Scam Advice

How to avoid scamers

Our team are continuously working hard to develop ways in which we can make it safer for you to buy and sell on Boatshop 24.

We are proud to announce that we have recently put two systems in place that will make browsing our site safer for you. The first is an intelligent moderation system that is going to crack down on scam ads and related dealers by removing them before they even appear live on our site. The second is monitoring system that checks messages to sellers so you don't have to worry about spam and scams.

Buyers and Sellers Beware is used only to introduce sellers to buyers. It does not sell, broker, insure or finance any items advertised for sale. visitors have informed us of a number of scams that they have recently experienced.

If you hear of, or experience, any scams that you think should be included here, please email us at [email protected]

As time goes on, thieves find increasingly ingenious ways of stealing from the unsuspecting public. There is plenty that you can do to help yourself, much of it is common sense, below are some examples of such frauds.


Fraudulent Marine Trader Media Emails

A number of emails have been received by our visitors claiming that we would be willing to ‘broker’ or become involved in the transaction of payment for items found on This is not the case as our service is intended to introduce sellers to buyers. We do not sell, broker, insure or finance any items advertised for sale.


Fraudulent Sellers

A small number of fraudulent adverts have been placed by people posing as sellers. When potential buyers have tried to contact the seller they have found that the phone number is faulty, invalid or constantly diverted to voicemail.

On questioning this point by email the seller informs the customer that they are unable to use the phone due to deafness, a recent accident, illness or that they are away on business and that they can only converse via email.

The seller asks for a deposit or the full price to be wired to them but after they have received the money they create an excuse as to why they cannot release the vehicle, need more money to be transferred or become impossible to contact.

Be cautious if the advert or ensuing emails are full of spelling mistakes and bad grammar, as this seems to be a trait of fraudulent adverts.

All buyers should be cautious if a potential seller cannot give you a telephone number or insists on communicating by email only.

Don’t hand over any money until you’ve seen the item or are satisfied that the item and seller are genuine. Even then, don’t be pressured into giving a large deposit; most genuine sellers will be happy to accept a small deposit to hold a item.


Important links    

    Trading Standards

    National Crime Agency

    Consumer scams


    Metropolitan Police Fraud Alert

Please do not email the Metropolitan Police unless you have details of the fraudsters bank details, address or telephone numbers. Also bear in mind that the Metropolitan Police covers the Greater London area. For help across the rest of the UK, please contact your local force.

    Is someone trying to sell you a boat by money transfer and/or without you seeing it?

    Is someone offering to buy your boat via email without seeing it?

    Is someone offering too much money?

    Is someone selling at a very low cost?

    Has the option of paying the 'Shipping Agent' been raised?

    Is it not possible to talk directly to either a buyer or seller directly by telephone?

If any of the above is true, or the deal sounds suspicious in any way, then you may be a target of fraud (see examples below).

If anyone is aware of ANY activity that is questionable you should take appropriate precautions.

We hope this information helps, and thank you for using, Boats & Yachts for Sale and Boat Trader.


MTM Publishing Team


Below are two examples of emails that have been received by boat sellers:

If you do receive one of these emails, or something similar that seems suspicious, please contact us by forwarding your details and the email to [email protected]

First email:

Subject: Interested
I saw your advert and i am interested in purchasing your xxxxx .I will like you to feed me the following information if it is still for sale.

1.Its present condition
2.Pix (if any)
3.Final price

I will be making payment with a certified check if its still

Hope to hear from you soon.



Follow-up email:

Subject: Payment/shipping

No problem with that but i will like you to be fast in replying
subsequent mails.I am ready to buy the boat for your price of
xxxxpounds.Infact consider the boat bought already.I would have loved to
come and inspect the boat myself but i am currently on a seminar.
I will immediately contact my business associate to make out a cheque
of xxxxpounds (as payment of some fuel purifying machines i sold to
him)to you in trust.
As soon as you receieve the payment you will deduct your price of
xxxxpounds and send the balance of xxxxpounds to my shipper via western
union who will then come for inspection of the boat.
I will be needing, Your name ( as you will like it to appear on the
cheque), Your address,phone number.I will need you to reply this mail
urgently so we can make out payment ASAP.
Thanks, hope to hear from you soonest.


This is an email from a seller who was a victim of fraud:

I was caught out by these guys to the tune of £xxxx because of a loophole in the banking system. Most people are under the misapprehension that once funds are drawable on the account (after 5 days) the funds are irrevocably cleared but this seems not to be the case although I am contesting this with my bank. On the 5/6th day you send them a Post Office Moneygram for the shipping costs and they cancel the cheque. This is possible in the banking system at the moment.

1.) Scams That You, As The Seller Of Boats, Should Beware Of:

With many people advertising vehicles or boats and other items on the Internet it has come to light that prospective buyers are contacting the seller to purchase the property.

The prospective purchaser is normally from one of the West African countries. They advise the seller that they, the purchaser, are owed money by a UK based company. This company will forward a sterling cheque to the seller for an amount several thousand pounds in excess of the selling price. This cheque from the UK company is a colour copy and has been compromised. They request that the seller lodges the cheque and forwards the excess amount by Western Union to them and they will arrange shipment of the goods.

What happens is that the cheque is lodged and apparently cleared to the sellers account. He withdraws the excess and forwards the cash via Western Union to the purchaser. After about ten days the cheque is returned to the issuing company who query the cheque with their bank.

Consequently it is found that the cheque has had the number changed on the bottom of the cheque and in fact the cheque is much higher in the number sequence and has not yet been issued. The bank then withdraw the funds back from the seller's account and he is the loser.

2.) Scams That You, As The Buyer Of Boats, Should Beware Of:

The second scam is when a person receives a fax or an e-mail advising them that a person has died and relatives are being traced in order to pass on an inheritance. The deceased person is usually of the same family name as the recipient of the fax/e-mail. They normally use less common names and have probably obtained these from the telephone directory or similar sources.


What to do:

Make certain that the seller is real. Get names, addresses, phone numbers and references. Call at an off-hour time and see who answers or how they answer. Are you able to get through at any time? Do they have an answering machine? Call the Directory Enquiries to confirm the name and number. Get a hull and engine number(s) and check with the respective manufacturers. If you feel sceptical, only agree to an escrow account with a law firm OF YOUR CHOICE (again, YOUR CHOICE). This way, when the vessel arrives, and all is well, your money goes to the seller and you get your dream boat!

Most of the alleged purchasers use a free e-mail address mainly at Yahoo or Hotmail.  It is possible to re-mail the e-mails to the nuisance desk of the ISP who can then close that e-mail address in an effort to prevent it being used for future fraudulent activities.  The nuisance desk (a bit like BT nuisance calls) is [email protected]they are using. eg. [email protected]or [email protected]

3.) Recently reported scams:

A number of advertisers have reported dubious enquiries from Capt. Brent Fowler, purporting to be a US military captain based in Afghanistan or Iraq. He has a sum of money hidden in a mine in either of these countries, and says he wishes to send this to the UK via diplomatic channels. He will ask recipients of enquiries to sell him a boat using this money, and requests that they send the balance of payment to his Swiss account.

The enquiry is fraudulent - please do not respond if contacted by someone claiming to be the above officer, or anyone who wishes to purchase your boat without viewing. Remember, if the story is too good to be true, it generally is!