How the scam works:
If you are selling or buying items on Craigslist or Kijiji, you might be approached by a potential buyer/seller who says he is interested in closing the deal but works as an oceanographer or marine engineer, and is at sea at the moment.
This is why, he says, he can’t have a phone conversation, but is glad to go through the whole process via the Internet. By doing this, the scammer is able to mask his accent or bad English, while he is pretending to be from the same region as you. Indeed, by going ahead with the conversation via e-mail, he will try to victimize you with one of the over 30 scams listed on the Online Auctions and Auto categories of our app.
This is a scam with a fake unusual job that crooks use just to avoid talking on the phone; they are trying to get access to your details through your computer.
The text of the email looks like this (including the grammar mistakes written by the scammers):
Thanks for the prompt reply. I will like to know the lowest price for it, i want you to get back to me with more pictures and the present condition of it because i could not come over to inspect it. I am buying it locally here as a birthday gift for my Son that is living in Malaysia.
I am at sea at the moment as i am an Oceanographer ( i work on Great Ocean Road in South-West Victoria, Australia ) and due to the nature of my work, phone calls is restricted. It was my son that check your advert and sent you a text to contact me (his mother ) on my email address because i am currently offshore.
I am really sure he will be more than happy if i am able to purchase it from you because this is what he want and chose from the Advert.
You need not worry yourself about how it will get to him there in Malaysia as i have a contact of shipping company there that will be handling the pick-up and all the paperwork.
How to avoid the Oceanographer/ Marine Engineer scam:
Ignore emails like this. The email conversation between you and them is scripted, copied and pasted from former discussions with previous victims. As well, always beware of bad grammar.
How to report the Oceanographer/ Marine Engineer scam:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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