There is a guy out there 'selling' high end bows who is apparently quite a con artist. This scammer could very well be selling any variety of items, but seems to be somewhat knowledgeable about hunting equipment in general, so be careful about anything you are purchasing because as far as I know, this guy is still out there. I have read other reviews that talk about a very similar scam operation that may be the same guy.
I recently purchased a Mathews Switchback bow on eBay. One of the bows that was listed was from a guy who said he was from Michigan. There is no way to identify him because according to eBay he can switch identities almost daily. The photos were great, it was a used Switchback with case, arrows and accessories. The listing was done using eBay's standard format, but the wording and description were fantastic.
The offer was if you want the bow before the listing ends, send him an email and he will end the auction and sell it to you through eBay. His listing said he would accept several payment options, one of which was PayPal.
I sent off an email to him telling him I wanted the bow, he responded with wiring instructions to a Western Union account in his name. The email included very realistic fraud protection information, as well as a nicely written guarantee by Western Union that they hold the funds until I receive the bow, and release the funds once I approved my purchase.
I became suspicious because the funds were to be wired to Romania (not Michigan) and requested that he give me a phone number and also gave him my cell number. He responded by telling me he does not have a phone and then told me he was 36 years old and was a salesman for 12 years. He would not risk his reputation over a $700 sale.
I responded that I would like to pay through PayPal and through eBay. His response was that his PayPal account is frozen for 4 weeks and the only way I could pay him was through Western Union.
I forwarded all of the emails to eBay who responded almost immediately by telling me it was a spoof email and do not deal with the guy. This is the fifth time in 6 months where I almost fell for one of these guys - there are a lot of them out there!
My advice...keep all of your transactions through eBay and use their service to report suspicious correspondence! NEVER give out any of YOUR account information that you could not normally find about someone ELSE on eBay
NOTE! As of 10-14-06 this guy is STILL out there!!!
Added 10-30-06...Thanks to you all for numerous emails and messages! I'm getting too many to respond to each one! This guy is apparently still very active!
Added 11-3-06...Sounds like this same guy is also running this scam using Burris scope optics, a higher end, more expensive scope. I still believe you are safe if you stick to eBay and PayPal, he is still trying to get people to pay through Western Union. What a creep!
Added 11-14-06 Received several emails from you saying this scammer is still up and running. C'mon ebay, shut him down!!!!!!!!!
Added 12-13-06 Apparently this guy is now 'selling' ice fishing augers
Added 2-17-07 Have not heard anything about this dude, I'll leave this posted though I guess. Another person could do the same thing if people are not informed
Added 4-12-07 I just received an email from a guy who informs me that this scammer is still active - I guess ebay didn't find him yet. He is using the email address 'email@example.com' (although I'm sure he has many more addresses!!!!)
Added 6-7-07 This guy is still out there - he is 'selling' Hoyt bows as well as Mathews Switchbacks again. I received an email from a guy who tells me he is using firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. I cannot figure out why ebay can't stop him!
Added 6-30-07 I received a message this morning that this guy may be selling motorcycles. The guy that sent me the message lost $4,600 to a guy from Romania! Ouch!
Added 10-14-07 He is back on the Mathews bows - beware of 1 day or 3 day listings!!!!! A couple of emails that were forwarded to me... firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Added 12-31-07 I received many many emails from people who have dealt with this person or others exactly like him. Short term listing, as soon as you contact him, he removes the listing and is gone - except for the email correspondence with the 'customer'. A few more email addresses that were forwarded to me... firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Keep it on ebay, and you are safe!
Added 04-19-08 Wow - this guy or someone runnning a similar scam is still doing this with Mathews Bows - just received an email from another guy who was taken. Either it is the same guy or there is some correlation between Romania and Western Union accounts because Romania keeps coming up.
Added 5-1-08 - Somehow this guide got bumped after being on ebay since September of '06, so I have recreated it. The original one had over 105,000 views and 3200 votes, making it a top guide to anyone who browsed bows on ebay. The only way to get this Romanian scam and others like it exposed, is to get this guide back to the top! Your votes will help!
4-7-09 I have stopped putting the spoof email address up on this guide, I am simply receiving too many new ones to post. Would be nice if ebay took the initiative here.