Beware: New (at least to me) scam being run on Audiogon members

First, let me say that Audiogon's swift response to my having notified them of the scam was exceptional. They immediately took down the scammer's account. The problem is that it could easily be repeated by this individual or anyone else at any time.

Yesterday, at the suggestion of a friend, I posted a WANTED post on USAudioMart for a very hard to find but relativity inexpensive item that I have unsuccessfully sought on Audiogon for almost a year. Within hours of posting there the scammer set up a new account on Audiogon and contacted me (I have the same user name on both sites) to offer me that very item. This person was knowledgeable enough to offer me the separate power supply by model number as well as the item I was seeking, which is scary in itself. The communication was very well spoken so there was nothing suspicious on its face. The time stamp on their communication incidentally indicated they were in the UK time zone, a fact Audiogon verified to me.

When I contacted Audiogon they were very pleased to be informed of this as they then discovered that the new "member" scammer had contacted 7 other Audiogon members with similar proposals. I want to point out that Audiogon responded to me in minutes of my reaching out to them through the normal website contact system. In this day and age of endless phone center number pressing to end up nowhere and automated email responses with "we'll get back to you within 72 hours" I found this to be very gratifying and commendable on Audiogon's part. 

I never see anyone comment on something else that I feel is worth mention that is separate but interesting to note in light of how this went down, so I will do so here. I have no idea how or why Greenville, SC was chosen or ended up being Audiogon's business location but, as someone who has spent a good deal of time there, I can honestly say that I know of no better location (I'm sure there are others as well) to find exceptional potential employees to hire. No regional bias. I live in AZ.

Thanks for listening.


Received an email yesterday from a newly registered Agon member in a response to a wanted ad I had on another website.  Sounds like the same scam. 
Thanks for the head's up on this. I'm pleased to read about Audiogon's swift response, but not surprised. They really have a dedicated and caring team.
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How did you know that it was a scam?

His response on Agon to my WANTED posting on the other forum was within hours of my post there which was immediately suspicious to me. I then looked him up on Agon and his membership was only hours old.

The most bothersome thing is that he is one of us, so to speak. He knew to offer me the optional upgraded power supply by specific model name for the phono stage I was looking for.

He had also set up an additional account here which has also been taken down.
All this does not mean there was a scam.  When I started out here, I didn’t open an account until I saw something I wanted.  Perhaps the person recognized your user name on Audio Mart from lurking here and decided to make an account so he could make an honest sale.  
"stereo53,189 posts10-30-2019 6:59pmAll this does not mean there was a scam. When I started out here, I didn’t open an account until I saw something I wanted. Perhaps the person recognized your user name on Audio Mart from lurking here and decided to make an account so he could make an honest sale. "

My first question is why he would not have responded to my WANTED post on USAudioMart instead of seeking me out on Agon. The fact that he had reached out to and offered items to 7 other Agon members about their posts seeking things on other forums, as reported to me by Agon, seems to speak for itself.

As also mentioned he set up an additional account within a short time frame to carry on his work further. As far as recognition of my username from posting, I am still under 50 posts total on this forum so not a household brand name yet.
I agree with Stereo5. What exactly was the scam? In my opinion, there is no scam until: a buyer bought something that wasn’t delivered as represented (buyer is scammed) or if a buyer reports that an item was damaged in shipping when it really wasn’t (seller being scammed). Both of those things are: 1) terrible, 2) not unheard of, and 3) previously discussed on Audiogon. Like Stereo5 I watched the ads and monitored the forums for months before I created an account and bought something last summer. Since then I have happily bought and sold several things without incident – and this is my first forum post because I think I finally have something useful to add.


So I ask again, what exactly was the scam? If we give the person the benefit of the doubt then it sounds like an honest use of a variety of information sources. Who knows? I don’t check USaudiomart very often compared to Audiogon so maybe the person thought he or she would get a quicker response from Skywachr and others if he used Audiogon. An analogous situation occurs when you go shopping on Amazon, then go read the news on some other site and you get a pop-up ad for the item you were just shopping for on Amazon! Or even worse, you get a popup ad for the same item on sale at Walmart for a lower price (this weekend only!) and you never even visited the Walmart site. Same thing as what happened here to Skywachr. Is it wrong? I don’t know. Is it creepy? Definitely. Is it a scam? I don’t think so in this age of widely accessible information.

I have to agree that while this was certainly suspicious, and you very well may have been scammed had you sent him the money, that never took place so there was no actual scam. Based on what was presented here, the seller didn't do anything that should have gotten him shut down in my opinion since it is possible that he was legit. I guess that's probably unlikely though and Agon is just erring on the side of caution which is a good thing.

Why would someone go to the trouble of creating an Audiogon account for the sole purpose of responding to ad on another audio market other than trying to build false credibility.
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+1 @elizabeth 

Q: When is a coincidence not a coincidence?

A: When it's too good to be true.

These skeptics wouldn't be so skeptical if they had lost, or even nearly lost, $$.

Nothing suspicious about someone reading a Wanted post on a forum and within hours of it’s posting reaches out to that poster on a totally different forum after registering for the first time offering that very item and after offering it at a too high price and with a no response then says it is after all just taking up space on his shelf so how much would you pay for it? Yes, not much suspicious there.

Again, thank you very much Agon. Well done.

And....thank you Elizabeth. People who chew with no teeth make hardly a dent.
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Don't see a sam here at all- no money changed hands, no product was sold, no transaction occurred yet the guy was reported as a scammer and shut down? I look on Audiomart and Superphonica all the time in addtion to Audiogon and often see items cross posted, similar items etc. and can easily imagine responding to someone looking for a specific item I have for sale.
Don't see a scam here at all- no money changed hands, no product was sold, no transaction occurred yet the guy was reported as a scammer and shut down?
Multiple shots fired, no one hit, no harm done, no need to report it, just move along......
BTW, the OP did not cross post on Agon.
In all likelihood this was a scam, but it’s also possible the OP lost his chance to acquire what he has longed sought after. Also, to the other posters who asked “how do you know?” that was a valid question as well, and not the third degree. I read the OP and it was not clear to me what was being perpetrated. It’s easy enough to ask for photos or other means to verify the person has what is being sold, and if he’s unable to provide evidence of the item,  then the red flags should go up for sure. 
I too, am not seeing the foul play here; however, it does pay to be vigilant none the less.

When I sell items on the USAM site, I specify that only USAM members only can contact me and notice at least 25% of people contacting me have newly registered that day, which is not an inspiring feeling, but it’s not a capital offense or scam either.  I simply ask for more references until I feel comfortable.

After a few exchanges where we discuss audio gear, etc, I feel much more comfortable dealing with this new member.  If ever in doubt, I’ll get a phone number and I’ll have a conversation with the prospective buyer or seller.

Ive purchased many audio items from Craigslist’s in far away cities and after speaking with those people; I’m super comfortable with the transaction and things have gone very smoothly.

Perhaps if we go back to picking up the phone and having conversations with prospective buyers and sellers, the experience will be more enjoyable and these paranoid posts of I think I got I was getting scammed here but not really because I didn’t lose any money could be eliminated.

Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, do your homework before you buy & sell, speak on the phone, do more in person transactions if possible & don’t judge others by a new account, and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it are the best solutions. 
My intent in the original post was to offer a warning about a scam that I felt was being run and not to lay out a case for prosecution. Nevertheless at this point I feel it warranted to provide further facts for the benefit of the skeptics.

The item I was seeking was manufactured by a very small company that many in the audio business have never even heard of. The item was last manufactured in the early 2000s. The company ceased doing business entirely in 2006. The "seller" implied that he actually had more than one of these for sale to offer at a price significantly above the original price when new. When I said I was not interested he wanted to know what I would pay but indicated I needed to respond quickly. There must have been a sudden rush in demand. His time stamp showed that he was in the UK time zone but when asked his location said he was in CO but connected with a small business in the UK. I guess his prior efforts in this "business" had raised this issue in the past from potential "customers." Thus the ready answer.

A few further comments:

Scam is defined as "a dishonest or illegal plan or activity, especially one for making money."

The technical legal term for a scam is fraud. Attempting to commit fraud, even without money changing hands, is an actual offense as in "Detective, why am I being arrested for attempted murder when the shot I fired from my gun missed entirely or only maimed the person.

I know my intent was good in all respects and Agon was ready and willing to hear any complaints from the new member about why his account was taken down. They never heard from him. I repeat, as in the original post, he tried this on 7 other people the same day. brf (posting above) indicated he was probably one of the 7.

Agree with above

Tammy on the Gon is prompt to answer Q's and gets
answers to the very best of her ability--at least we can now deal with a real person.


Thanks for sharing, OP. I, for one, appreciate it. Sounds like it’s likely a scam. For those who doubt you, I bet it’ll be different when it’s their turn, and a stranger is asking for money.  
Due diligence, and if it has feathers, wings and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. 
Maybe I'm missing something here, but IF this was legit, why wouldn't the "seller" have contacted the OP via USAM instead of creating a new acct here to do so? May have been legit, but for the most part if it smells fishy, it's a fish.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but IF this was legit, why wouldn't the "seller" have contacted the OP via USAM instead of creating a new acct here to do so?

Especially when it costs the seller to use Audiogon but not US Audio Mart.
There are people here who spend thousands of dollars extract for audio equipment, just because it's a status thing ,so what's a little loss on a it because they don't like to be scammed by a real scam artist....Please....But really good job getting these people....
 just because it's a status thing
Someone need to notify CDC that COVID-19 also affects brain :-)
As the OP, it's weird to me to see this thread suddenly reactivated out of the blue after 9 months.
I don't see a scam at all.  If I were to be suspicious, then maybe my gut feeling is to back away before I made the decision to do business with that person.

It could just as well have been a scam in the making.  But, so could any other sale or purchase on this site.  even if using paypal.

Remember, Paypal protects the buyer, not the seller.

I've smelled a rat a few times before I did business.  no evidence that a crime was going to be committed or a "scam".  just a gut feeling based on instinct or experience.

But, in this case, there really is no real evidence of a crime or scam.  I don't necessarily do business on other sites.  Some maybe, but not all.  So who cares if I didn't have an account on another site?  What difference does that make and why should it?

I've listed items on another well known site and Audiogon.  I've sold all my equipment (to date) on Audiogon.  so, the other site was essential worthless to me.  I didn't get timely responses or inquiries.

one must be careful crying wolf before the wolf actually appears.

Ha.....people have activated threads here after 12 years.
Try 20 years... Lol.
Saw a  year 2000 thread resurrected last week!