Private purchase scam, but kinda mysterious

Well, it happened, after 15 years of buying and selling stuff online, I feel into my first trap!

Despite being always due diligent and extra careful, someone convinced me to be genuinely selling his fujifilm camera.

The ad was (and still is) on Facebook Market, but also on ebay. Same seller, same camera on both.

I asked for ID, he provided one that seem pretty legit. It was the photo of the same person from the Fb account at a much younger age(and full name too obviously). CHECK

I Asked to contact him on ebay, where he had apparely sold other stuff and had good ratings, in order to verify independently his ID. He confirmed from Ebay it was him. CHECK

I asked for LinkedIn confirmation. Always the same cutie in a different photo, this time in his uni Lab. A criminology student. CHECK

There was nothing odd in the conversation, he seemed a normal guy as far as my intuition goes (and it has always served me well). CHECK

We Agreed on a good price, but nothing suspiciously low: 850£. (It generally ranges from 800 to 1000). CHECK

When I was about to make the payment, the name matched the apparently genuine Santander Account, according to Monzo. CHECK

Well, I always have suspicions, but I just went for it as there was no real red flag.

He also sent the picture of the parcel at the box office and the shipping receipts. CHECK

And this morning I was so excited for the camera, but the moment the courier handed me the parcel, I froze.

It was too damn light! I opened it but I already knew it was empty. An empty Jordan’s box.

He was really good, so good sometimes I think I was scammed by the criminology student himself.

Or might also be a serious case of identity theft.

As you can see, I had good reasons to believe the transaction would be genuine, and I wonder what are my chances of getting back my money if Monzo is to respect its practical commitment to CRM.

I reported immediately (around 30hrs after the transfer) by meticulously providing all the evidence, chat screenshots and photos.

I feel like a whole, total big shit.

Maybe I should I accept it and move on (without a camera), but I really hope I will be refunded, even though it might take some time!

In the meantime I’d like to hear your thoughts about it.


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Sorry to see you’ve been scammed, this is an awful lot of checking you did, so fair play there. That’s far more than I’d ever do/have done!

Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but is there a reason you didn’t just buy it from eBay from the seller? You’d already have your money back by now.

Did you bank transfer the funds? Not sure if Monzo will get involved here if I’m honest. I believe you and what happened, but how do they know you’re not saying the box was empty and you’ve now got a nice new camera and you want your money back too?


Sorry to read that after all that, you still got scammed!

Did you reach out to the seller & contact them asking WTF they’re doing sending the wrong thing? :eyes:

Also, if they were selling on eBay, why didn’t you ask him to sell it via eBay, so that you had protections there, or provide payment through PayPal?

No one can say for sure whether you’ll get the money back from Monzo, but you did do a lot of checks. I think the unfortunate thing is, that you paid via Monzo, which is one thing to avoid - as it can be hard to get the bank transfers back.


I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself for a start - that is a lot of due diligence and from what you’ve put sounds like two people are losing here (for now). The person who has had their identity stolen, and you, with the box.

I’m not sure what else you could’ve done except for not using Facebook market place for remote items, there is such low protection it might be a harsh lesson for the future.

Good luck in getting a resolution, can you speak to Facebook?

Only Monzo can tell you that, but you’ll have to be patient as this sounds quite complex

Hi Thanks mate,

I first saw the ad on Facebook market and then on ebay , which one good way to confirm the legitimacy if it is the same person. At ebay are very careful when it comes to scammers and this user had good reviews. I simply did not go through ebay because almost never use it, and I think their fees are outrageous. I cannot bargain a good price if the seller has to pay 14% of that price to ebay. On 850£ 14% is a lot.

I know it is safer, but for years I have never had problems trading directly.

As you saw, I always go through rigorous checks and there were no red flag with this guy!

I mean, even the name matched perfectly the Account name!

This is an extraordinary case, and I am afraid a very serious identity theft.

Yes, I contacted him, and he kept playing the game and first thing he asked is if there was a hole in the parcel, and that the content might had been stolen en route.

Yes, there was a hole and tape on it. But I am almost sure it was his orchastration! This one is smart, he wanted to scam me and get away clean with it.

But not so fast.

  1. In the same receipt he sent me (along with the photo of the box at the post office) I noticed that the weight of the box is less than 0.5kg!! The camera alone is 607g, with accessories, huge manuals ecc should be way over 1.5kg if not 2kg!!

  2. I weighted on my precision scale the empty box, and the weight matches that of the declared shipping weight.

  3. Plus, In the picture in the box office, one can see a piece of the tape from the back side of the box, which indicates that the ‘damaging’ was pre-arranged!

Not so smart after all!

He then started saying nonsense when I showed him the evidence he blocked me!

That’s nice of you, but that’s the seller’s problem, not yours. It’s the same logic as card payments, it’s the seller’s responsibility to build this into the product price. You should just take care of your own security, and the best way is using eBay and PayPal which offer the best protection against scammers.


As I stated in my previous reply, I just don’t like the monopolistic behavior of ebay and their fees, but hey, I guess I will use it more often now.

I get it, it is legit to ask what if it is me that is playing this game and I have a shiny new camera after all.

But there are a few strong elements that supports my case.

  1. As mentioned before, the declared weight of the box. One night say the scale at the post office was way off, but the weight now matches that of the empty box.

  2. There are signs in the foto that it was already fake -damaged by the sender

3)I have been using monzo for 5 years and there is nothing suspicious on my record. I am a serious professional and I have a pristine credit score. Why should I suddenly do such a stupid thing?

  1. During the investigation, the other bank, Santander, will very likely find the activities on the other account to be suspicions, they have their ways to find out, and based on CRM might be their responsibility for allowing such accounts.

As I said, it might be a case of a "mule’, but according to the digging I did, there are people related to the guy with this name. On the Facebook profile there are likes from people of the same surname, probably siblings or cousins!

It is probably identity theft!

On my side, I did nothing wrong, people buy from strangers all the time through transfers (but maybe things are getting tight lately) and I did my due diligence, and with all the checks I listed, I had no reason to believe this person is not genuine!

I have all the evidence and conversations to show that.

Another strong element is the name matching the account name! That one was my final reassurance, otherwise I would had never proceeded!

I went in detail through CRM, and if Monzo seriously follows its guidelines, they should refund me. However, I suspect the recipient’s bank is to blame, and they must fork out part or all the money, and according to CRM this is whether they recover funds from the other account or not.

If I don’t get a refund, I will certainly go through the FOS route.

I work hard for my money, and I will get to the end of this.

This could easily be a post office error.

Sadly this means absolutely nothing.

You can try, but you willingly sent money to this person. Monzo cannot refund every single marketplace scam.

I wish you good luck, but don’t hold out much hope!

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Even if the scale at the post office was way off, like really way off, and I doubt that, the empty box I have at home weights almost exactly as the weight declared at the box office. I can easily prove that.

This not just a ‘marketplace scam’, it falls under the APP category and it is equally serious to other types. Plus there probably is some identity theft going on which is even more serious!

Lets see!

Considering my due diligence, I have always been confident to not always rely on third parties for piece of mind.

In at least 70% of cases I have done this way and never had any issues in 15 years!

But I guess there is always someone who outsmarts eventually.

Considering the stress now, will not do it again for sure.

The scales/weights mean nothing, you could easily have emptied the box. Doesn’t mean you didn’t remove the bottom of the box/back/side, remove the camera etc etc. I’m just playing devils advocate here.

APP scams happen when someone is tricked into sending money to a fraudster posing as a genuine payee

I would say this means it isn’t APP fraud. If someone has set up an account in a fake name, have control of all their social media/ID and then gets you to transfer money for a camera, that’s an awful lot of effort/crime/risk to go.

You’ve paid someone who thought actually, they can keep the camera and take your money. Nothing sophisticated.


You have a lot of info about them. Scare them in to paying you back!

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If it was a post office error then the OP should have had the grey note from Royal Mail stating that the postage was underpaid and to pay the difference prior to delivery.

Well, I think you are making things look unnecessary worse than they are.

This is an APP scam for all intents and purpose, as far as its CRM definition goes. I am not going to argue this now

The weight is a very strong indicator. The box must have been almost 2kg, but at the moment it was posted it was a meager 476g! Scale cant be that off at the post office as it would make a massive economic difference. And the empty box I have at home is a meager 480±10g. Coincidence? No, This is a sufficient cause to me.

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This was a special 24h delivery insurance up to 1000. One can try the insurance route, but I am convinced that the delivery went just fine and that I was simply scammed.

By the way, I reported to ebay it’s account and now it has been removed.

It’s a discussion. You posted asking for thoughts and I’m just giving you mine.

The CRM Code sets out consumer protection standards to reduce APP scams, which occur when customers are tricked into authorising a payment to an account they believe belongs to a legitimate payee.

You were not tricked and you were not led to believe the account belong to someone and you paid someone else. The account belongs to the person you sent the money to. They are a thief.

Have you reported this to the Police?

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You were not tricked and you were not led to believe the account belong to someone and you paid someone else. The account belongs to the person you sent the money to. They are a thief.

I highly doubt that I was talking to the real guy, why a young criminology student would scam me so openly by sending me his real ID and credentials?

Other than that, I will leave this to the investigation team.

You say that now - but at the time you thought it was legit.

Report to the Police/Action Fraud & let Monzo see what they find in the investigation.


Desperation? Who knows.

But thinking someone has set up a bank account, facebook profile, linkedin and sent you photos of their ID all in the name of someone else to sell a camera, is super far fetched.

The internet profile are easy enough to fake, but an ID/bank account, not so much.

Find his Mum/Dad/Gran on FB and message them asking if they are aware that they are scamming people. Email his boss. Email the Uni.


Thanks for your reply, mate.

I am thinking of trying to contact people related to the original guy, based on the likes on his fb page, and see If I can get to the real him and warn him.

I hope it does not turn out it was the real him all along! Logically, it wouldn’t make sense at all!

Report it to the police, let them investigate and get in contact with the person. Whether he scammed you, or his ID has been stolen, the police can talk to him.