Selling a boat


Whether you are selling your boat via advertising in magazines or on the internet, there are people out there that will stop at nothing to try to con you. As long as you are aware of their methods, you can make sure that you don’t fall prey to their game.

The Advance Fee Fraud

Also known as the "Overpayment Scam" or "Advance Payment Scam".

Here's how it works...
The fraudster will inform you that they are interested in purchasing your boat. He will send a cashier’s cheque, banker's draft or business cheque for considerably more than the agreed sale price of the boat, and will ask you to send the difference back. He will give some excuse for sending too much money, such as blaming the error on his accountant.

Obviously, you would wait for the cheque to clear before you sent back the difference. However, the cheques are usually forged or stolen so your bank will honour the cheque, and it may be weeks, sometimes months before the forgery or theft is discovered. You will then be liable for paying back the value of the cheque. And, if the boat has already been shipped to the con-artist, you lose out twice.

Unfortunately, if you have been a victim of this type of fraud, there is little you can do to get your money or your boat back. Usually, the con-man will be outside of your country, where your police have no jurisdiction.

Nigeria seems to be the biggest source of this type of deception, and this, along with other types of fraud are thought to be one of the largest industries in Nigeria. Therefore any messages originating from Nigeria should be treated with the utmost of caution. Below is a list of countries that have a high incidence of this kind of fraud. However, you should be aware that the scammer may not tell the truth about their location and may even disguise the IP address of their computer so that the originating country cannot be determined.

High risk scam countries

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

 Here are a few pointers to help ensure you don't get scammed:

  • If the buyer sends you more money than you have agreed on, it could very well be a scam. Do not proceed with the sale until you have the correct funds in  your bank account or with escrow agent.
  • Do not send any money back to the buyer except under terms of contract.
  • Request Bank Transfers of  Funds. Remember the cheque 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 good enough. Be very suspicious of anyone who is unwilling or delays in providing this information. Contact them by telephone, e-mail, post and await a reply to make sure the contact details are real.
  • Be extra cautious if the buyer is outside of your own country.
  • If the person mentions the purchase of the wrong item e.g. a car instead of a boat, it is probably a scam; many of these scammers have many scams on the go in different market areas and often get them mixed up.
  • Think about enlisting the services of an escrow agent.
  • Insist on down payment(10%) prior to Sea trial or Survey
  • Trust your gut instincts; if something seems too good to be true, or just seems wrong, it probably is. provides this guide for informational purposes only and cannot accept responsibility for losses arising from its use.