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Scammer on Gear Swap board
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Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/25/2013 20:12:42 MDT Print View

I was recently scammed in my search for a Tarptent Stratospire 2 and figured I would alert everyone on BPL in order to help anyone else avoid the same fate. The guy's name is William Park (at least that what he goes by) and his email is The weird thing is I contacted him after getting his name from someone else on the board, instead of the other way around. Against my best judgement I sent him a money order (stupid I know) instead of Paypal. I also figured out that he's using one of Franco Darioli's pictures of the tent that I was unable to find anywhere on here or on Google. Only reason I figured out it was Franco's was by examining his backyard fence in other pictures. Anyways, just wanted to alert everyone in the off chance that he contacts them with offers to any WTB threads.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/25/2013 20:40:01 MDT Print View

That blows. How long has it been since you had contact. sent the MO?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Anybody Else? on 05/25/2013 20:54:17 MDT Print View

That stinks.

Anybody else have this problem?

Edit - I took out something that I thought MIGHT come across in a way that would make an innocent partly look suspicious. Nothing to see there.

I've never been scammed here but all my purchases were from members that had been here a long time. Someone interested in a quick scam is unlikely to spend three years discussing gear just to scam me out of $80 or so.

Edited by Cameron on 05/25/2013 21:19:45 MDT.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Contact on 05/25/2013 21:05:17 MDT Print View

I've actually been in contact with him within the last day. I sent the money order on the 10th and it was cashed last Friday. He's saying he's sick and hasn't been able to leave the house and mail it. That's the weird thing. Once you get your money why ever even answer my emails? Who knows what the motivation is. I told him I'd inform the apartment complex I sent the money order to that a mail fraud scheme was being run out of their complex so maybe that's why he still answering me.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/25/2013 21:08:20 MDT Print View

I imagine scammers are quick to cash out and break all communication. This person waited a good ten days to cash your money order? Doesn't seem to fit the mold. Anyway, hope springs eternal... maybe you will get your tent -- just taking an annoyingly longer time?

Also, curious, was this sale posted on our forum? Or was the transaction made 'offline'?

Edited by ben2world on 05/25/2013 21:12:09 MDT.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Wasn't that great of a deal on 05/25/2013 21:10:43 MDT Print View

Luke, that's another weird thing about it. It wasn't that great of a deal. $250 for a $330 tent so I'd figured I'd buy used and save a bit of money. It's not like he was trying to attract someone with a really great price. Plus I got his name and email from another member instead of him finding me. I did have reservations but tried to make sure it wasn't too good to be true. I had him send me pics of the tent set up and back checked them against hundreds of Google images. Only after a week of waiting was I able to make the connection between the fence in the pictures and the once in most of Franco's pics.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Originally a WTB thread on 05/25/2013 21:13:17 MDT Print View


I originally posted a WTB thread for the tent but never got any offers. I found another WTB thread from someone else who said they got two offers and bought one of them. I PM'd the author seeing if I could get the info for the other guy who offered him the tent that he didn't buy. He got back to me with Mr. Park's email and everything went from there.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Odd on 05/25/2013 21:14:55 MDT Print View

That's the weird thing. Why keep up the contact once you have the money? Can't really understand the motivation to do so so that's the only thing that keeps my hopes up.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Originally a WTB thread on 05/25/2013 21:15:03 MDT Print View

I see. After reading your subsequent post above, I revised mine...

Anyway, I hope your tent will show up... my hunch is that it will... eventually.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Forgot to mention on 05/25/2013 21:16:19 MDT Print View

Also forgot to mention that he had me send the money order to an Ann Hogue. Another curious thing that made me nervous but sadly didn't stop me. So definitely look out for that name as well if you get an offer on an item from them.

Ben Smith
(goosefeet) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/25/2013 21:18:10 MDT Print View

I put up a WTB for some Gray 10d - William Park responded that he had some available. I replied back, but I have not heard back. I'll make sure that I don't send him any money!

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Great on 05/25/2013 21:28:18 MDT Print View

Glad to see I helped someone. I also saw someone else on another WTB TT SS2 thread say someone contacted him about selling one and wanting a money order. I let him know my story and he told me it was indeed Mr. Park. Based on that I contacted Mr. Park under a different name and email and he offered the tent to me again. That's when I let him know he was caught and he got back to me saying he had an agent or something that could get him another one for my fake guy. Another telltale sign was his English wasn't great so beware anyone that fits that bill. Another classic warning sign I ignored but I wasn't necessarily expecting a Korean scammer, maybe Nigerian.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Great on 05/25/2013 21:54:42 MDT Print View

Hi Dustin,

Did the guy have much of a history on Bpl?

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Couldn't find a profile on 05/25/2013 21:58:07 MDT Print View


I couldn't find a profile for him. I was given his email by another member and am unsure whether he got it through PM. I would guess that would have to be the case and will PM the other member and see what his profile was.

Edited by dsmith87 on 05/25/2013 21:58:43 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/25/2013 23:14:59 MDT Print View

What city is the scammer's mailing address in?

You should contact the postal service. It's mail fraud.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Austin, TX on 05/26/2013 06:33:42 MDT Print View

I sent the money order to an address in Austin, TX. And I will be filing a mail fraud complaint with the Postal Inspection Service. Both my grandfather and uncle were Federal Postal Inspectors and my cousin is a postmaster so hopefully that'll encourage them to take the case more serious than normal.

Cody Bartz
(codybartz) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
scam on Tarptent SS2 on 05/26/2013 07:46:29 MDT Print View

I was scammed as well. Luckily, I was able to cancel my payment before he was able to cash it.

I originally put out a post on gear swap to find a Tarptent StratoSpire 2. I had two people respond, one was Randy Worth and the other was William Park. I first chose Randy Worth, as his was the better deal. Randy sent me a StratoSpire 1 on accident, not realizing that is what he had. So I was refunded by Randy Worth, and I returned the tent to him.

Then I contacted William Park to see if he still had the StratoSpire 2 available. He said he did and we went forward with the deal. We had agreed on $235. I also was a bit weary of his English. He sent me 4 stock photos from the Tarptent website. He said he was located in Texas, but had me send the money to Shirley Alvarez in California. All signs that I decided to look past.

!!! >>> everyone please beware of William Park. email address

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: scam on Tarptent SS2 on 05/26/2013 08:27:44 MDT Print View

Sorry to hear what happened guys, I hope you get your cash back.

William Lotman
(wl1193) - F

Locale: East Bay
Scam on 05/26/2013 09:18:39 MDT Print View

Go to and type in the address and or phone number. You can get a lot of info on whether its a home or business, sometimes who lives at the address and whether the phone number is land line or cell phone etc. It is free.

Whenever you send a money order etc to a third party at a different address than the person who it's for - run away. Don't do the deal.

scam on 05/26/2013 10:52:26 MDT Print View

Sad to see there is that kind of thing here. Hope you get some resolution.

I guess we all need to pay attention to anything signs out of ordinary.

Lots of transactions take place with stock photos, or no photos. Its just quicker and easier that way. Most know what they want, what it looks like, and trust other members here to not be dishonest.

Getting a current photo, with recent newspaper (dated) in the photo is a good way to verify the seller at least has the item. I dont think a legitimate seller would mind providing that, I know I wouldnt.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: scam on 05/26/2013 10:58:25 MDT Print View

PayPal non-gift is the way to go. It covers both parties for fraud and charge backs.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Re: scam on 05/26/2013 11:15:38 MDT Print View

I send PayPal gift if the seller has a decent posting history on Bpl (not just on gear swap) if the person does not I will send Non gift.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Stock photos on 05/26/2013 12:06:16 MDT Print View

He initially sent me stock photos and I didn't think much of it. I've seen people do it on here before. Only after I initially get uncomfortable with the money order did I ask him for a real pic. Sadly didn't think to ask for a newspaper even though I'd seen it done. I'd just grown to trust people through this site. After he sent the photo and I wasn't able to find it on google pics I had my fears calmed a bit. And then I analyzed Franco's pics a but more and realized he had used one of them that I wasn't able to find. At least Cody was able to cancel the money order once I got ahold of him.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
x on 05/26/2013 12:13:59 MDT Print View

Once you start dealing with total internet strangers you will get screwed.Even though most here are or were total strangers with one another there is a history you can review and people have submitted personal credit card info to become members so there is less anonymity.The seller isnt a member here so that is a huge red flag.

I hope Dustin gets his money back.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: x on 05/26/2013 13:08:10 MDT Print View

My dog was once sent a credit card in the mail.

Having a credit card does not suddenly mean you are ethical, nor does having a membership (I had mine for 6 years). The key take away is pay by Paypal only and not the gift option to be fully a protected.

I hope you get your tent or cash back.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: scam on 05/26/2013 14:04:18 MDT Print View

"Sad to see there is that kind of thing here. Hope you get some resolution."

My understanding is that the alleged scammer (Park) is NOT a BPL member -- or at least not a poster here on this forum. OP (Dustin) posted this warning to alert and provide us with a name and an email addy because this person apparently has had contact with at least one other forum member.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Scammer on Gear Swap board on 05/26/2013 14:06:15 MDT Print View

It's generally not a good idea to buy something from someone who only has a few posts.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
..... on 05/26/2013 14:34:41 MDT Print View


Edited by johnk on 05/26/2013 22:08:45 MDT.

Dustin Smith

Locale: Bethesda, MD
Nuance on 05/26/2013 19:31:20 MDT Print View

Just wanted to make people aware that I'm pretty sure the scammer is targeting WTB threads where the OP posts to contact them by email. Since it doesn't appear that he's a member this would be the only way he could run his scam. Not to discourage anyone to make such a thread as I know some hate the PM system but figured I would make everyone aware.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
The End is Near on 05/26/2013 20:44:15 MDT Print View

The end is near first Balls and Sunshine get ripped off, then Dustin.

Second look at lynchings anyone?

John Vogel

Locale: East Bay
Scam is scam on 05/26/2013 20:59:40 MDT Print View

Just goes to show that if it doesn't feel right. It isn't Trust your gut, ignore the need or want. Sorry you are dealing with this. Perhaps you will get lucky and the tent shows up

But don't give up on your fellow man....I have personally stuck cash in an envelope and mailed it to folks on of all things, a Craigslist add....and the product still showed up. I bought my bear canister and trekking poles this way just last month. I don't know, maybe I just have dumb luck...or is just dumb, I don't know.

I have had nothing but good experiences buying from the members on this
forum....maybe we can start a fund to help you replace your lost money, i know it sucks to get robbed. Now that I think about, how about you pm or email me your address, I will donate a 20 to start it off

JP Hiker
an idea on 05/26/2013 21:06:08 MDT Print View

I've been on other boards that the moderators had the option of making a topic a "sticky" where the post remained at the top of the other posts. I was wondering if there was a way this could remain towards the top. So, others could be made aware of shady characters.

Jared Baker
(simply_light) - MLife

Locale: Midwest, US
Cover yourself on 06/11/2013 12:49:28 MDT Print View

I've been scammed so many times on ebay, that I am always leary of buying something that I cannot walk out of a store with it in my hand.

That being said, I cannot walk into my local walmart and get the gear I am looking for. And the best prices are always on used gear here on BPL.

Before I buy anything, I always check and see their profile. They need to be active on a regular basis. It is helpful if they post in multiple forums besides Gear Swap, but not necessary as long as they have a track record of selling, with no bad comments or feedback.

Also, I never send cash, check, money order. Paypal only. If it is a small item, that I don't mind losing my money on, I don't mind doing the gift option. But if it is anything I would be upset if I got scammed over, I do Paypal standard.

I've passed on a lot of deals here in the past few months, just because I did not feel comfortable(new members posting thousands of dollars of gear for sale, or someone not active for many years, all of the sudden has half a dozen big ticket items up for sale). Not saying they are scammers, I'm just not comfortable with the situation. So, I pass and hope the next one works out.

BPL is a great resource and it is a shame that scammers have to steal from us instead of actually contributing.

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Local in-person sales? on 06/11/2013 16:06:20 MDT Print View

I've never bought and sold on gearswap here, but I've done lots of furniture/tools via Craigslist and bought/sold firearms via online classifieds, where you need to meet in person for the transaction to take place. I much prefer this scenario for big ticket items, where I can inspect the item before handing over money. Just wondering whether anyone ever sets up in-person sales rather than via mail? Or is it that there sin't quite enough supply/demand to warrant local sub-forums for used UL gear?

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
In lieu of face to face... on 06/11/2013 17:14:33 MDT Print View

Get on the phone w/ the seller.

If there's any doubt, any suspicion, have a real conversation, on the phone [the old fashioned way!].

C'mon people, take a big breath and step THRU that Veil of Anonymity the internet provides, step back in time, and have a phone chat. This would allow you to ask the seller plenty of questions about the item, detailed ones especially, and the item's history, and so on. If the seller's motives are unpure, don'tcha think you could gather enough clues in a brief phone call quiz?

We all still know how to get on the phone don't we?
And we all have instincts & common sense right?
Just sayin...

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: In lieu of face to face... on 06/11/2013 18:32:59 MDT Print View

Someone Pm'd me about an item I had for sale last week and asked could we talk on the phone, I called him and spent 30 minutes chatting with him and told him he needed a different product :-)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
In lieu of face to face... on 06/11/2013 18:54:59 MDT Print View

I've sold a few un-needed items, helped me get gear I can use, glad I could sell the gear as it was not being used.
Unrelated to selling. I joined a bp trip to Alaska a few years ago, no one knew of me, I called the organizer and had a 15 minute chat with him, no bragging, just mentioned my years being out, he had no issues. Some of the other folks were wondering about me as I had a few questions, of course, I'd never been to Alaska, I'm going to have questions.

Jade Willcoxon
(H2Oboy) - M

Locale: Midwest
Keeping this one current.... on 06/12/2013 23:12:15 MDT Print View

Just want to keep this post on top to make sure everyone is aware of, and watching out for, this scumbag.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
WTB ads on 06/13/2013 11:34:38 MDT Print View

There are SO many of these. For $30 items that are in stock. I get tired of wading through them to see what's for sale, so .... maybe this will cut back on a few. At the very least if your WTB ad results in a non-member communique ... run, don't walk.

Guy Almodovar

Locale: USA
payments by MO on 06/13/2013 12:24:45 MDT Print View

I am getting to the point myself of not paying anyone unless it is Pay-pal. I always list my phone number for the seller to contact me if needed. Surprisingly many do not call. Small ticket items I don't mind but large ones I look at history on the seller. How long has he been a member, feedback if available if not another site that feedback can be verified. I have been on line buying and selling personal items for about 10 years and so far so good. I imagine one day I will get scammed but not yet. Anyway I hope you guys get your item or money back. Good day.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: payments by MO on 06/13/2013 12:45:34 MDT Print View

In got scammed twice on ebay, once about 10 years ago and once 2 years ago, neither Paypal nor ebay woudl help out as it was outside the 60 day complaint period.

Since then I have only bought from ebay if I cannot get the it anywhere else.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: WTB ads on 06/13/2013 12:49:05 MDT Print View

>>There are SO many of these. For $30 items that are in stock. I get tired of wading through them

I would rather get a used item, knowing that the previous owner was not using it, than buy a new item. It's not about trying to get something for cheap, it's about trying to recycle a bit instead of letting detritus accumulate in people's closets. I'm sure others are the same way.

Jennifer Stephenson

Locale: Midwest
Paypal is not enough... on 06/17/2013 07:17:28 MDT Print View

Sadly, Paypal is not enough these days. I recently purchased a $35 item though a very professional looking website. I trusted it because I could use Paypal to pay for my item. Unfortunately, the scammer purchased an online USPS mailing label with no delivery confirmation yet did not ship the item. A few weeks went by with no response from the seller. So, when we filed a Paypal complaint, Paypal sided with the seller because he had proof of shipment even though he never actually put the item in the mail. Bah! I'm just glad it was only $35.

(smoke) - F
Paypal not as great as some think! on 06/17/2013 12:42:19 MDT Print View

If you use Paypal to buy an item that's "used", you're pretty much screwed if you have issues with the condition of the item. That's my biggest issue with buying off any forum, BPL included.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Paypal is not enough... on 06/17/2013 16:35:52 MDT Print View

Interesting. PayPal used to require sellers to ship via a method with delivery confirmation. Has that changed?

I know I typically only accept Paypal gift payments for shipping internationally if the buyer isn't willing to pay the astronomical costs to ship priority.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Paypal is not enough... on 06/17/2013 19:11:47 MDT Print View

I have never had a problem with PayPal and have had 3 items reimbursed. Getting the money back wasn't super fast. Of course one needs to be a smart buyer. If I am unfamiliar with a seller, I usually use a credit card because I can cancel the payment if I get ripped-off.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Paypal is not enough... on 06/17/2013 19:21:35 MDT Print View

"I usually use a credit card because I can cancel the payment if I get ripped-off."


I use a "net only" card for stuff.
I can cancel payment with one phone call.
If my card gets hacked my "personal card" doesn't suffer.

Edited by greg23 on 06/17/2013 19:24:03 MDT.

Doug Wolfe
Re: scam on Tarptent SS2 on 06/23/2013 09:04:33 MDT Print View

Randy Worth is a solid dude I've done probably 1000$ worth of sales and trades with him off mountain project. Never had a trade or sale go bad. And actually I traded him my ss2 for some cams maybe 2 years ago. Figured I throw that our there