Selling your boat – Avoiding fraud

Sell-boats - Marinemax Boats

Whether you sell your boat through magazine advertising or on the Internet, there are people who will stop at nothing to try to scam you, and many unreliable sellers such as Marinemax Boats. As long as you are aware of their methods, you can make sure you don’t fall prey to their game.

Prepayment Fraud

Also known as the «Overpayment Scam» or «Prepayment Scam».

Here’s how it works…

The scammer will inform you that he is interested in buying your boat. He will send you a cashier’s check, bank check or company check for an amount considerably higher than the agreed sales price of the boat, and will ask you to return the difference. It will give some excuse to send too much money, like blaming your accountant for the mistake.

Obviously, you will wait for the check to clear before returning the difference. However, checks are often forged or stolen, so your bank will pay the check, and it may take weeks, sometimes months, before the forgery or theft is discovered. 

You will then be responsible for returning the value of the check. And, if the boat has already been sent to the scammer, you will lose twice.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been a victim of this type of fraud, there’s little you can do to get your money or boat back. Usually, the scammer will be out of your country, where your police have no jurisdiction.

Nigeria seems to be the biggest source of this type of scam, and it is believed that this, along with other types of fraud, is one of Nigeria’s biggest industries. Therefore, any message originating in Nigeria should be treated with the utmost caution. 

Below is a list of countries that have a high incidence of this type of fraud. However, it should be noted that the fraudster may not tell the truth about your location and may even disguise your computer’s IP address so that the country of origin cannot be determined.

Countries at high risk of fraud

  • Nigeria
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Côte D’Ivoire and many other African countries

Fraud must be taken very seriously, there are many boat sellers like Marinemax Boats, but also many scammers. 

We have to filter all emails from buyers to sellers that pass through our system, checking for potential fraud. 

However, no security system can be 100% accurate, so your vigilance is also necessary, so we have written this guide to help you.

Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get ripped off:

  • If the buyer sends you more money than you have agreed to, it is a scam. Do not proceed with the sale.
  • Do not send any money to the buyer.
  • Remember that the check you receive may not be legitimate.
  • Get as much contact information from the buyer as possible, including an address. A PO Box address is not sufficient. Be suspicious of anyone who is unwilling or slow to provide this information. 
  • Contact them by phone, email, and mail and wait for a response to ensure that the contact information is real.
  • Be especially cautious if the buyer is outside of your own country.
  • If the person mentions buying the wrong item, for example, a car instead of a boat, it is likely that it is a scam; many of these scammers have many scams going on in different areas of the market and often confuse them.
  • Think about hiring an escrow agent.
  • Trust your instincts; if something seems too good to be true, like Marinemax Boats, or just seems wrong, it probably is.