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Here's a cautionary tale for all those eBayers among you: if a Nigerian contacts you claiming to have stumped up for a successful auction bid and demands that you ship goods forthwith to Lagos, you'd better jump to it.

Otherwise, you might end up on the Metropolitan Police's "most wanted fugitives of the week" list, with your name shamefully plastered across the UK press. Our correspondent explains:

Just thought I had to share this one with you - a scammer won an ebay auction and then sent me a fake paypal receipt to try and get me to send the goods to Nigeria; I ignored them, obviously...but now they've got the police onto me!


From: metropolitan police <metropolitan@mail.usa.com>
Date: May 25, 2006 12:53 PM
Subject: WARNING..................Metropolitian Police ..............(uk)
To: xxxx@gmail

This is to inform you Mr XXXX that we have received a complaint in conjuction with PayPal about a payment made for an item bought from you recently, We received the complaint that the payment has since been approved and that you haven't taken the neccessary step which you are suppose to take in other for the payment to be transferred to you.

We are informed that you are suppose to make the shippment of the item to the buyer and send the tracking number to the payment company(PayPal) for shippment verification which is secure for interest of both the seller and the buyer from been scammed.

All your information has been forwarded to us and we have already contacted the nearest Metropolitian Police office nearer to your address about your case and they will immediately start the investigation.They may come to your home for more information about what happened and they may also require you to follow them to the station for more query.We have also forwarded your full contact information to the IFCC {Mr XXXX, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom} which you sent to the buyer for the payment to Internet Fraud Complaint Center(IFCC) about this case.

According to (Section 1001, Title 18, U.K. Code) of the criminal law quote,which says that and i quote "Unshipped paid merchandise must be sent to a six month Imprisonment".

So we implore you to go and make the shippment immediately and send the tracking number to the payment company(PayPal) which is safe and secure for making and receiving payment worldwide.We are assuring you that you are 100% safe with the payment and we will want you to go and make the shipment.Make sure you send the copy of the Royalmail tracking number to us immediately the shippment is made in other for us to cancel the complaint leveled on you.

Here is the shipping infomation which you are to ship the item to,

MR IBAJESOMO
UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS
DEPARMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
AKOKA
YABA
LAGOS
23401
NIGERIA

Note:88
If the shippment is not made in the next 72hrs of this message to you,we will immediately order your case permanent for proper investigation and immediately forward your full contact address to the press for publish.You are already among the Metropolitian Police most wanted Fugitives of this week for quick investigation and execution.But the only solution to remove you from the 10 most wanted fugitives is to follow the steps given to you and we assure you that you wont have any regret in making the shippment.

We hope to hear from you immediately you see this message for quick processing of your case or you will be immediately be prosecuted.We thank you for your cooperation

Thanks

The Metropolitian Police can be contacted twenty-four hours a day, every day. Here's how:

105 Reid Promenade, Joondalup,
6027
United Kingdom

MOTTO
The Metropolitian Police motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity."

Absolutely classic. God alone knows how long the Met have had an office in Australia, but it's reassuring to know the long arm of UK law extends across the globe in the international fight against eBay scammers.

The shipment address seems real enough, but Mr Ibajesomo doesn't appear in the University of Lagos's staff listing and a couple of calls to said institution turned up a blank.

All very mysterious, then, although one thing is certain: the 72-hour deadline has long expired and our man has not yet had his collar felt. Presumably the Met are too busy scouring Western Australia for poison suicide vests of terror to concern themselves with this most serious of matters. ®

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