Category: Buying scam

The Buy Your Company Scam

Most scammers use email or text messages or adverts but some still use old fashioned letters.

The letter looks legitimate – from a business which actually does exist on the Companies House register. Plus, the letter is signed in the name of one of the directors of that company and matches the companies house records.

So, what is the scam?

The letter says Nathan is interested in buying my company and that he has been in this industry for over 10 years. The phrase ‘this industry’ is used repeatedly throughout the letter without ever saying what industry it is – so the letter is general purpose and has probably been sent to a long list of random businesses.

The letter does say he is keen on Marketing and that is give-away that most likely he is just looking for leads for companies where he can sell Marketing services.

He claims to have plans to buy more businesses this year.

Maybe that is true, but a letter with no reference to what my company actually does or even what industry it is in means the whole thing is suspect and to be avoided.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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The Damaged Package Scam

The basis of this is that a customer or non-customer claims you have sent them a package and it has been damaged in transit and they want a refund from you.

There are variations on this:-

  1. A genuine customer who normally pays but this time doesn’t want to pay the bill so falsely claims the package was damaged.
  2. Someone who regularly tries to get free items from many companies by buying expensive items then making the claim of damage in transit and demanding a full refund and to keep the items of course.
  3. Emails that very general in nature sent out randomly to spam email lists in the hope that someone will reply with money or a discount offer or a voucher without checking whether anything was ever purchased
  4. Scammers using the excuse of a supposedly damaged package to phish for email addresses and contact details.

If the message is from a genuine customer with a good track record of paying then you need further information and perhaps for someone to talk with the customer and ascertain the exact details.

If you receive this sort of email message and checks show the person is not a customer then simply delete the message and any follow-up messages.  Do not reply as this will get your email address added to their suckers list for sale to other scammers.

If you have a genuine customer but that always tries to get items for free by claiming problems – then your best bet may be to bar them from being a customer.

If the message is lacking any details of the product or date purchased, order number etc. then it’s a scam – just delete the message.

If you have any experienced this scam, do let me know, by email.

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Are House Lotteries Scams

Sometimes and perhaps due to an unusual location, unconventional build or architecture or just a downturn in the market, selling a house can be difficult.

So, why not auction the house or better still hold a lottery and the winner gets the house (as long as enough tickets have been sold)?

You might even make more money than through a direct sale.

This has been done on quite a few occasions – the lucky ticket holder gets a house for the price of a lottery ticket – maybe £2 or £10 or £250 or whatever and the seller gets rid of a difficult property and possibly gets a lot more money than through a normal sale.

BUT, of the times this has been tried, there have been unsatisfactory endings to the lottery and some people consider these to be scams.

Example 1. The East wing of a Grade II listed Manor in Lancashire was raffled by Dunstan Low who managed to sell all the 250,000 tickets at £2 each.  His reason for the lottery was to stop the bank grabbing the property and he was honest about that motivation.

Marie Segar, an office worker from Warrington won the house, having bought £40 worth of tickets, and subsequently sold it for £305,000.  This is how it is supposed to work.

Example 2. one-bedroom flat in Brixton was raffled in 2018 and the winner was due to be announced in June 2018 then the closure date was moved to November 2018 then it was moved again to 2019 to give the company “a bit more time to sell the 150,000 tickets required to cover the property and its associated costs”.

Perhaps this is reasonable but it’s pretty poor for the people already with tickets.

In some of these cases, when insufficient tickets are sold, a winner is chosen and gets a cash prize instead. Then the original owner still has the property and has likely made a lot of money.

If you do buy tickets in a house raffle, better read the small print to see what happens if insufficient tickets can be sold in time.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.

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Shopify Fake Websites

Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company. It is also the name of its e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.

Shopify is used by over 600,000 businesses worldwide and is very easy to use and cheap so anyone, including scammers, can quickly setup an online shop.

But Shopify is attractive to scammers. e.g. My Pillow, which makes pillows, sheets and mattresses noticed that an unidentified scammer had used Shopify tools to set up a copy of called, which claimed to sell My Pillow products. My Pillow sued Shopify, alleging it supported trademark infringement. Shopify took down the site, but My Pillow demanded damages plus any money Shopify made running the bogus store.

Shopify says it has a team focused on identifying and taking down sites like the fake pillow store.

It’s very simple for a criminal to set up a fake online shop using Shopify software. Designing a store and uploading products is a very quick process and the payments and order processing are all handled by Shopify.

The Triangulation Scheme (exposed by Paul Bjerke of LexisNexis Risk Solutions.)

Scammers use Shopify or a similar service to quickly create sites selling mainstream products such as vacuum cleaners, then the fraudsters use details from previously stolen credit cards to buy the item from a real retail website and have it shipped to shoppers’ homes. Later on, the card payment networks reject the stolen credit card transaction and the real retailer gets what’s known as a chargeback, leaving it with no money for the product it sold. But the scammer still has the original consumers’ money, Bjerke explained.

Shopify say that market forces will weed out merchants using unsavoury tactics but that doesn’t help good companies such as MyPillow from being exploited by the scammers.

Shopify claims it has increased the team focused on merchant misbehaviour and responds to clear cases of copyright and trademark infringement. The company has also modified its software to highlight possible fraud and help shoppers and brands flag improprieties.

But there is a better answer. Rival BigCommerce says it stops fraudsters from starting to use its service. New merchants must pay upfront and prove they have real inventory before they can start selling.

“On other platforms, you can sign up for a free trial and you’re ready to go without paying effectively,” says the company’s chief product officer, Jimmy Duval. “Our approach provides a natural barrier for fraudsters.”

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Crypto Currency Scams

Crypto Currencies are the new Internet currencies. They aren’t created by governments or banks but by new organisations seeking to develop (or benefit from) new possibilities in currency transactions and investments.

There are lots of these new currencies but the biggest and most famous by far is Bitcoin.


You can see that the value of Bitcoin started at near zero and reached over $2,000 in 2017.

The first ever Bitcoin transaction was the purchase of 2 pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins.

The price has always been extremely volatile and having reached an all-time high of over $20,000 it crashed to less than $4,000 by the end of 2018.

Scammers usually offer one of the following:-

  1. A guaranteed way to make money betting on the Bitcoin price
  2. Automated “scientific” methods for gambling on Bitcoins e.g. using artificial intelligence
  3. A way to invest in Bitcoin that guarantees you will make lots of money
  4. Bitcoin vending machines
  5. Fake Bitcoin accounts opened in your name

These deals are also offered for other crypto currencies but most people have only heard of Bitcoin so the scammers focus on that one. Plus, there are lots of stories of people who invested a little in Bitcoins and are now millionaires. Some of these are true but as with any form of gambling or investing – past results do not tell you what will happen in the future.

Anyone who invested in Bitcoin in early January 2018 had lost 85% of their money by that Christmas.

The scammers don’t care of course as they only care about themselves and how much money they can steal from people.

Most of the scams are entirely fake – there is no Bitcoin investment or anything else of value and the ones that do actually lead to investment in Bitcoins are usually so highly leveraged as to make it impossible for anyone to benefit except for the scammers.

If you want to invest or deal in Bitcoins or any other cyber currency – take professional advice and be aware that you could easily lose everything.

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Every so often, a new wonder product appears and suddenly there are huge volumes of emails advertising it, dozens of review sites extolling its virtues and there appears to be an unstoppable band-wagon in progress.

Occasionally these are valid products, but most times they are either complete scams or rubbish products dressed up.

The latest, suddenly everywhere product is ZDOROV cream (although it has been available for some time)

Floods of spam emails proclaim its the simple way to prevent ageing and get rid of wrinkles. A pretty picture in the advert does a good job on the Marketing and the price is marked as reduced from £130 to £39 or from 130 Euros down to £39 Euros.

However, the emails come from and and which are not what you would expect for a genuine pharmaceutical or cosmetic product. Plus the email addresses are rubbish such as imfivpd, obfyqip, ibhulpy, onyoplr etc.

There are numerous reviews on-line about ZDOROV but these seem to be written as sales pitches rather than an attempt at a genuine review.

The same product is sometimes advertised as a joint pain wax cream and sometimes as an arthritis cure.

Maybe the product works and maybe it doesn’t but always beware these magic new products as they tend to take a lot of money then disappear only to reappear in another guise some time later.

If you do wish to buy ZDOROV through a safe method – a local shop-or safe website. It used to be sold on Amazon but is out of stock indefinitely though it is still available on some health websites and on eBAY at about half the price of the email offers.

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