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Used by permission, originally posted on BeeSource by JW Chestnut.
Do not post publicly to Facebook or the crooks will change their mode of operation and succeed in ripping more people off

"I admin a large Facebook forum dedicated to beekeeping. In the past two months, I have seen an explosion of "advance fee" fraud. In this scam, a apparently legitimate business page is tagged by an apparently normal participant when someone asks about offers of gear or bees. Experienced beeks should caution newbees to be suspicious of business pages without a detectable physical location, which use private message response to normal questions, and propose using a non-refundable digital payment for deposits and sales.

Experienced beekeepers reviewing the "business page" will notice multiple red flags. Equipment pictures are repurposed from internet images using equipment that is local to continents other than the supposed location of the business. The names of the business pages often use an apparently correct English form that is not normal for the American beekeepers idiom.
The business pages have "page transparency" reports that indicate they are maintained from the African nation of Cameroon. They have a "page history" that show they were previously involved in "Puppy adoption" (demonstrated by changes in the Page name) which was a common internet advance fee scam in 2020-2021 before enforcement cut it off.
The business pages ask for an advance deposit via a non-refundable digitial payment system (such as Zelle), and then block and ghost the marks. Some provide "business addresses 150 to 300 miles away from the marks home and propose to drop off the equipment or bees while on a delivery run. The "provided" home address are fraudulent (and are scattered around the country). The offer of delivery seems to be associated with Marks which insist on using a refundable system (such as Paypal) and delay the delivery date using a plethora of excuses until the "refundable" time-window closes.
Some of "apparently normal" participant "nyms" which pimp the fraudulent pages have spent the last 9 months or so obtaining membership in hundreds of local beekeeping FB groups. Some of the pimps have had gaps in their account privacy, which I have used to collect the network of nyms involved. The nyms are relatively few and interlocking-- all leading back to the Cameroon fraud. The pimp "nyms" are active on American and Australian forums (verified by the "welcome new members" posts which Google archives). They also have membership in "Native Bee" groups in the US, driven by apparent misunderstanding of the relationship of Native Bees and Honeybees.
I am not describing the "red flags" as (at least on FB) the scammers are actively monitoring responses, and I don't want to tip off the "tells" I am using. The scammers are also active selling goats, fancy chickens, and mobile dimension sawmills using the same basic MO.
One of the most prolific Cameroon Pimps promoting an established "Advance Fee" fraud page. 01/10/23 "Stephanie" has joined hundreds of local FB Bee groups."
 

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Used by permission, originally posted on BeeSource by JW Chestnut.
Do not post publicly to Facebook or the crooks will change their mode of operation and succeed in ripping more people off

"I admin a large Facebook forum dedicated to beekeeping. In the past two months, I have seen an explosion of "advance fee" fraud. In this scam, a apparently legitimate business page is tagged by an apparently normal participant when someone asks about offers of gear or bees. Experienced beeks should caution newbees to be suspicious of business pages without a detectable physical location, which use private message response to normal questions, and propose using a non-refundable digital payment for deposits and sales.

Experienced beekeepers reviewing the "business page" will notice multiple red flags. Equipment pictures are repurposed from internet images using equipment that is local to continents other than the supposed location of the business. The names of the business pages often use an apparently correct English form that is not normal for the American beekeepers idiom.
The business pages have "page transparency" reports that indicate they are maintained from the African nation of Cameroon. They have a "page history" that show they were previously involved in "Puppy adoption" (demonstrated by changes in the Page name) which was a common internet advance fee scam in 2020-2021 before enforcement cut it off.
The business pages ask for an advance deposit via a non-refundable digitial payment system (such as Zelle), and then block and ghost the marks. Some provide "business addresses 150 to 300 miles away from the marks home and propose to drop off the equipment or bees while on a delivery run. The "provided" home address are fraudulent (and are scattered around the country). The offer of delivery seems to be associated with Marks which insist on using a refundable system (such as Paypal) and delay the delivery date using a plethora of excuses until the "refundable" time-window closes.
Some of "apparently normal" participant "nyms" which pimp the fraudulent pages have spent the last 9 months or so obtaining membership in hundreds of local beekeeping FB groups. Some of the pimps have had gaps in their account privacy, which I have used to collect the network of nyms involved. The nyms are relatively few and interlocking-- all leading back to the Cameroon fraud. The pimp "nyms" are active on American and Australian forums (verified by the "welcome new members" posts which Google archives). They also have membership in "Native Bee" groups in the US, driven by apparent misunderstanding of the relationship of Native Bees and Honeybees.
I am not describing the "red flags" as (at least on FB) the scammers are actively monitoring responses, and I don't want to tip off the "tells" I am using. The scammers are also active selling goats, fancy chickens, and mobile dimension sawmills using the same basic MO.
One of the most prolific Cameroon Pimps promoting an established "Advance Fee" fraud page. 01/10/23 "Stephanie" has joined hundreds of local FB Bee groups."
I’ve gone back and forth with colleagues about taking deposits (or not). Many of them take deposits as folks order nucs then ghost or change their minds when the nucs are ready.

I do not take deposits as that would totally keep me up at night.

I would advise folks to buy local nucs/queens/gear. If that’s not possible, get them from an established producer with plenty of reviews, or someone your friends or family have dealt with.
 

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I’ve gone back and forth with colleagues about taking deposits (or not). Many of them take deposits as folks order nucs then ghost or change their minds when the nucs are ready.

I do not take deposits as that would totally keep me up at night.

I would advise folks to buy local nucs/queens/gear. If that’s not possible, get them from an established producer with plenty of reviews, or someone your friends or family have dealt with.
The problem with deposits is when you don't know who you are dealing with, and they insist on zelle, or another basically non refundable transfer form, and they have no address, or the address is phony. They're in Camaroon with your money. Buy local is the only way I have ever bought bees. I have bought equipment from Dadant and Mann Lake but they have addresses
 

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The problem with deposits is when you don't know who you are dealing with, and they insist on zelle, or another basically non refundable transfer form, and they have no address, or the address is phony. They're in Camaroon with your money. Buy local is the only way I have ever bought bees. I have bought equipment from Dadant and Mann Lake but they have addresses
I agree you need a physical address so you can go knock on a door if the need arises. I have a local guy that sells and stocks everything except queen-rearing equipment. There’s one in most neighborhoods if you look.
 

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this fraud is rampant across the board on all products, anything that there is a shortage on, some fake website sets up to sell whatever the product is at a cheap price and only accepts one of the non refundable payment platforms out there..dont buy anything from anyone that doesnt accept a major credit card unless you know them personally....
W.C. Fields said it the best" a fool born every minute and two to take em"...
 
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