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Accepting Payments. Which ways are safe, and which are not?


Cash is the safest. Once you have done the deal, go with the purchaser to a bank (any bank), have him withdraw the payment in cash in front of you, then use the bank to deposit the cash in your account in your bank.

If receiving a cheque, the 2-4-6 rule now makes this safer than it used to be. On the 7th day after the cheque has been banked it will be irrevocable.

If receiving a UK bank draft, it needs to be from a UK bank during banking hours so you can check it out. But all drafts and transfers can be recalled at any time after they have been received, even as many as 2 years after receipt, so they are not totally safe. The 2-4-6 rule does not apply to drafts and transfers.

You cannot 100% safely trust any draft or transfer from a foreign bank. Months, even years after it has been credited to your account it could be recalled.

Further information: www.ukpayments.org.uk/payment_options/


Helpful information from www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/section/cashback_fraud.htm

Key advice If you are involved in sales transactions:


1) Be particularly wary of any sale where:

The ‘buyer' appears to want to remain distant from you (such as not wishing to meet you or see the goods prior to purchase or by their using a third party as an intermediary or ‘shipping agent')
You receive a cheque or banker's draft in payment that is for more money than your asking price
At the time of receipt or later you receive a request to send all or some of this difference to the ‘buyer', a third party or a ‘shipping agent' by way of money transfer (irrespective of whether their cheque or banker's draft has already entered your account).

As it is most likely an attempt at FRAUD with you as the intended victim. This is because a stolen cheque or bankers draft can be recalled by the bank even after the funds have gone through the clearing cycle and are showing on your account. Any money transfered by you cannot be recalled once sent.

You will not be reimbursed by the bank for your loss

2) If you do become concerned during a sale:

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions of your ‘buyer'
  • Don't be hurried along by your ‘buyer' - This is often a tactic used by a fraudster to get you to make a mistake
  • Check the details of any payment received- Do they correspond with what you know of your ‘buyer'?. If payment is by way of a company cheque or banker's draft try to contact the company directly to verify its legitimacy
  • Talk to your bank – They will be able to give you guidance and clarify the status of any payments received
  • Ultimately, don't be afraid to turn down a suspect ‘buyer'

3) If you do lose money to this type of fraud report the matter to your local police

4) Help us by passing this method of fraud on to others to reduce its chance of success

There are many examples of attempts around motor vehicles due mainly to the value of these transactions creating room for ‘profit'.

For example;

  • Sale of a Porsche car - A man advertised his Porsche 911 cabriolet for sale for £37,990 in ‘Autotrader' and was contacted by a ‘buyer' purporting to be in Holland on E-mail. He was then asked to accept a UK banker's draft for £43,680 from a third party in the UK who owed money to the ‘buyer' and send the £5,690 difference by way of a money transfer to a ‘shipping agent' once the funds cleared.
  • Sale of a Mercedes car - A man advertised his wife's car in ‘Autotrader' and was contacted by a ‘buyer' purporting to be in Spain. He was asked to accept a bankers draft from a third party in the UK for £14,300, £4300 more than the asking price, on the understanding that once this cleared his account he would forward the difference by way of ‘money transfer' to a shipping agent.
  • Sale of a Motorcycle - A man advertised his motorcycle for sale last week in ‘Biketrader' for £3800. Within one week he had received three different approaches from ‘buyers' abroad offering to purchase it by banker's draft or UK cheque for a sum significantly above the asking price on the proviso that he transferred the difference via ‘money transfer' to a ‘shipping agent'.

Note: ‘Autotrader' and ‘Biketrader' now carry prevention advice to ‘sellers' on their websites following consultation with the MPS.


Money transfer fraud

  • Money transfer services are often the preferred method used by a variety of fraudsters in Online auction site frauds, 419 fraud, lottery fraud and criminal cashback.
  • Money transfer agents, which include Western Union provide a service for those who need to send money quickly and reliably to friends and family, and should not be used for money transfer to people that you do not know or whose identity you cannot verify.
  • Never pay for an item bought on an on line auction site through instant wire transfer service, whether it is suggested after making the winning bid or whether through another approach, such as second chance offer or offer the goods at a reduced price suggesting you step outside on the online auction site. There is little security in this, no matter what the seller says, and you are effectively sending your hard earned cash to a stranger ‘on trust’ alone.
  • Never send money via money transfer service if you have been in receipt of lottery fraud email, during which you are encouraged by the fraudster to send money in the form of advance fees to gain the release of the lottery funds, as genuine lotteries will never ask you for such funds to pay taxes or release fees. In fact genuine lotteries, such as the UK Big Lottery has no idea who has bought the winning ticket, so will never be able to contact you telling you about your ‘unclaimed’ prize money. Never send these people money by any method.
  • Never send money via money transfer service if you have been in receipt of a ‘419’ email offering you a cut of a large sum of money the if you help to release it from a bank account. If you respond, during the discussions with the fraudster you will be encouraged by them to send them money in the form of advance fees to gain the release of the funds mentioned in the email, usually a ridiculous figure mentioned that is in the millions. Never send these people money by any method.
  • Never send money via money transfer service if you have been in receipt of cheque payment from someone in a sum greater that that you are asking (known as criminal cashback) for the item you are selling or property you are renting. After the cheque has been paid into your account, the fraudster you will encouraging you to send to them or someone else the difference by money transfer or bank transfer. Never send these people money by any method. If the cheque is stolen or forged it often can take more than 3 days, sometimes considerable longer, before that cheque is identified as being stolen or forged. Not only have you already sent the funds by money transfer with no means of recovering it, you will find that you bank account will have the original debt reversed, leaving you with the loss of the funds withdrawn and sent via money transfer.
  • When money transfer services are being used in connection with fraudulently activity, whilst the person collecting the money has to produce identification, the documents produced by these fraudsters are often false, making the recovery of any money sent by this method extremely difficult.
  • Western Union recently joined forces with the Metropolitan Police Service to combat ‘high volume’ fraud
  • More at www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/money_transfer.htm



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