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Thread: Another scam or just odd?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Another scam or just odd?

    Listing a uke for sale has been quite an adventure!

    Just over a month ago I sold a uke that I had listed locally. One reply was a known/common scam attempt which I won't go into here but I did eventually sell the uke to a very nice lady after meeting in a safe public place. I closed the listing and I thought that would be it. The next day, a woman sent me a message saying she was interested in the uke I was selling and asked if she could stop by and take a look at it. The listing was obviously closed and marked sold because I had verified it the day before when I closed it. Before I had a chance to reply she sent a second message asking if maybe she could buy one of my other ukes. In the listing of the uke I sold I mentioned that I was selling it because I had reached my limit and that I was selling this uke to make room for another uke. I made no mention of what my other ukes were so she was offering to maybe buy a uke she knew nothing about! I replied to her message saying that the listed uke was already sold and that I was currently not selling any other ukes. I received no further reply and thought nothing more about it so I thought that was it.

    Now a month later, I got another message from this same woman. She asked that if she were to get herself a ukulele whether I could professionally tune it and teach her how to play it because she has been wanting to learn for some time. She said I seemed very well versed apparently drawing that conclusion from my listing. She also said of course that she would be willing to pay me.

    Is this some kind of set up for a scam or a really odd request to try and learn the ukulele? She knows nothing about me or my ability to play/teach yet she seems to already be offering her trust and money to me. The red flags are up and I'm suspicious yet at the same time if it is genuine request, albeit very awkward, I'd hate to not try and help out some way (even if just advice) if she was really trying to get into ukes. It's been 2-3 days and so far I've just ignored the message.
    Last edited by mikelz777; 06-11-2019 at 07:26 AM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom


    She may well be completely genuine, but I'd be cautious too. As someone who has been scammed before, I try to always be extra vigilant now. You ask some very good questions, why not ask her her reasons? You can always ask nicely (thank you very much, you're flattered etc but..."?)
    That might give you some more clues?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017


    I’m looking for an angle on this as a way that this could scam you - and anybody else - and can’t see one yet. Of course someone could just be looking for an opening to talk to you and then offer you some fantastic deal ..... On the other hand the responder could just be genuine and not know who to ask for help. How can you proceed as if the responder is genuine and yet still protect yourself?

    Maybe you have a couple of ways forward which a genuine person would follow and most tricksters wouldn’t. Tell them that you can’t help a raw beginner but point them in the direction of a couple of good books and a Uke group. If they still want help later then test them on what they should know from reading the books and their commitment to group playing. A positive result might give you confidence to help if that’s your inclination.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Southern California, USA


    It strikes me that it could be a kid. Maybe pre-teen or teenager. Or an adult with some learning disabilities, perhaps. I probably wouldn't meet with the person, but might encourage them to check out youtube.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Bay Area


    If she’s really serious have her send a video introducing herself and her Ukulele situation. That’s the least she could do if you are willing to help. You could always keep it online and still be a great help.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Marin County, CA


    I’ve been giving more people the benefit of the doubt in my normal day-to-day life, and the results have been consistently surprising, in the best possible way.

    I agree with others that caution is absolutely warranted whenever dealing with folks you don’t know over the internet, but it sounds like from your description, and as others speculate, someone just looking for help and not knowing where to turn for a live person who knows anything about ukuleles.

    As others said, there is no reason you couldn’t point them in the right direction for online resources (I imagine they’d appreciate the free videos first) without getting too personally involved or exchanging money. It allows you an out (“I’m not the best resource, but check this person’s YouTube channel out!”) if you’d rather not get more involved, gets any feeling of guilt for not replying to them off your conscience, and allows you to potentially help a new ukulele enthusiast to get started.

    Just my 2˘.
    Current UAS fallout:

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    Personally, I'm not a good source for lessons, maybe you are? I'd just direct her somewhere to help out. If you are able to help out, why not offer to meet in a public place and see what's up?
    Just Play

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Some people are like that - clinging and needing help. Obviously, you don't want to become a ukulele teacher, so I suggest you politely decline. I don't know what's available from ukulele stores in your area, but they generally don't carry many ukes. Depending on how involved you want to get, you might lead her toward a used uke from the Marketplace or suggest a reasonably-priced new one from a reputable dealer - Mim, for example. Make sure she's an adult, of course, before you do anything. I think we'd all be interested in hearing how this turns out.

    Are you part of a local uke group? That would be perfect.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA


    I am by nature a pretty trusting guy. I generally take people at their word and give them the benefit of the doubt until proven wrong.

    These contacts send up all kinds of red flags to me as well. They are too insistent too quickly. And she is trying very hard to maneuver into having a one-on-one meeting. I can think of several nefarious scenarios for doing that. From casing your house to a honey trap.

    I'd tell her that you are not a good teacher, but you might be able to refer her to a couple of instructors. That you do not have any ukes for sale, but can recommend a couple of good stores.

    If you belong to a uke club, invite her to come to a meeting.

    It may all be perfectly innocent. Extreme caution is warranted. Because this does not feel right.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    San Francisco Bay Area


    Mikelz777, you've already gotten a bunch of advice, but I'll just throw in one more piece -- in agreement with points raised by various other replies already. Personally, I wouldn't meet with her. If you're in a metro area where there are some music shops that provide lessons, you could give her the name of a couple of shops and suggest she contact them. And also suggest a few online sources, as others have already mentioned. After sending her this information, I wouldn't reply any further to anything else she asks (and it sounds like she will).

    Perhaps I'm more cautious than some. I sure wouldn't meet with her.
    Last edited by John boy; 06-11-2019 at 09:11 AM. Reason: misspelled name
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