Almost Scammed!

Okay, okay. So, I love shopping online. I am an ebayer from way back and have had my moments with them. But, given the casual bump in the road, I am pretty good with this sort of thing. I have bought inexpensive things through to some fairly pricey things without any issues. Good transactions, good auctions, good buy it nows, etc. I have been though it. 

I have also been hounded by scammers who claimed I owed money on some credit card or the like and tracked it down to the scam, the lying about checque numbers and the discovery through Google that this institution had a track record of doing this sort of thing and I made it stop. This sort of party has happened at least twice.

So, as you know, I cook on a 1940's stove that looks like a car. Electric. And it has been doing some fairly scary things recently like making a loud and visual pop, blowing the breaker in the basement. More than a few times. So, it feels like the stove that is a car is on it's last legs for this cook. I have been cruising Craig's List for a stove, looking and hoping something really good would pop  up. And it did>> A 48" Dual Fuel Viking for $2600. with delivery thrown in. Oh my, I gasped. This has got to be mine! So, I wrote this note saying "Tell me more" and a note from an individual, "Chesty Restiva" came back. And this is what she said:

"This is a perfect viking range no damage, no scratches or dents, no hidden defects period, it's in immaculate condition, never used, source: GAS, Dual Fuel.
Dual Fuel, Stainless Steel, 4 Sealed Burners.
Oven Capacity:
Right: 4.1 Cubic Ft
Left: 2.5 Cubic ft
Overall dimensions: 47-7/8"W x 27-1/8"D x 33-1/2".
The price i asked for is $2.600.00 with shipping inclided. The stove is already packed and ready for ship from Houston. The transaction will be completed by ebay. If you are still interested, please email me back and i will send you more info about the transaction.

Wow! "Tell me more" was my next note.  I started googling the model number to find out that this very same stove was being offered on ebay for $7600.--confirming my expectation that yes, albeit a discontinued model, a very good price. Chesty returned my email saying:

Here is the steps:
To complete payment i´ll like to use eBay Purchase Protection program, you will pay the range at eBay agent assigned for our transaction.this way we are both protected.
I have briefly described the eBay transaction steps below:
1. Buyer, seller reach an agreement (price and delivery conditions)
2. Buyer sends money to eBay.
3. eBay confirms to seller that the amount has been received.
4. Seller performs the required services (shipping, insurance).
5. Buyer accepts delivery and informs eBay about the acceptance.
6. eBay releases the money to seller.
As you can see, you will receive the range BEFORE any money is released to me from eBay's account.
You will get the chance to inspect it, test it and everything you like while your money is still safely held in eBay's account.
ONLY after you confirm to eBay that you agree with the range, they will release the money to me.
If, for some reason, you disagree with the range(I assure you that is NOT going to happen
since my range is in immaculate condition) it will be shipped back to me on my expense
and you will receive your money back.
If you wish to proceed further, do not forget to email me
so I can start the transaction with eBay's Purchase Protection program.
Thank you

Hmmm. Ebay makes it right. This agent thing protects me....I can use paypal...this totally protects me. Or at least that was thinking. The IS in the first sentence should have been the give away. But hey, this person is named Chesty, right? So, I sent her my name and phone (office) and said, "I'm on" and this is the stuff I got back with a false ebay (you could tell by the wrong typography and the Moneygram focus): 
Congratulations, You have been approved to buy this Item - Please pay now!

                                                          Transaction ID: 00116866722
...the seller Chesty Randiva started the transaction with eBay protection program.
In order to complete this transaction you have to submit the payment Via Money Gram to an eBay Agent. Payment must be submitted by Money Gram Wire Transfer directly from your local Money Gram office. Submit payment using eBay Representative's details from the Invoice we have sent you. You can find a MoneyGram near you here: 500 S MEADOW ST, ITHACA, NY 14850-5317, Mon-Sun 07:00-21:00 You can also send the money online ( using your credit card. If you choose to send the payment online you have to send 3 transfers: A. 899.00 USD, B. 899.00 USD, C. 802USD => 899+899+802 =$2600.00. As long as the transaction is made through eBay and not directly with the seller everything is safe and VERY WELL PROTECTED.
- The Seller has 5 business days to send to the Buyer and eBay Customer Support the tracking number of the shipment. If no tracking number is provided, a full refund is immediately sent to the Buyer. The Buyer receives the Item and has 5 business days to inspect it. If it is complete and as described, the Buyer should accept the Item. If he refuses the Item, the Buyer must ship it back to the Seller within 5 business days. After the inspection period is over, the Buyer must contact eBay Customer Support with the result of the inspection. If the Buyer refuses the item, the refund will be sent to the Buyer after the tracking number for the returned shipment is verified. If the Item is accepted, eBay Financial Department submits the payment directly to the Seller within 3 business days.
  All the transaction, payment and personal information is considered confidential and will not be released under any circumstances.
 Our main and constant priority is the safety of our customers..
 Next you can observe exactly the eBay Representative's details and customers:
 Contact Seller at: to confirm you got the payment invoice.

Congratulations, You have been approved to buy this Item - Please pay now!

Full Name:   Jonathan Anthon

Address: 3640 Gardendale

City/State: Houston / Texas

** Most of the Money Gram office's are not aware of our eBay privacy and policy so to achieve a smooth and pleasant transaction we suggest you to send the money for a personal business ( a friend, relative etc ).

Payment Instructions: You must complete the payment in 2 working days after the invoice with our Agent details was sent to you. The Item will be delivered after the payment was cleared.

 1. Make the payment in cash using our eBay agent details.

 2. Fax us a scanned copy of the transfer receipt at:

- Fax Number: +1 (251) 252-3537

-  Send us the payment information at:

- Email:

 If you use MoneyGram Online transfer, you have to send us the 8 Digits reference numbers (3).

*Please do not make any marks on the transfer copy.

*The following information must be readable.

*Pay Via Money Gram Wire Transfer -

*Is the fast, easy and secure way to pay on eBay.

So, the tip off was MoneyGram (not Paypal), the address (not real) and an ebay transaction number that when typed into Ebay manifested nothing. So, I called ebay, and while waiting wrote Chesty one more note saying I preferred PayPal to Moneygram and she responeded immediately saying "The transaction is now set for paypal. Let me know after you have sent the money." Oh, and send it to the reply6@ . I was on the phone to Ebay to confirm my suspicions. Turns out, I was right. The MoneyGram was the tip off, but this sort of phishing goes on all the time....and I was right to scratch my head and do some research before moving on doing business with this individual. So, new plans around Craigs List. If we cannot drive down and pick something up and hand the check over, we do not even think about this sort of thing.

So, the moral of this story is, 

If something seems too good to be true, it's likely that it is.