A while back I caught wind of someone being scammed from an advertisement he placed on the BMW MOA online Flea Market, so I decided to take a closer look.

I placed a "Want to Buy" ad on the MOA online Flea Market (and only on the MOA online Flea Market...) The ad is here.

A few days later I got an e-mail that was eerily similar to the one the fellow who reported being scammed received:

From: Andrew Morgan [prince008@netzero.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 6:56 AM
To: ted@
Subject: Hi Folks, Looking for a new/mint condition BMW OEM Bulb kit for a K75/K100/K1100 - please let me know if you have one for sale. Thanks!

Hello,

This is Andrew Morgan from the United Kingdom.You placed a wanted Ad over the internet and i still have for sale in good and perfect condition.

My Mobile Number is +447024074843

Thanks

Andrew Morgan
Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester, M21 8AE
The "You placed a wanted Ad over the internet and i still have for sale in good and perfect condition" sounded a bit choppy so I decided to look further.

In the header information of the e-mail I found the originating IP (ie, the location of the Internet provider he was using when he sent the e-mail)

X-Originating-IP: [41.211.234.17]
Resolving this IP I found this: "41.211.234.17 is from Nigeria(NG) in region Southern Africa"

OK, the guy is in Nigeria, but what about the +44 British phone number?

A further look reveals that +44 numbers followed by "70", as in the "+447024074843" given, belong to a British call forwarding service that transparently forwards calls anywhere in the world and is used almost exclusively by scammers.

I replied and am awaiting response - no doubt the following e-mail will direct me to use Western Union or MoneyGram to send money. Why Western Union or MoneyGram? Because regardless of where and to whom the money is intended to be sent, it can be picked up quite anonymously anywhere in the world simply by having the wire confirmation number.

Personally I find the requirement to use Western Union or MoneyGram to be a dead giveaway of a scam - I have been involved in moderating sites with online marketplaces for many years and I have never heard of a legitimate deal using Western Union, and have heard almost exclusively of its use for scams.