We've got an item listed for sale at the moment on Amazon (a Samsung R128 DVD recorder, if you're interested). I received an e-mail through yesterday asking a fairly dozy question:
Hello Seller, i will like to purchase your item and i will like to pay you through amazon. co. uk and give me the link of the item and the picture of the item so that i can make the payment for you ontime mail me back asap
The alarm bells were already ringing by this stage, because it's clear that this idiot can't see the link with the 'buy this now' on the page that the item is being sold. Anyway, I pointed out in a return e-mail that they should buy it on Amazon, and the next day got a suspiciousl looking e-mail similar to the Amazon payments one (with, of course, a delivery address in Nigeria). Now I'm not stupid, and I know that the purchase is only available in the UK, but the e-mail was pretty professional looking. There were a few inconsistencies, but the clue is in the header that the e-mail came from:
X-Apparently-To: firstname.lastname@example.org via 22.214.171.124; Thu, 11 May 2006 03:29:03 -0700 X-Originating-IP: [126.96.36.199] Return-Path:
Authentication-Results: mta341.mail.re4.yahoo.com from=amazon.co.uk; domainkeys=neutral (no sig) Received: from 188.8.131.52 (EHLO www.madcoffee.com) (184.108.40.206) by mta341.mail.re4.yahoo.com with SMTP; Thu, 11 May 2006 03:29:03 -0700 Received: from 220.127.116.11 (Madcoffee.com Type-and-Mail); by www.madcoffee.com with HTTP; Thu, 11 May 2006 11:28:53 +0100 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Payment-Message" Add to Address Book To: email@example.com Subject: Sold, dispatch now. Samsung DVD Recorder DVD-R128/XEU Silver [Electronics] Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:28:53 +0100 MIME-Version: 1.0 X-Mailer: Madcoffee.com Type-and-Mail Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed Content-Length: 1371 Dear firstname.lastname@example.org Your Amazon.co.uk Marketplace sale has been confirmed. We've deposited your earnings from the sale of this item into our Payments account, but it's yet to be transfered into your amazon account.This includes a postage credit of £50.00. If you haven't already provided us with your bank account information, please do so at your earliest convenience; we cannot transfer funds to you until you provide your bank account details. Please dispatch item immediately. 1 of Samsung DVD Recorder DVD-R128/XEU Silver [Electronics] You have agreed to dispatch no later than two working days after the buyer's purchase on 11.05.2006. In the unfortunate case that you cannot provide the item that you have sold, you should issue a full refund through your Payments account:http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/subst/your-account/seller-account-payments.html Your buyer's delivery address is below (please use your own address as the return address and enclose the packing slip for your buyer's reference): Note: You'll have to ship the item and send us the tracking reference number of the shippment before we send your money into your account. Also item will be ended up once this is done. Get back to us on :cus-o4-ser :(email@example.com). Here are the details of your completed Amazon Marketplace sale: Order #: 026-0837122-3332406 Listings: 1 Total Item Count: 2 Listing 1: Samsung DVD Recorder DVD-R128/XEU Silver [Electronics] http://s1.amazon.co.uk/exec/varzea/ts/exchange-glance/Y01Y6678464Y7937498/026-0837122-3332406 Listing ID: 0506J499114 SKU: Quantity: 1 Buyer's Price: £120.00 Postage & Handling: £50.00 Total Amount: (£170.00) ---------- Less Amazon.co.uk Marketplace Fees: (£7.76) Less VAT on Amazon.co.uk Marketplace: (£1.17) Total Due Seller: £160.05 For general questions about Amazon.co.uk Marketplace, you will find more information here:http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/3149141/ Amazon.co.uk Marketplace -- Amazon Services Europe S.a.r.l.Sell Your Stuff http://www.amazon.co.uk/marketplace PACKING SLIP: Amazon.co.uk Marketplace Item: Samsung DVD Recorder DVD-R128/XEU Silver [Electronics] Listing ID: 0506J499114 SKU: Quantity: 1 Purchased on: 11.05.2006 Dispatched by: firstname.lastname@example.org Invoice Address Name: Mr Adeyemi Ajala Address Line 1: 21 Fasanu Street Address Line 2: Town / City : Baruwa Ipaja County: Lagos Post Code: 23401 Country: Nigeria Delivery address: Dispatch to : Adeyemi Ajala Address Line 1: 21 Fasanu Street Address Line 2: Town / City : Baruwa Ipaja County: Lagos Post Code: 23401 Country: Nigeria Buyer Name: Ben Tom Buyer e-mail: email@example.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - DISPATCH LABEL - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Adeyemi Ajala 21 Fasanu Street Baruwa Ipaja Lagos 23401 Nigeria
The upshot of the matter is; never trust an e-mail that comes in. Both Amazon and PayPal allow you to track the status of the items, and you can log in there (also, don't follow links in an e-mail; go to the place directly). That's the only way you know if it's been sold or not (and whether the money will ever come your way).
So, if you get a purchase that's going out to Nigeria, or any purchase from people claiming to be 'Ben Tom' or 'firstname.lastname@example.org' (which incidentally, he/she/it replied to, so it's a valid Yahoo Mail address) then forward the mail to Amazon, and whatever you do, don't part with the goods.