Is this a scam?

I would appreciate some help with this, which has happened to me in the last few days.  I listed an item on a site, not Audiogon but another one, and got an offer within a few days.  The offer was lower than asking price, but reasonable, so I accepted.  All of this happened with an exchange of emails.  The buyer wanted to send me a deposit which was about 1/4th of the total sales price, and that amounted to a few thousand dollars.  He said he would send the rest when the item was shipped.  I thought this was a little strange, but agreed to it -- today I received his deposit via Paypal Friends and Family.  Somehow I wish now that the money transfer hadn't happened.  But the good news is, I have not yet sent him the items.

The guy has very little purchase history on the site that was used to contact me.

He says he has a Freight Forwarder and and will have someone pick up the items.  All of this seems suspicious to me.  I fear that perhaps I have been paid with a stolen credit card number, for example.  Of maybe there is another angle here that I cannot perceive.  Has anyone else been through a process like this?  I think he is a scammer but don't know for sure.

Ag insider logo xs@2xscottwsmith

The reason they want to send their shipper to your door is that you would have no recourse to 'stop shipment' and initiate a 'return  to sender's base' if it all goes fraudulent in the middle of it being shipped.


If they initiate shipping, it is entirely out of your hands the moment the shipping company arrives and it is in their hands. Even if you found out it is fraudulent and the shipping company is still in your driveway, you are beat.

Not paid in full, not shipping item, end of story....and I've sold components for several thousand dollars. 

A simple solution is to tell the seller that any freight company coming to pick up the item must pay 100% of the amount in cash and you will refund his deposit via PayPal.  No cash, no sale.

Other things you can do is offer to ship to his verified PayPal address.  If he doesn't have a PayPal account but is using PayPal for payment that is another red flag.  You have no protection when payment is via friends & family.  I would rather lose 3% or 3.5% (Whatever PayPal is charging) by issuing an invoice and being paid on the invoice and have recourse than lose it all.  Then only agree to ship to a verified PayPal address with buyer paying shipping and PayPal fees.

The simplest solution is to cancel the transaction. As an experienced seller, I don't know how you even agreed to any of it.

It's got more red flags than a Soviet parade...

The business I used to work for ran in to this sort of thing all the time. Any payment method that is not perfectly normal is almost certainly a scam. Any shipping pickup that they arrange must absolutely have full payment before pickup.