How did you know it was a scam?

Joyful Uke

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To help me, (and maybe others - though you all are probably a lot smarter than me):
How did you know that the Collings listing was a scam?

Once someone had contact with the "seller", I guess it became clear, but there were apparently red flags prior to that, which I don't see. Any helpful hints?
Fortunately, I am not in the market to buy right now, so I was saved from even contacting the person.
 
To help me, (and maybe others - though you all are probably a lot smarter than me):
How did you know that the Collings listing was a scam?

Once someone had contact with the "seller", I guess it became clear, but there were apparently red flags prior to that, which I don't see. Any helpful hints?
Fortunately, I am not in the market to buy right now, so I was saved from even contacting the person.
First tell for me was the price. WAY WAY WAY out of line with the market. I just sold a UC-1 here on UUF for $1395, and I got more people reaching out to me about it at THAT price than any other ukulele I've listed here (and there have been many...) -- I even had someone offer more than asking price when I told them I'd already agreed to sell it to somebody else (I refused that offer)... combine that with (initially) no photo with the seller's name and date next to the Collings, and it smelled REALLY suspicious.
 
Brand new member.
Which is not necessarily an instant red flag, or at least I would ask people to not immediately assume a brand new member is attempting a fraudulent sale. That said, it certainly was one of the red flags in this scenario. Also, there was a two year old listing for this instrument on another site, and apparently the photos looked copied: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/threads/collings-uc1-concert-ukulele.159127/post-2415069

I think it's just that alarm bells went off in people's minds and they started doing some more serious digging. Patty was definitely champion of getting on top of this one real quick at minimum with the hostage photo request, and then continued her suspicions and dug deeper.
 
1. New member who had registered that very day, apparently for the specific purpose of selling. No ID photo provided.

2. The price was outrageous, so he knew little or nothing about ukuleles of this caliber.

3. The information was inadequate. Nothing about the significant features of the uke, its provenance, its date, why he was selling, etc. He obviously was not a ukulele person.

4. The wording was suspicious. It did not sound like (a) idiomatic
English, or (b) the kind of language a ukulele aficionado uses to talk to other ukulele aficionados. So I plugged it into google, about 30 words of it, and the same listing with identical pictures came up on another site, in the UK, 2 years ago.

5. Finally, as Clark (@Oldscruggsfan), noticed, the requested ID photo with his name & date had been photoshopped on top of one of the old photos.

6. Something else you can do is copy one of the seller’s pictures and do a Google image search to see if it’s been posted anywhere else on the internet. That would have been the next step, but the guy folded first.
 
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Which is not necessarily an instant red flag, or at least I would ask people to not immediately assume a brand new member is attempting a fraudulent sale. That said, it certainly was one of the red flags in this scenario. Also, there was a two year old listing for this instrument on another site, and apparently the photos looked copied: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/threads/collings-uc1-concert-ukulele.159127/post-2415069

I think it's just that alarm bells went off in people's minds and they started doing some more serious digging. Patty was definitely champion of getting on top of this one real quick at minimum with the hostage photo request, and then continued her suspicions and dug deeper.
Patty was all over it. If she hadn't uncovered that 2 year-old listing, his "hostage photo" might have actually worked...
 
Patty was all over it. If she hadn't uncovered that 2 year-old listing, his "hostage photo" might have actually worked...
And all of this happened so fast I didn't even know about it until it was effectively edited to get rid of everything but that "hostage" photo.

So, thank you Team UU, for looking out for each other, and helping to keep us on the straight and narrow! You are all amazing and wonderful.
 
I was upset. I would like a REAL Collings ukulele (who wouldn’t?), and this jerk was pulling my chain.
I am grateful for your UAS and for your caution, combined. I'm glad that there were enough ??? involved to cause you to find more out, and thanks for detailing your steps.
 
sorry, just woken up here in OZ so late to the party,
but everything about that post was dodgy.

* first, the price. "it's the economy, stupid!"

* 2nd, dodgy spelling and lack of detail; the whole way it was worded, mis-spellings
and the indefinite way the original cost was written as being between 1300 and 1500. lol...wtf?
zero info provided about the instrument itself, condition etc then his final photo, apparently to
appease us was out of synch w/ his claiming to be from Ohio yet writing the date like i would
in Australia.

anyway, from that initial listing i emailed him, asking for a current photo
w/ todays date and his name, taken w/ the instrument. i also explained to him i was in
Australia and the easiest way to handle shipping in lieu of that, given my 20+ years of experience
buying and selling w/ folks in the US, provided he was willing
to ship overseas. i went so far as to ask him his paypal address and that i was ready to make
immediate payment. his reply:

* the briefest reply from a seller i have ever received. no questions at all to me, no further
queries about issues re shipping to Australia (which i always get). all he said was: "i'm fine
w/ that" and proceeded - after a lengthy delay - to send me an invoice,
by which time i had long since bailed out

lastly, i would like to echo Amie's lovely words above.
this place is such an awesome community, great folks who, for the most part look out for and
encourage one another and i am grateful to be a part of it. as i wrote in that for sale thread,
i was still tempted even though i saw straight up the red flags. Patty's post showing the old listing
stopped me in my tracks like a bucket of ice water being tipped on me.
Patty for gold, ook for silver, kernel for bronze.
mountain goat hobbling over the finish line red faced and last lol.

love you folks!

💚 :) 🌻
 
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Patty finding the old listing that this was copied from was impressive. That of course was the best "evidence."

But otherwise, it could have been someone who isn't that knowledgeable. English isn't the first language for a lot of people, and that can also create some odd wording. So that alone might not signify a problem.

I didn't realize that price was out of line for a Collings UC1. I don't remember seeing anything reflecting how old the ukulele was supposed to be, but recall (perhaps incorrectly) that a UC1 sold for $1,100 or 1,200 or so back when they were first for sale. So if someone had bought one at that price and was selling it for $900 now, that didn't trigger a warning for me.

Good thing I'm not in the market right now, or I might have been fooled.

If my loved ones ever get stuck selling off my ukuleles, they'll know nothing about them. I do keep records of what I paid, when I bought it, serial numbers and so on, but they'd have to find that information. I suspect the ukuleles could end up at Goodwill or in the trash. That's a horrible thought. I guess I'd better live forever so I can keep playing them. :)

And I'd better be careful if I find something on line, since I fear I could be fooled.
Thanks to those who were able to notice the fraud and alert us all.
 
If my loved ones ever get stuck selling off my ukuleles, they'll know nothing about them. I do keep records of what I paid, when I bought it, serial numbers and so on, but they'd have to find that information. I suspect the ukuleles could end up at Goodwill or in the trash. That's a horrible thought. I guess I'd better live forever so I can keep playing them. :)
I've had the thought of putting a slip of paper or something inside my guitar/uke cases with the price I paid for them on it or a suggested sell price. Or even just a note saying, "this is expensive, google it before trying to sell". Although my friend who stands to inherit everything if I croak knows that I spend too much money on instruments...
 
For the record, it wasn’t me who picked up on the seller’s photoshopping, and I congratulate the person who did so.

Other than that one factor, Patty recognized the attempted scam (fraud) right out of the gate. Bravo! Nothing dinky about her polite but firm posts to a bad actor posing as a New Member.

In my opinion, this situation confirms the prudence behind the guideline that many fondly refer to as a “hostage photo”.
 
I saw another suspicious ad in the marketplace recently, and I see that none of us have responded to the seller. I think most of us have pretty good scam radar. If someone is selling a high end ukulele in "excellent condition" for half of its worth with little to no background info......alarms are going off in my head.
Great detective work Patty.
 
Did anyone else get intrigued by a 5string Barron River Concert on Flea Market last week? It was also priced insanely low and the pictures didn't work on the FMM website.

I emailed for drool purposes (and UAS battle strength test) and got very brief replies.

⛳When I asked for pics, they were exactly the same as a Reverb listing from 4yrs ago.

⛳A new note... their email address was phishy. They used "k9852@protonmail.com." So not only a weird name, but a weird domain. I looked up protonmail and it's a fully encrypted email service. According to some reddit threads, scammers use this to help protect themselves.

Scammers are only gonna get smarter, so I'm glad there are threads like this to help us protect each other!!
 
I get it that scammers are gonna scam, and with the advent of the internet it's only made it easier for them to stick their slimy tendrils into everything...but trying to scam the ukulele community just seems so niche. Especially since people don't tend to equate high-end, expensive instruments with ukuleles...at least I know I didn't before I joined the community.
 
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