scam alert - a cautionary tale

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
8,463
1,209
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
novicetimekeeper PM'd me from the u.k. about a lovely bracket clock listed in a u.k. facebook group oddly for sale (relatively) near me... in los angeles.

we'll call listing a clock for sale in los angeles on a u.k. site our first red flag... even though the seller said he had gone to school in the u.k. and currently lived in l.a.

we'll call the $500 asking price our second red flag... but you never know, right? the seller said it 'belonged to my grand mum who is late'. the seller and i exchanged a bunch of emails. i asked if i could get more photos... never got 'em. i asked where in los angeles we'd be meeting up, as i would be driving down from san francisco (to see family and pick up the clock.... not my first time doing that kind of trip! :)) and could come in at either end of the city... wouldn't answer. and, his english went from perfectly fine to almost borat-like parody over the course of our communications.

in the meantime, novice and i were PM-ing and both commented on the oddly high quality photos from a seller who is a self-professed 'stoner' according to his FB page. i did some google searching for 'fusee bracket clock' and found another clock on ebay where the photographic treatment and background were virtually identical... so i reached out to the seller of that one. he turned out to be, of course, an nawcc member... Westmorland Glass, aka ben.

ben confirmed that the scammer's clock (see below) is actually his... and was dismayed but appreciative of the heads up. while the clock is not listed on ben's non-ebay website (Steam Mill Clocks | Our Stock | Sellingantiques.co.uk)... all of his bracket clock photos have a similar stylistic background. the photo is posted with permission.

at this point the scammer has deleted his original listing post and apparently his entire FB profile.

caveat emptor... and if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.

bracket.jpg
 

Salsagev

Registered User
Feb 6, 2020
1,280
134
63
14
Madison
www.youtube.com
Country
Region
Doesn’t necessarily have to be a scam based on the price. If the picture is weirdly professional but the price is super cheap, that is risky. Usually most my lowest priced clocks were from listings that had one photo, blurry photo, mundane/generic description, other listings same quality, and likely quick/decent responses.
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
8,463
1,209
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
did you read the original post? the price was a red flag but didn't stop me from doing due diligence on seller and photos... which led to the other red flags, conclusive evidence of scam, and the point of my posting in the first place as a cautionary tale for (especially) less-experienced/new clock buyers... and those of us with more experience who can still get tempted by too-good-to-be-true bait.
 

Salsagev

Registered User
Feb 6, 2020
1,280
134
63
14
Madison
www.youtube.com
Country
Region
did you read the original post? the price was a red flag but didn't stop me from doing due diligence on seller and photos... which led to the other red flags, conclusive evidence of scam, and the point of my posting in the first place as a cautionary tale for (especially) less-experienced/new clock buyers... and those of us with more experience who can still get tempted by too-good-to-be-true bait.
I also would be concerned about unclear response from seller.


No rebuttal intended! :)
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
8,463
1,209
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
Luckily, I don't have to collect clocks. They happen to be my rubbish that is clogging up my backyard.
Truthfully, have even left some out in the weather, to age them like.

hmm... if you've got a double fusee bracket clock out in your yard or rubbish pile, please PM me so we can arrange a deal. :)
 

Rob Martinez

NAWCC Member
May 3, 2013
167
17
18
Country
This entire exercise reminds me of the very proud looking gentleman on the antiques road show (US) who said he paid $5,000.00 for a clock and wanted to know its worth..... The appairser said, for insurance purposes, the owner could now insure it for..... wait for it..... $5,000.00
 

bobby2003

NAWCC Member
Nov 1, 2010
80
8
8
Country
If it hasn't already been pointed out, your first red flag should have been that it was on facebook in the first place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JTD

oldcat61

NAWCC Member
Dec 12, 2008
160
9
18
South Jersey
Being on Facebook isn't always a red flag. Before the covid mess, I found a lovely Scottish long case on our local Facebook for $400. Parents died, kids moving, no interest etc. I could have haggled but the money was going to a scholarship in the father's name. Quick clean & oil was all it needed but replaced the gut just to be sure.

RusselFull.jpg RusselDial.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Salsagev

Salsagev

Registered User
Feb 6, 2020
1,280
134
63
14
Madison
www.youtube.com
Country
Region
Being on Facebook isn't always a red flag. Before the covid mess, I found a lovely Scottish long case on our local Facebook for $400. Parents died, kids moving, no interest etc. I could have haggled but the money was going to a scholarship in the father's name. Quick clean & oil was all it needed but replaced the gut just to be sure.

View attachment 649427 View attachment 649428
Facebook is a great place to build your collection. Very few successful/satisfactory bids when attending the major auctions. I am more skeptical about craigslist and such because there isn't a direct messaging system but instead an email/phone system. I personally like FB messenger system because you can see if somebody seen your response. Theres just more secureness feeling when using a message system. Besides, where I live, there are never/rarely goodies for a price thats not a ripoff.

Red flags are everywhere, however. You are good to go if you use common sense.

Also, if somebody wants to talk about stuff non relating to the product your buying (or selling), thats fishy business. If someone wants to meet in a LIT area, thats a sign of good business. If somebody gets mad over pictures, move on. You and I know that we have better things to do than to placate a seller.
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,324
902
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
I have bought 3 very rare clocks via facebook in the last couple of years. But, caution should always prevail, be it facebook or elsewhere. And sadly, I have bought no clocks via the NAWCC MART in the same period of time. Bruce hit on one of the big warnings early on, if the price doesn't make sense, it is perhaps one of the biggest indicators that all may not be as represented.
 
  • Like
Reactions: brian fisher

Forum statistics

Threads
165,465
Messages
1,440,352
Members
86,247
Latest member
che63
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre