Scammed on Buy/Sell
/forum/topic/1177715/0

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TexasCurt
Registered: Apr 28, 2011
Total Posts: 166
Country: United States

I got scammed for the first time on Buy/Sell. I had posted a WTB for a Nikon 70-200 VR2. User "mesa3000" contacted me on Dec 14th that he one for sale. I sent him a PayPal gift payment for $1820. He was new to FM but I checked out his Facebook, LinkedIn, and blog and felt good about him. I didn't receive the lens, he won't respond to PM's or email, and I now see that his account is locked. Has anyone else been scammed by him? I feel so stupid because I know I screwed up by buying from a new member with no feedback. Does anyone know if I can contact his local police department and file a theft/fraud report?



lara_ckl
Registered: Jan 07, 2010
Total Posts: 454
Country: Canada

Nothing inherently wrong with buying from a new member with no feedback. Your real mistake was to use Paypal gift. That's a no-no pointed by Fred and countless others here.



corndog
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 4144
Country: United States

Find someone local to work him over.



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

so, did you use a credit card to send the gift payment? If so, contact your CC company and dispute the transaction as item not received or whatever language they have for that occurrence. Also, what's this guy's real name? Where does he live? I googled "mesa2000" and got this http://twitter.com/mesa2000 I don't have a clue if this is the "mesa2000" you apparently got screwed over by, but his name as listed there is Andy Zhang (and not the golfer, I'd presume).



TexasCurt
Registered: Apr 28, 2011
Total Posts: 166
Country: United States

His name is Ben Ahlquist. I used my PP business account. I was dumb but I'm still gonna do everything in my power to get my money back!



jcolwell
Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 21524
Country: Canada

Bummer. Good luck with getting this sorted out.



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

so would this be he?

http://www.facebook.com/benahlquist




corndog
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 4144
Country: United States

Did you ship the lens to Minnesota?



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

If that's the guy, and you have his address to confirm it, you can certainly contact local law enforcement who will likely tell you "tough shite, buddy." Or, you could contact the State AG's office, from whom you are not likely to get much assistance either. Do you have an exact address for this guy? If so, have you checked out airfares?



TexasCurt
Registered: Apr 28, 2011
Total Posts: 166
Country: United States

I bought the lens... Didn't sell. Yes, that's him. Believe me, I have considered flying there and saying hi. I am just worried that someone may have stolen his identity.



corndog
Registered: Sep 05, 2006
Total Posts: 4144
Country: United States

Call him! http://whois.net/whois/benahlquist.com



Fred Miranda
Registered: Dec 31, 2001
Total Posts: 17986
Country: United States

I'm deeply sorry this has happened to you TexasCurt.
There were so many red flags...But I have seen PMs from these crooks and they can be very persuadable.
Paypal gift is a dangerous away to make payment to an unknown member. I know we are all trying to save money and get the best deal, but I always remind members to avoid gift payments at all costs. Think of regular Paypal as an insurance. If anything goes wrong, you can start a dispute and mostly likely get your money back.
I remember immediately banning this member more than a week ago after a suspicious PM was brought to my attention.
If there is anything I can do, please PM me.
Fred



BenV
Registered: Jan 01, 2008
Total Posts: 8158
Country: United States

ouch! almost $2,000 via paypal gift? I feel bad for you, but with no feedback and being a new member, you should have thought that though a little more sorry for your loss, hopefully you paid via credit card to file a dispute.



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

Curt,

If I remember right, there is a fellow FM member a month or so ago, perhaps a bit longer, who had a similar experience to yours. He contacted PP, even though he paid by gift payment, and they were helpful in a arriving at a positive resolution to his case. I hope you have contacted PP to see what they might do for you.

FWIW, I'm not a lawyer anywhere at all, so this is not legal advice: it is not your job to conclude that "Ben" had his account stolen/hijacked or compromised. That's the job of Law Enforcement. Most jurisdictions require that any charge against an individual be filed in the jurisdiction in which that individual resides. That would require that you do a search on the county government of "Ben's" place of residence to determine who the DA is for that jurisdiction.

Having done that, you would then call that DA's office, or the sub-section of it that deals with internet crime, because ripping you off of 1820$ via the internet likely serves as the basis for probable cause of the occurrence of an internet crime. Ask the individual with whom you talk about the procedure for preferring charges; be prepared for flying there. Have with you whatever PP documentation you have detailing the transaction and gather as much of it as you can to present to the DA's office contact person upon your arrival. After that follow their instructions about what to do next. If you are able to get them to do that in the presence of your having screwed up by using a "gift payment" you'll be at least one step closer to a positive resolution for yourself.

Oh, you might want to inform "Ben" in the interim, via email with a "copy to" the DA's representative, that you are scheduled to fly to his community to prefer charges against him/her. Don't do anything that threatens this guy/gal, just state the facts and proceed.

Again, I'm not a lawyer - you may well want to contact one. Speaking for myself, the outline I gave you is precisely what I would do, and I'd spend another $1820 to get a positive resolution to it if I had to.

HTH, tony



TexasCurt
Registered: Apr 28, 2011
Total Posts: 166
Country: United States

Thanks all. I appreciate the ideas and advice.



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

Curt,

keep us posted, sir.



blubdog
Registered: Jun 02, 2010
Total Posts: 9
Country: United States

I'm not a lawyer or involved in law informent either (but I watch lots of cop shows on TV!)

It seems to me that since this crosses state lines, a call to the FBI might be worth a try. This one crime may not be big enough for them to bother with, but maybe this guy has done similar deeds on other sites and he's already caught the FBI's interest. At least it might be worth reporting.

I wish you luck resolving this!



anthonysemone
Registered: Mar 08, 2008
Total Posts: 4616
Country: United States

blubdog wrote:
I'm not a lawyer or involved in law informent either (but I watch lots of cop shows on TV!)

It seems to me that since this crosses state lines, a call to the FBI might be worth a try. This one crime may not be big enough for them to bother with, but maybe this guy has done similar deeds on other sites and he's already caught the FBI's interest. At least it might be worth reporting.

I wish you luck resolving this!


+1



Sarsfield
Registered: Nov 29, 2004
Total Posts: 1639
Country: United States

I have not used this organization but it is a consolidated group of law enforcement (FBI and NWCCC) and they may be able to help you:

http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

It's worth a try.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

Does this look familiar or is this a different thing:


PronkPhotos wrote:
My account was recently banned from here for reasons I'm not cognizant of. If I received a warning via PM (I have an unread PM I cannot access), then I haven't the slightest! I made this account in order to PM an administrator or someone capable of assisting me.

I have attempted contacting Fred Miranda via fred@fredmiranda.com and PM'ing the Fred Miranda account; however, I have yet to receive any kind of response, so I'm curious if I'm even attempting to contact the right person! For reference, I attempted contact on 11/28, 12/02, and 12/23.

Does anyone know if I am contacting the right person? If not, who should I contact? I would love to continue using the site, but as I was just starting to build positive reputation, I would hate to have to start over, and given that I don't know why I was banned initially, I am further hesitant in case I unwittingly make the same mistake. Anyway, thanks for your help, anyone who replies!




P.S.
If anyone might have an idea as to why I was banned, I would love to hear it. My account history is that I registered back in mid February 2012. I purchased three items (netting two reviews, both positive) within about three months. The account sat fairly dormant, and then I purchased two items in late November. One item was shipped and received successfully, but I was banned prior to its arrival in which to leave/receive feedback. The second item was refunded by the seller when he noticed that the lens was suffering an AF problem and did not wish to sell a faulty product (again, this happened shortly after I was banned).

Around the same time, I purchased a Buy/Sell membership and posted a thread with some items I was looking at selling (camera body + two lenses)... when I checked back, I was banned! I'm not sure if someone thought I was a scammer or something similar. I know that I made a mistake in reference to the battery grip (calling it a BG-E11 instead of BG-E7), but I can't imagine that would flag an account for termination. The sale thread I posted seems to have been deleted, so my best guess is that it had something to do with that.


http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1177930



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