Saturday, June 03, 2023

Potential Fraud and Internet Scams

We have received reports of fraudulent ads listed in our search results, sometimes originating from African countries. Use your common sense when dealing with aircraft sellers. Do NOT send any deposits directly to the seller. We've even had cases reported where lawyers receiving deposits were either fake or involved with the fraud, so ALWAYS use a licensed Escrow company, preferably of your choosing

When and how to send money...

For general aviation aircraft there should never be a need to send a deposit before an aircraft inspection. When you are at a point of placing a deposit or completing the purchase we recommend the use of escrow services which protect both buyer and seller. Use a licensed escrow company. These companies are regulated by national or state authorities and are required to have bonds that ensure customers can recoup money lost in the escrow process. Genuine online escrow companies will be listed on a Government register, and it is advised that users should never use an online escrow service without first verifying that it is genuine, by independently viewing a Government online register.

Buyer beware of...

  1. Aircraft priced well below market price, with no reasonable explanation.
  2. Request for a deposit before inspection to be sent either directly to the seller or their appointed intermediary. ALWAYS insist on using a genuine Escrow company.
  3. Verify the aircraft registration number with the FAA/CAA (or other national) registry and contact the registered owner.
  4. Consider the type of site you are viewing: are these paid-for listings or a reputable broker? These types of listings will hold more traceable contact details.
  5. Sellers that only communicate via email. When possible, call to speak directly with the seller.

Seller help...

  1. List the aircraft registration & serial number with your ad.
  2. Give full details for contact, not just an untraceable email address.

Buyer Scams

Not all scams are from bogus sellers; some bogus purchaser also have their angle... Example: Prospective buyer says they had a wasted tip & expense to view another aircraft and then asks the seller to share the cost of "Title Insurance" or some other expense. We personally had this happen, but unfortunately for the bogus purchaser, the story they gave was easily discredited and all we lost was time & effort. As a seller you should NEVER need to send any funds to a prospective purchaser.

Where to find help?

If you believe that you have seen a fraudulent ad, first report it to the website owner to have the ad investigated. Also, let us know and we'll remove the ad from our results if sufficient evidence is provided, however, unfortunately, we don't have the resources to pursue the matter further on your behalf.

In the unfortunate event that you have been the victim of fraud or you suspect fraud we recommend that you report this to the police of the country of the fraudster. Here are some links that may help you recover your money or maybe stop others losing theirs...

Report fraud in Canada with the...

  1. PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
  2. Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Report fraud in the UK with the...

  1. Metropolitan Police
  2. Action Fraud

Report fraud in the US with the...

  1. Internet Crime Complaint Center. The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
  2. Federal Trade Commission
  3. Email United States Secret Service

We would be pleased to hear from the AviationClassifieds community if they have any advice that may help others... email

Blue Skies,