Oceanographer/Marine Engineer Scam

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:

Report To The FTC Here


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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Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

11 thoughts on “Oceanographer/Marine Engineer Scam”

  1. Beware of this guy posting a fake Lexus online. He contacted me after I was interested in a Lexus (fake) he posted on CarDaddy.com. Beware!


    First of all I want to thank you for your interest in my 2008 Lexus IS250. Engine: 2.5L V6. The car has been extremely well maintained with a full service history, it only has 74,733 miles! Transmission is automatic. The vehicle has all of its original floor mats, all books, complete set of tools and keys. Everything works in the car lights, gauges, radio, windows, locks, a/c blows ice cold, etc. It has no leaks or drips and does not smoke at all, slightly used in 100% working and looking conditions with a clear title free of liens. It has new tires.

    I bought it when I was serving in U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Havelock, NC and now I am deployed in Havelock, NC. The car will be delivered from here, it is stored in a military compound.

    I have dropped my price to $3,000 (purchase price) including delivery and handling to your address, since this is an urgent sale, it will be delivered free of charge through a military transportation service to a designated location of your choice, average delivery time is 2-3 business days, depending on destination. It has been reduced because I need to find a buyer before my upcoming deployment take place and I don’t want to waste more time negotiating.

    If you’re interested to conclude this purchase in a timely manner please email me your: full name, shipping address and phone number, to open a case with eBay Motors. They will contact you to explain the entire procedure. The financial part will be managed by them, which means that you will have a 5 days inspection period before committing to buy the car. Using eBay Motors service we are both 100% covered during the steps of this transaction.

    To support my argument regarding the condition of the car please visit the following photo album:http://s61.photobucket.com/user/white08lexxus/library/?view=recent&page=1

    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Sgt. Frank Conner

  2. We are non-profit organization, we We had a reply to our Craigs list post.It is as follows
    THEM: Beverage cooler – $500 (oroville) Is this still available for sale?
    Donovan Newton
    ME: yes
    Me: I have no way to haul it though.
    THEM: Hi this is Donovan again as regards the purchase.I am keen in purchasing it for your price.
    However I will be unable to come look at
    THEM: ur preferred location. Do reply back with your full name and address in which the (cashier’s check) payment will be mailed to you. Tha
    THEM: it personally and pay cash as I have recently moved to Newyork.I will pay you via a cashier’s check and will add the shipping fee. A
    THEM: nks
    THEM: fter the Check clears & you have cash with yo, my movers who are helping me move my stuffs to my new home will come for pick up at yo

    This is exactly how the text came from phone number 207-578-3553. I called and got a voice mail that said the person at extension 12075783553 is not available.

  3. Selling a wedding dress on Craigslist and this happens! WOW the never of people! AMBER BANKS_SCAM!
    My Name is Mrs Amber Adams and thanks for your response. I am happy to hear that the dress is still for sale,, i am an oceanographer and presently working on the sea due to my status of work, i won’t be able to see the dress but i will be okay with the pictures and am would be happy to purchase it from you. Am purchasing the dress for my daughter and my mode of payment is pay pal. I would like to ask you some question regarding the dress

    1.Are you the real owner?

    2.What is the present condition?

    3. If pictures is available you can email me some pictures

    Note: I will be making payment through PayPal because my bank account is linked to my PayPal account and PayPal is a secured method of payment for both the buyer and seller.kindly email me a PayPal money request invoice direct to my verified PayPal email which is the same as my email address amberadams01@hotmail.com to proceed with the payment..i believe you can set up a PayPal account easily at http://www.paypal.com if you don’t have one. i want you to know i have a courier company that will come for the pickup. so you don’t have to bother yourself shipping the dress. looking forward to hear back from you soon.

    Best Regards

    Thank you for the Pay Pal Invoice,if you could remember in my previous email i mentioned i have a courier company that would be coming for the pick up of the dress,i was about to make the payment right now into your Pay Pal account when i had this little problem with the picking up of the dress,due to i am an oceanographer and presently working on the sea. So i tried to secure booking right now with my courier company but they asked me to pay first before they can make the booking, and they only accept Western Union Money Transfer for payments because of the bad experienced they had in the past with other form of payment.they don’t accept Pay Pal or bank transfer.So I tried to send the money on line but it’s not going through and I am on sea there is no way i can get off the sea to find a western union agent to make the transfer to my courier company, so i would like to ask if it will be okay for me to include my courier company fees together with your payments through Pay Pal,So you will help me transfer the pick up fee to them via western Union Money Transfer immediately i pay you.I don’t mean to bother you I’m sure you understand that I’m presently on the sea and there is nothing i can do to that.The bottom line is after I have made the payments via Pay Pal,you will help transfer my courier company fee to them through western union money transfer, I just wanted to seek your consent before going ahead with the payments,I will be very happy if my offer is given a favorable consideration,Respond as soon as possible so that i can send out your Payment.

    Best Regards

  4. 207-578-3553

    Another scammer replying to a Craigslist posting:

    "I am interested in buying it & willing to pay your asking price i wont be able to come do thisin person and pay with cash because I’m currently at work as i work at the sea as an oceanographer.Due to this i will not be able to come do the pick up myself and pay via cash. So i will be paying you via Check with the shipping fee included and after the Check clears & you have cash with you.i will ask my movers to come for the pick up at your preferred location. Do reply back with your full name and address in which the (Check) payment will be mailed to you"

    It truly pained me to type his text verbatim like that. Definite scam that did not respond after I informed him I have dealt with other "oceanographers" and "marine engineers" in the past who are simply looking to scam innocent individuals out of their money.

  5. the same guy Gerald Darren said that he is buying my item for his son. he would give me a certified bank check. sight unseen. wow!!

  6. 347-956-4822 a Guy texed and said he was a oceanographer, and that he want to buy my car for his wife. He also said that he was at sea but was more than happy to pay the asking price without seeing the car, that he would have a shipping company pick the car up as soon as the check mailed and cleared the bank. Well i got the check called his bank and they said the funds are not availble. I messages him and said your bank said funds are not available, he told me to deposit check. I told him look they wont take a bad check and it went from there. I cant beleave that these dumb scammers think we are the ones thats dumb

  7. 1347 709-5475 is a scammer number that tries to buy stuff through money order an always claims he is going out I town for a job. He is all over craigslist. Trying to buy everything for sale and his form of payment is money order or western union. And he is paying $30 more that you can keep because he was late. Scam artist John. Don’t get in his / her trap.

  8. And so I am very lucky to check every little details before giving out my bank information. Here is what the scammer wrote:

    ‘Thank you for getting back to me,can you assure me that i will not be disappointed if i buy this Item as a Birthday gift for my cousin? as I’m ready to pay your asking price but not cash in person because I’m an Oceanographer and i am presently on a contract which will end in couple of months,the contract is strictly no call due to the lack of reception on the sea area,but I’m able to access my mail on my laptop.

    My only quickest payment option is Bank Transfer, I hope we can make the purchase as fast as possible? as my cousin’s birthday is fast approaching and am sure he will love this item, i will need you to give me your Bank Information so that i can make the transfer money asap for the item .But if you Have to provide your bank information………….i will offer you ($650USD) for the 3 item including the shipment fee through (Poslaju National Courier) to this address below Via

    Name: Dr Kareem Saheed
    Address: Verinary Oremeji Mokola.
    Zip Code:232402

    Here are the information needed for the payment:-

    Bank Name:
    Account Number:

    Immediately i receive your bank details, i will quickly proceed with the payment asap.


    It’s exactly what this blog is trying to tell everyone. This blog saves my wallet. Thank you!

  9. I just had the this happen to me the alias’ used on gmail.com was Tony Donald but the name he gave for his paypal account was Darren Gerald his
    email is holdpen345@gmail.com. told me it was for his dad and that he’s an oceanographer at sea. He said that I was to western union $1100 to a shipper in san diego and that paypal would reinburse me i phoned paypal and they said it was a scamhe said the shipper would then come pick my car. He even had a fake paypal sent tome saying iI had one day to ship the funds cuz they were investigating my account but that too was a lue. The fake email came from reviewcustomer@constant.com

  10. Had this scam last week through txt messages from Craigs list where we have a car listed for sale. The guy also stated that he was buying the car for his father-in-law and that since he was an oceanographer he had just taken a job and was leaving the next day. I txt him back that we accpted cash only and he has not contacted us since.

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