A fishing boat purchase turned into a nightmare scam for Glenn Rowe, who was duped by an online fraudster posing as a seller on waterfly.co.uk.
Mr Rowe, 65, wanted to buy a fishing boat and came across waterfly.co.uk, a website that seemed reputable and trustworthy. He found a boat that suited his needs and started speaking with the seller, Alexander Musto. Hoping to verify the legitimacy of the website, Mr Rowe looked on Companies House and saw that Waterfly was a registered UK company.
After speaking for some time, Mr Rowe felt confident that the seller was genuine. The pair exchanged over 30 emails and even spoke on the phone several times. The seller claimed that the boat was currently located in Germany and sent some 20 images of it. While Mr Rowe was initially hesitant at the prospect, the seller advised that the shipping fees for the fishing boat would be £600 to transport from Germany to a port near Mr Rowe’s location in the UK.
Mr Rowe agreed to pay more than £15,000 for the boat and tried to make a payment through his bank, but found the transfer blocked. He then attempted to pay half of the amount upfront. He transferred £8,496 from his account without any issue or question, despite the previous alert from his bank.
Mr Rowe received an email confirming his payment and giving him a delivery date, leading him to believe that the sale was legitimate and that he had nothing to worry about. He waited patiently for the delivery date when he was told that the boat would arrive in the evening. However, when the time came and passed, he reached out to the seller for help and was told that the transport had broken down in Germany and that the delivery would be delayed.
After several days of waiting and with no updates on the shipping status, Mr Rowe once again contacted the seller who promised a refund. But the refund never arrived.
Mr Rowe contacted the Waterfly website through a different channel and found out that the invoice he received was fake and that someone had impersonated Waterfly Boats to scam him.
Getting money back from a fishing boat purchase scam
Upon discovering the fishing boat scam, Mr Rowe reached out to CEL Solicitors for help recovering his lost money and spoke with our fraud and scam department.
After listening to his explanation and accepting his case, we were able to recover the full £8,496 lost to the scam.
Speaking on vehicle purchase scams, Paul Hampson, Chief Executive at CEL Solicitors said: “Purchasing a vehicle is always a stressful and expensive thing to do, and it is normal to shop around for the best deal you can get. When you’re buying a vehicle online, whether that’s a car or a boat, it’s extra important to see the vehicle first and to test drive and make sure that the vehicle is real and working, and that the seller/sales platform/dealership is legitimate and able to help in the event something goes wrong.
“If you have lost money to a purchase scam you should know that all hope is not lost, even if you feel that it was your fault. You should first contact your bank as well as the police/Action Fraud and explain the situation to them. If they are unable or unwilling to help you get your money back, then you can progress to legal action using a firm like CEL Solicitors.”