    I will like to know the following details..

    Item available for sale....

    The Condition...

    Pictures, if Available...

    The final price...

    My payment method will be through Cashier's Check or Money Order, I wait your swift response in regard to this.

    ASC appears to be in Nigeria.

    Here's a scammer email that I was sent today. (12/18/10)
    How was your day,hope great?I'm steven roggers .I saw your posted for sale ,And am so much interested in purchasing it,i can only pay you with check So i will really appreciate if you can get back to me with the condition,location and your final asking price for it. Am awaiting your quick response so that we could proceed further.

    This was followed with:
    Thanks so much for your quick response, and i really appreciate hearing back from you, I'm okay with the price and the condition.I resides at 1351 Holmby Avenue. Los Angeles, California, (This is fictitious). But i will be leaving my home town state tomorrow to another home town state in Little Rock, Arkansas for a speculative purpose with my company board of directors,but never the less As per the payment i will have to instruct my Wife to send out a Bank Certified Check to you,via USPS courier service which will take only 1-2 days to get to you. course this is the only means of payment I can offer you now due to my present departing schedule off home, besides you don't need to worry about the shipping,I've my reputable shipping company that will be handling the pickup for me and they'll be coming over to your house for the pickup as soon as the deal is up. Kindly count it sold to me already and don't receive any other offer regarding the sale.
    They often say this. IGNORE.
    So to make payment out to you, you'll have to email me your details as follows:
    Name To Be Written On The check,
    Full Home Address(Including zip code)
    Cell Phone & Home Phone #,
    I look forward to your prompt response and thanks so much for your co-operation.
    Best wishes

    Here's a new scammer email that Brian sent me 9/17/09, Brian put an ad on Sailing Texas in Sept. 2009 and received this right away. Typical, with the mention of a "certified personal check", I've not heard of a "certified" personal check before! The "shipping company" is also a common scam. But look, you know every ad on Sailing Texas has the location and year of the boat, so why is this scammer Ryan asking for location and year? Because it is a form letter he is sending out over and over, that's why!

    Hello Seller,
    My Name is Ryan,I am using this medium to notify you of my interested in purchase your item you have posted on a sailingtexas classifieds Avrt.
    1)Is your item still for sale?
    2)Where are you located?
    3)may i know why you want to sell it?
    4)Has this item involved in any damage before?
    5)can i see more Pic?
    6)do i need to repair?
    7)what year is this item manufactured?
    8)what is the final price of the item?
    9)can you help me determine the weight?
    10)I will like to know if you do except a Certified Personal check as mode of payment?
    11) I have a freight company on my own will be available for them? Because the operate 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Mon-Saturday,so i will like you to get back me with your contact Name and Address,phone # to mail out the payment to.I will be glad to read from you soonest.
    Best Regards.

    There are many variations, and if you continue through these scam pages you should be immune.

    You can forward suspicious emails to the US Treasury at

    You can also report them to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, brought to you by the FBI.

    Other scams and less than honest folks:
    Page 2: Sell your Sailboat to Africa!
    Page 3: American based scams
    Page 4: Boat for sale scam
    Page 5: Room for Rent scam
    Page 6: Motorhome for sale scam
    Page 7: I've lost my wallet and need your loan!
    Page 8: Give me your PIN number, I already have your credit card number.
    Page 9: How to accept payment for your boat without getting scammed
    Page 10 Counterfeit checks

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