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Not sure about this one

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Emiliano Achaval, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I got an email thru my website. A guy wanted to know about some of my work, and prices. I answered him. He emailed me back and agreed to wait till I finish the piece, a calabash, watch a short video and pictures of it, he can then approve it, or tell me he doesn't like it. He tells me he lives in Mumbai, India. But, he has a "temporary" US address, I can ship there, and he can pay me thru PayPal. What do you guys think? Scam or not?
     
  2. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    I imagine PayPal’s site has a section on avoiding scams. I know Craigslist does. I’d check that out, and, if it sounds reasonably safe, be inclined to tell the guy you’d wait for the funds to be guaranteed by PayPal as un-stoppable, then go ahead. But I could be wrong...
     
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  3. Doug Rasmussen

    Doug Rasmussen

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    Tell your customer you no longer accept PayPal. My guess is he will no longer be interested.

    Accept payment the old fashion way. He sends a check, you don't ship until your bank tells you the check has cleared.
     
  4. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    If the check is not drawn on a US bank it can take a month before itcs truly cleared. There is such a thing as a wire transfer. I don't know a lot about it, but apparently that is how real estate transactions are being handled around here these days.

    Emiliano, If it were me, I'd do some research with PayPal and I'd drop by my bank to discuss my options for accepting and verifying remote payments.
     
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  5. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    A wire transfer requires the buyer to know nearly everything about your bank account except for the passwords. My bank didn't want to use that to disperse the cash from my Mom's estate.
     
  6. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I had one some thing like that a few years back. The guy called a couple of times, and wouldn't answer some questions that I asked, like what is your business name, and what and where do you sell, so I said no. I don't take pay pal. I had some issues with them years ago, and they were no help at all in resolving the issues.

    robo hippy
     
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  7. Forrest Forschmiedt

    Forrest Forschmiedt

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    I am always suspicious of "special circumstances" for any online or non in person sales.
    The buyer may well be legit but do a bit of checking and use common sense every step along the way.
    The "temporary" address screams chargeback to me.
    PayPal payment safeguards are largely subject to the payment source. If it is a credit card payment, there is typically a 90-day window for chargebacks or disputes. If it is a hacked account the owner may not notice for some time. I ignore my PayPal account and leave small balances in there for months at a time.
    Google and google street-view the address before shipping.
    Where is the temporary address? Can you find a gallery or dealer that would be willing to more safely do an in-person sale for you?
    If it is a freight forwarder or mailbox company? A company I was working for that sold performance car parts got scammed. The buyers used stolen domestic cards and shipped to a domestic address that happened to be an international freight forwarder in Florida. Our parts guys shipped several orders there before we started getting chargebacks. We reported it to the police and FBI. Never saw any follow-up. We changed our CC policy to only ship to verified addresses linked to the payment account after that.
    As far as asking for a check instead, that seems more problematic to me. A bad check, particularly a bad foreign check, can take weeks before it backfires on the seller, you lose your money and the merchandise is long gone.
    Wire transfers - Some years ago I was liquidating some surplus networking equipment, I had a sale for ~$20k and the buyer wanted to pay via wire transfer. I talked to my bank and expressed my concerns. They had a holding account that they used for such circumstances and we used that account instead of exposing our business account number to the buyer.
    Having said all that, I'm not sure what the goal of the scam here is, if it is a scam. Unless it turns into a cash-back scam, in which case, you have your answer.
    Scammers typically are not interested in the merchandise in a transaction, only getting cash out of the deal. The exception would be electronics or maybe car parts, which are easy to flip. A piece of art such as on of your bowls is likely not easy to turn for quick cash.

    PayPal scam examples: https://multichannelmerchant.com/blog/5-paypal-chargeback-scams-prevent/
     
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  8. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    Sounds fishy - if you have to ask, you know the right answer.

    I sold a collector car to someone in KY and I insisted on cash (no money orders, checks, even a wire) even after doing an extensive online research about the guy - a young doctor! He gave me a grocery bag of $100s, which I sheepishly took to my bank feeling like I had to 'overexplain' the situation.

    Move on to another buyer.
     
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  9. Doug Rasmussen

    Doug Rasmussen

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    As to getting a check and waiting for it to clear..... if the guy is living in the US hard to imagine he wouldn't have a local bank account. Anyway, so what if it takes a foreign check a month to clear?

    PayPal...., a family member got screwed royally by PayPal's policies. PayPal looks after buyers more than sellers. I'm seeing an increasing number of sellers on Craigslist refusing to do PayPal.
     
  10. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you everyone. We are all suspicious of this. I just can’t figure it out what kind of scam he can run with PayPal. My work is decent, but there are so much better artists than me, LOL and with pieces way more expensive. I will do some more research, I will start with my bank lady. Aloha to all
     
  11. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    Lots of talk about not using PayPal and being wary of a bank draft or wiring money (I don't blame you). How about a service like Zelle? I've used it a couple of times to pay my landscaper. You just need a username and or email address to identity the person on the app and the money goes through pretty quick. I'm not sure what percentage of a cut Zelle takes but it's probably similar to PayPal. My bank even has a Zelle option on their website so your bank may have the same thing. You can use a app like Zelle and once the money goes through you could mail the piece.
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey, Emiliano, that's the spammer that I banned the other day and he's just trying to stick it to us. :D Seriously, listen to those alarm bells that are going off in your head. I can even hear them all the way to Texas which is more than a days drive from Maui.
     
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  13. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    The scam is if you send the item to a different address than the sender, the person in India can claim he didn’t receive it and then PayPal refunds his money. You can’t send anything to a so called friend or anything. It must be sent to the address on the PayPal users account. You would have got the money. Sent item to that us address then he reports to PayPal, he has 6 months to do so, that he did not receive it. The address you sent it too does not match the address on his PayPal account. That’s why the temporary us address! PayPal automatically refunds him months later and dings you,
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  14. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    When in doubt, follow your gut feeling. Emiliano, your work is beautiful enough that you don't need to take chances on a questionable sale. Especially on a piece that isn't even finished yet. I haven't even seen the piece you're selling but I know you'll find an honest buyer.
     
  15. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok, now I see it. Geez, the lengths people go to make a few hundred dollars. Thank you Glenn. Learn something every day!!
     
  16. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    You are right, my gut feeling told this smells bad. And it does. Thank you for your nice comment. Aloha
     
  17. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I just told the guy I could not ship to the USA. Told him about the PayPal shipping policy. No problem, he said, ship to my PayPal address. And he gives me his India address. He might be for real.
     
  18. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    You should take this has a huge complement. You have to be a famous woodturner to get targeted by this scam! I could only hope someone would try this on me! And from India ta boot! You are known everywhere!
     
  19. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    @Emiliano Achaval , did you ever discuss this with your bank? There must be ways to move money internationally that are safe. I would think that in Hawaii the question of overseas money transfers comes up pretty often.
     
  20. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    A US postal money order is about as scam-proof a payment option as I know of, short of cold hard cash. They are a pain because you probably have to deposit it in person at a bank, the electronic options don't work with them.
     
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  21. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    I wouldn't trust any form of payment that is on paper - too easy to fake.

    Like others have said, Emiliano's work is the finest and there will be other customers for it. I also assume he doesn't have a shipping department staff of twelve people at his disposal to chase down bad money, "missing/damaged shipments" and any other forms of fraud, so why bother!!?? Not to mention shipping from Hawaii to India during COVID - ugghhh! It takes 3 plus weeks just to ship a package from MI to Windsor Canada which is 40+ miles away!!

    Just my $0.02. Stay safe everyone!
     
  22. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I use money transfers often. There is a $35 fee inside the US. To other countries, there is yet another fee. But you are right, I should mention this option to my Indian customer. I'm always a bit apprehensive about giving my account number. Looks like there is no foolproof or con man proof way of selling something. @Roger Wiegand I sent money orders to Argentina, many years ago. The postal employees cashed them!!! I did a tracer from here, they told me that my mom cashed them, they show me a picture of someone else's signature.
     
  23. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    Like cash, MO's are very safe for the person who receives them, not so much for the person sending.

    If it happens often I'd consider setting up a separate bank account to receive wire transfers; don't leave any money in it so it doesn't matter if it gets compromised, and have the buyer pay any fees. I've used wire transfers a lot with folks in Europe, where they are much more the norm for individuals and small businesses than in the US, also for most every large business transaction I ever had a hand in (pushing the send button on a $35M transfer does elevate the heart rate, even when it's not your money). There are scams reported a lot in the last couple years where email accounts are hacked and the CFO follows the instructions of the (faked) CEO to send off some large amount of money into the ether, but you shouldn't have that problem! My stock brokerage account lets me send wire transfers for free (at the interbank currency exchange rates for international); the bank rates are absurd for shuffling a few electrons for both wire transfers and currency conversion.
     
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  24. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Emiliano, do you have a gallery that handles international transactions or do they only sell to tourists that walk into the physical store?
     
  25. stu senator

    stu senator

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    Don't know much about it and have not used it but there is always Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. I understand once it's sent it can not be reversed.

    Also the benefit is there is no official record. I am not an expert on this type of transaction and those who do them may not want to comment but in a situation where there is no trust it may be a solution.

    Just a thought,
    Stu
     
  26. Forrest Forschmiedt

    Forrest Forschmiedt

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    Postal money orders are just as prone to fraud as any other type of check. Fake money orders and bank checks are not rare beasts.

    Personal checks, business checks, bank counter checks, bank money orders, postal money orders, Western Union, MoneyGram, and so on.
    They all have their own kinds of scams, just like payments cards.

    Fortunately, most of them can be detected or avoided with a bit of common sense and due diligence. Most scammers are looking for the easy mark and won't go to great lengths to push a scam. There are exceptions, of course, and the bigger the buck, the harder the push.

    PayPal is not the devil. If you use their safeguards, combined with the aforementioned common sense and due diligence, they are a relatively safe way to do non-in-person payments. They are no worse than any payment card processor. As the first peer-to-peer e-payment company, they are simply the first exposure most consumers have to the payment card industry. As any business accepting any volume of card payments knows, the seller always loses in the case of fraud or chargeback. PayPal is subject to the same buyer-biased rules and regulations that have cost businesses money for decades. Chargebacks simply fall in with theft as a generally accepted cost of doing business for many.

    In a couple decades of bookkeeping for businesses that depend on non-in-person payments, I've seen plenty of different scams. I've gotten bitten by a few and avoided many.

    Emiliano is doing the right thing to question an unusual situation. The problem is that, the more you question and the more secure you try to be, the more legitimate sales you lose.
     
  27. Forrest Forschmiedt

    Forrest Forschmiedt

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    See if you can Google street view his India address. Always fun to do a bit of e-stalking.
     
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  28. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I never thought about that! Great Suggestion!! I feel guilty about mistrusting everybody, but I guess it is what the world had become. Thank you!
     
  29. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    I have done a few transactions buying items from small businessmen in India. Paypal has worked fine. They tell me the items will be shipped within 48 hours after paypal confirms it received payment from me. There are still some pay pal "rescission" head aches that could come up, but I have never had one. As a buyer, Just don't get suckered into paying with out commission, "ie sending to a friend" because then the protections do not apply.. I purchased a spinning lathe from a lady and she wanted me to send the funds as a payment to a friend so she wouldn't have to pay paypal a commission, I became a little leery and then I offered to add the commission to the sale price so there was nothing out of her pocket. She was fine with that. the lathe was delivered the very next day.

    Just in case he switches to shipping over seas, Shipping over seas like that, I would be more leery of safe packing and India import customs. You don't want your package held up in customs and have the guy claim no delivery. Make sure he understands all customs duties, and import problems are on him and make sure that is in writing with his consent. In addition, India post may have some strange packaging requirements. The packages I received from India were always in sewn muslin coverings, with old fashioned sealing wax seals on the ends. An export declaration certifying contents was attached to the out side of the package.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020

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