Our little hobby has become infested with thieves as the value of watches and parts ever increase. This phenomenon is not limited to the VRF, it is across the board for the industry and is growing rather than abating.
Because we moderate FS ads before they are posted we have almost eliminated theft attempts by the bad guys. The big problem is WTB (Want To Buy) ads. This is the only area in which we cannot exercise even a little control because the contacts are between thief and buyer. Most attempts are crude as you would expect from people of limited talents but they only have to win once whereas our buyers have to win every time.
The usual attempts involve stealing pictures from our forum or another one that fits whatever it is you are looking for and offering it to you, usually at a very good price. The normal request is for payment by Western Union or other untraceable cash service. If you push for more info they will usually fade back under their rock to wait for the next victim. Remember, they don't have to be good just lucky.
Recently, they have begun stealing the identity of known sellers, even going to the trouble to get a fake email address close to the actual person's address. This is disturbing for a couple of reasons. It means they are hanging around our forum long enough to become familiar with our sellers and worst of all, they are going to this effort because they are being successful. Among other character flaws, thieves are terminally lazy, they are here because they are "winning".
Starting today contact information will not be allowed in WTB ads.
You must remove your email address and and no contact information in the ad either. Sellers must post under your ad and leave their contact information for you to use. Yes, the thief might go to the trouble of looking you up in other posts and contacting you directly but most likely, they will move on to easier prey which is the point of the exercise. Frankly, it isn't the known posters I worry about, it's the occasional user who seems to be at the greatest risk.
The thieves will never post on the forum, it gives us access to their IP info and a means to chase their sorry butts down. It will completely eliminate the identity theft scam because every seller is on the Market every day and would notice someone using their name.
The mod team kicked this around over the last week or so and although it isn't a perfect system we think it will make it just hard enough for the thieves to move on to greener pastures. We apologize for the inconvenience but we absolutely must address this growing threat.
NO CONTACT INFORMATION OF ANY KIND IN A WTB.
SELLERS MUST LEAVE THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE BUYER TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THEM.
WTB CONTAINING CONTACT INFORMATION WILL BE DELETED