Some recent ads on VKClassifieds.com.au have looked very attractive. Some Icom and Kenwood high value gear (TS950Sdx and IC756 pro3) being offered at about 1/2 to 2/3 of its typical price in Australia.
An email enquiry to the seller, calling himself Donald [name withheld] of Wilmington Illinois USA and using an email address that looks like a callsign plus the numerals 73, returned some telltale responses. He asked for payments via Western Union and UPS delivery. And he used some odd English constructions in his wording. My brother and I exchanged notes on the seller and agreed there was something fishy about the whole thing.
I posted an item categorised under Events, warning readers about unverifiable sellers and it only lasted an hour on the classifieds site. I don’t know whether there is an automated system to delete items warning others of scams, or whether the site owner is very vigilant and deletes them himself. But in that time I received several confirming emails from others, one stating that it was a scam and he had already lost $200 to the scammer.
The callsign lookup in QRZ.com does match with the advertiser’s name, but the history of equipment used and the interests of that person do not match well with someone selling a TS950 or an IC756. However the qrz.com entry does have a prominent comment saying that he had recently obtained the email address used in the advertisement. This suggests that the email address was chosen to match the QRZ entry, then the QRZ entry was updated (QRZ has no security preventing this) and the comment about the email address was added, to allay any concerns readers of his ads may have about the legitimacy of the email address. To me it does not match with common practice. Nobody smart offers their email address in the clear on a website. No thinking person wants the spam that results from doing that. My conclusion is that the whole thing is a minor example of identity theft, or at least “identity borrowing”.
Don’t send this fellow any money. As usual, if it looks too good to be true, it is.