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Notice: All trades or sales resulting from postings on these bulletin boards are private transactions between individuals--the Maj Exchange website is simply a listing point for those who wish to make such trades and is no way involved in any transactions, nor may it be held responsible for any problems.


Mah-Jongg sellers and buyers, take note! Be advised that sometimes your "for sale" post (or even a "wanted" post) can get offers from scam artists who offer to buy your stuff but are really trying to rip you off. For example (actual emails):

    Subject: Enquiry
    From: Store Paloma
    Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008 3:37:13 PM
    To: [blank]
    I am sale representative of Paloma store located in Spain,we are
    dealing in buying and selling of goods.We want to purchase some items
    and we do not know if it available only if you can provide your
    website or cataloged for us to know the available product.The mode of
    our payment is by our company credit card and concerning the
    shipment,we are shipping the items to our stores located in
    Spain,Dubai and Japan,we have a freight forwarder which we were
    registered with ( I T C EXPRESS SHIPPING ) . The shipping's
    agent representative will come to your location for the pick up of the
    items as soon as we are through with the transaction and get it
    shipped to all our stores.I know there are lots of restrictions making
    it hard or even impossible for you to sell and get the items shipped
    out from your country that is the reason why we are using our
    forwarder. Do you accept credit card ? what type of credit card do you
    accept?. We are waiting anxiously to hear back from you .
    Anita Diego
    Sale representative.

(We received two such scams within a week...)

    Subject: inquiry
    From: timmy store
    Date: Saturday, September 6, 2008 4:28:33 PM
    To:tracyperryshairsalon.***; pizzaguy4560yahoo.***; agghmgyahoo.***; sunny592bellsouth.***; markmidstatealltel.***; jlbradyalpharesearchonline.***; greggolferhotmail.***; bbtsbellsouth.***; snn592wmconnect.***; rollingthunderllcyahoo.***; shulaarkansas.***; mgrasscox.***; Bumblelnbellsouth.***; BONNIEHESTERHOTMAIL.***; linndraol.***; tgreenlzdixie-net.***; shelleygreen65hotmail.***; drr_2001usyahoo.***; mackbyrayahoo.***; venoziaearthlink.***; garywalden7aol.***; WebmasterSloperama.***; wealthywolfhotmail.***; ileenqualitest-inc.***; minbrisbcglobal.***.; friedmancoearthlink.***; phenolicphenomyahoo.***.; RogerGHumaol.***; angelascraftssbcglobal.***;;;;; contactcompany.***; mstogoaol.***; strm_snwyahoo.***
    I am Beth the sale representative of Timmy store located in Poland,we are dealing in buying and selling of good product .We want to buy some items from you and we do not know if you have in your store or company only if you can give us your website or cataloged to view the available product.The mode of our payment is by our company credit card and concerning the shipment,we are shipping the items to our stores located in Japan,Poland and United Kingdom,we have a forwarder which we were registered with ( I T C EXPRESS SHIPPING ) . Our shipping's agent representative will come to your location for the pick up of the items as soon as we are through with the transaction and get it shipped to all our stores.I know there are lots of restrictions making it hard or even impossible for you to sell and get the items shipped out from your country that is the reason why we are using our forwarder. Do you accept credit card ? what type of credit card do you accept?. We are waiting anxiously to hear back from you .
    Beth Febian
    Sale representative.

(The dummy above mass-mailed his scam to numerous posters on these bulletin boards - including the scammer email addresses below!)

    From: micheal makr
    Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:37 AM
    Subject: ur item posted for sales
    I Saw your Ads on the net so i will like to know if you still want to sell it.But i read the present condition and price and i want you to tell me if there is any other explanation you have that is not on the ads tell me and let me know the exact last price you will sell it to me and do get back to me with the pics if you have any one available.Hope you get back to me. Regards..

(Gotta love the command of English!)

    From: "helen wilton"
    Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 6:55 AM
    Subject: Intersted in your item for sale..................
    > Hello
    >      its my pleasure to contact you , I am smith gary a busniess man base in london i saw your advert for sale and i am intersted to purchase the item from you. I want you to understand that i am makeing an Urgent order and also an Urgent payment  bcos the item is Needed urgently. I will like you to give me details about the last price for the Item and the Present condition as i am willing to buy the item .
    > I want you to understand the Urgency of the item so i want you to understand that i have Instucted my client in usa who is owning me the sum of $10,000 to send you the payment fast . so i request this information below.
    > Full name
    > Address
    > Zipcode
    > State
    > Country
    > Phone .
    > I want you to know that i will foward this detail to my client and he will send you payment for the item
    > Note: that once you have received the payment kindly deposit it in your account once it clear you are to reduct the cost of the item and send the balance to my shipping company who will come and pick up the item at your location .
    > I want to know if you are willing to sell the item to me as i will await for the requested detail from you so that my asscoiate can issue the payment today .
    > Thanks for the mail
    > Smith gary

(Helen AKA Smith also wrote, from a different email address):

    >From: "Smith Gary" -
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 4:32 PM
    >Subject: Intersted in your item for sale ........................
    >Hello, Gooday and how are you doing today,I saw your advert dvertised at site while i want you to know that i have my interest in buying your item, While i want you to make it known to me if this is still available and also the final sale price including the present term and condition and it's pics... Thanks and keep waiting to read from you asap.....stay bless. cheer

(Don Opp, AKA Smith Gary, AKA Helen Wilton, is obviously a scammer. I hope any readers who sell mah-jongg merchandise know better than to sell him anything.)

    To: SSSloperamacom
    Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 5:13 PM
    Subject: Item for sale@
                    Am interetsed on this item and am willing to buy it now so let me know if the item is still available for sell and the pix, condition including the last asking price of the item okay...So let me hear from you.....

(And another actual email from 2005):

    Name = BEN
    Email =
    Items for sale =
    My name is ben johnson the sales Rep. of ben Stores Limited. We
    will love to process an international order from your store which we need it
    shipped directly to our client in west africa (Nigeria). All payments would be made through the Credit Card We will want to know if you do ship internationally. We will
    be awaiting your soonest response. Please reply back so we can list the products needed.
    Kindest Regards.
    ben johnson
    Note: Kindly include your website or the list if the available item in stock.

(Communication with a real seller in 2004 below.)

    From: [name withheld]
    Subject: bogis sale of tiles
    Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 17:50:24 -0700
    > I have a message on your sell bulliten board. I recieved an email from a man in the uk by the name of Femi Thomas. He wanted to buy several tiles from me and pay me with a cashers check for $2500. I was to take my $600 out and western union $1900 to a gentleman in Lagos, Nigiria. First of all the check came to me on saturday oct. 9, 2004. The envelope it was sent in came from Spain. The check was issued on a Commerece bank in Staten Island. I called the bank to verify the funds and told them how I got it. They said that no such check existed. I have been in contact with the FBI and have filled an internet fraud. Please post this man's name on your sight as a fraudulant buyer.

    Dear [Name withheld],
    I'm so sorry you were contacted by this con artist. I too received an offer from Femi Thomas (I assumed he was a she) to buy some tiles I'd offered for sale. He kept asking to buy stuff that I didn't have for sale, and was being very vague about shipping methods. I thought s/he was just a wacko. It never got to the point of sending me payment. If payment had been for more than the purchase amount, I would have returned it, because I've heard of this scam before
    I will certainly post this warning on the bulletin boards, but "Femi" can just use a different name. So the warning has to be more general. Beware of transactions in which the buyer wants to overpay you and have you refund the difference. He isn't buying merchandise, he's robbing you.
    It sounds like you were too smart to fall for his scheme. Good for you! - Tom
    Tom Sloper
    Seoul, S. Korea
    Oct. 14, 2004 (It's Thursday here but Wednesday in the US)

    Nigerian 419 scam

    >From: gina smith
    >To: MJ
    >Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2007 6:42 AM
    >Subject: from Gina Smith
    >Tom, I am not sure if this came through on Outlook or not,  If it is a repeat, please forgive me. G
    >Speaking of scammers, I have a great tale to share. I get an email from a man who claims to be an antiques dealer (world wide) who got my name off of your site. He says that he has a client who is interested in vintage Mah Jongg sets. Since I sell a variety, I sent him pictures of what was available. He picked out four of my best where the total was around $1800.00. He asks how I want to be paid, and I suggested Western Union, a certified/cashier’s check on an American Bank, or preferably PayPal. OK, here it comes. His client bought about $4500.00 worth of items in the USA. Wasn’t pleased with them. So he is going to send me a cashier’s check for $4500.00, I am to take my fee out of that, and then Western Union (by the way with Western Union, once you send money, it is gone) the balance to him – in Nigeria. With the four sets. So, I played him along for a while. Looked up the ISP address and found it was out of California. A check was mailed to me, with an address in Florida, but the bank was in Virginia. So I cashed it, informed my bank that it would probably bounce so that I wouldn’t get charged a fee, and waited. Three days later, it “cleared”. That means there was enough funds in MY accounts to cover the check. You have to wait another 10-12 days to find out if it clears the bank on the check. So believe it or not, I get a call from this guy with a heavy accent from what sounds like a basement boiler room, asking if I had sent him the cash and the sets. I told him, as I had in my previous dealings, that I wait until the check clears HIS bank. So with all this information, and phone number, I go to our local police and talk to the guy who is head of internet fraud. He said that this happens so frequently and people are falling for it in various capacities. Stocks, Bonds, inheritances, lotteries, hefty bank accounts where they can’t get the money out of the country without your help, etc. He turns over all information to the FBI. Interestingly enough, they have an internet fraud division, from what I was told, strictly for Nigeria! A ton of corruption. I live in a very sophisticated area near Princeton NJ. The police told me that one business exec in the area worked out a deal buying a very high end car in Germany, to be delivered to – yep, Nigeria, and the deal was he had to go over there, pay for it in cash and get it home. The deal was ridiculously inexpensive. Well, this exec went to Nigeria and they are still looking for him. Very scary. Apparently these scammers are very difficult to track down. Money gets wired through so many countries and the people are always on the move. People need to be very careful in their internet dealings. Gina.

    Hi Gina,
    There's a lot of information about the Nigerian 419 scam out there for anyone interested enough to just look around:

  • Learn more about it at Wikipedia -
  • Read the US State Dept Tips for Business Travelers to Nigeria -
  • Read the US State Dept brochure about the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud -
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center -
  • There's even a hit Nigerian song about 419 scamming, "I Go Chop Your Dollars" by Osofia - hear it and see the video at Listen for the line "You are the loser, I am the winner."

    I Go Chop Your Dollars

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    Cinco de Mayo, 2007

Would you like me to forward some more scam emails to you?

    From: "Ryan S
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 4:31 PM
    Subject: Hello Tom
    > Hey Tom I just wanted to know if you needed some more scam emails for
    > your page I have one if you would like me to forward it to you. It's
    > women from united kingdom that claim to be selling a table for 500 GBP

Sure, that'd be entertaining.

    From: Ryan
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:05 PM
    Subject: Part 1
    Begin forwarded message:

      From: Angela Ruffino (
      Date: February 11, 2009 1:17:45 AM HST
      To: Ryan
      Subject: automatic mahjong table
      I am Angela Ruffino from London United Kingdom,i came accross your advert on website that you are in need of the above subject stated,i just want to used this little words of mine to let you know that i have it for sale,and still in a good condition, if you need some pics of the item i can send them to you once i heard from you so we can bargain price and i will need your complete address for shipping purpose, please i only need a serious buyer and i do accept check payment ,international money order and western union money transfer,MoneyGram money Transfer and paypal and also let me know what method of payment you prefer..You can call me on +447024057349 or send me an email for further discussion

    From: Ryan
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:05 PM
    Subject: Part 2
    Begin forwarded message:

      From: Angela Ruffino
      Date: February 11, 2009 11:40:23 PM HST
      To: Ryan
      Subject: Hello
      MahJong/Mah Jong Table, auto tile shuffler and racking! include 2 sets (144 tiles) pro tiles. Drawers for chips.Heavy duty. weight 120kg, 240V power .Table playing area 90cmx90cm. Table height 75cm.Tile size: 38mmx27mmx19mmThe item is brand new in box. Self-assembly needed.I will be asking 400GBP and i will need to know your home address to calculate the shipping cost to your doorstep thanks and hope to hear from you soon

    --- On Wed, 2/11/09, Ryan wrote:
    From: Ryan
    Subject: Hello
    To: ""
    Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 8:39 PM
    I'm a serious buyer just waiting for something worth the
    while. I would loveto see pictures of the table if you would email them that would be perfect.I'm located in Kekaha Kauai, HI. Thanking you in advance. My number is [deleted]

    From: Ryan
    To: Tom Sloper
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:06 PM
    Subject: Part3
    Sent from my iPhone
    Begin forwarded message:

      From: Angela Ruffino
      Date: February 12, 2009 12:38:42 AM HST
      To: Ryan
      Subject: Hello again
      Thanks for your mail...I am so happy,because in my life,i have never do business with a military man..What type of military how you?I hope my question did not get you upset,Because i want my son to become a military,Because everybody is scared of a military person....I don't know what time to call you,because of the time difference..Shipping and insurance to your doorstep will cost 100GBP and that will be total of 500GBP..My mode of payment is by western union money transfer..As soon as your payment is receive,I will package to avoid scratch and i will ship and i will forward you the shipping tracking information,You are to wait for four business days for the table to deliver at your doorstep..
      For payment,You are to located any western union and give them my name and address below
      Receiver Name.........Angela Ruffino
      Address...................60 Hambalt Road. London. SW4 9EH
      Mobile Number.........+447024057349
      As soon as payment is transfer,You are to forward me the transfer details below
      Sender Name
      Mtcn Number
      Exact Money sent in Pounds
      As soon as i receive this information,I will ship the next day to your address and i will forward you the shipping tracking details thanks and is nice doing business with you

    --- On Thu, 2/12/09, Ryan wrote:
    From: Ryan
    Subject: Hello again
    To: ""
    Date: Thursday, February 12, 2009, 10:17 AM
    My address is: P.O. Box [deleted] Kekaha, Kauai 96752If you need more information just email me back the p.o box address is becauseI'm in the military and the base housing only has a mail center in case youwere wondering about it.Sent from my iPhone

    From: Ryan
    To: Tom Sloper
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:06 PM
    Subject: Part4
    Sent from my iPhone
    Begin forwarded message:

      From: Angela Ruffino
      Date: February 13, 2009 2:07:36 AM HST
      To: Ryan
      Subject: Hello again
      Hello Ryan,
      How are you doing and i hope you are doing fine..Did you get my last email to you and also let me know if you are still interested in buying my table thanks and get back to me urgently

    From: "Ryan
    To: "Tom Sloper"
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:09 PM
    Subject: Hello
    > Hey tom thanks for the reply I did the research on the first email I
    > googled the phone number given and it came up as a scam artist.

I don't follow, Ryan. You looked up the phone number and it said "Scam artist"?

    From: "Ryan
    Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 9:17 PM
    Subject: Hey
    > Yea this morning a number was calling me from a blocked number I was
    > at the gym so when got home I missed like 15 calls from a blocked
    > number. The blocked number called back I answered it was a Nigerian
    > sounding lady she talking just about send the money, the money. Hung
    > the phone up went to my emails had that 4th email in which she states
    > at the end saying send the money imediately. So I then typed the
    > number she gave me into google and it came up in google forum about
    > that phone number being connected with multiple scams.

Cool! Thanks for sharing, Ryan.
May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, CA (USA)
Friday the 13th, February, 2009

    From: "David Handerson" (
    To: Webmaster (at) Sloperama (dot)com
    Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 12:00 PM
    Subject: order request
    > Hello, i'll like to order this items listed from your store to my location in korea.however i want you to place me a total quote to this items including the shipping fees to the location provided.So i can effect payment and get them shipped to my apartment in the Address, 920, Mok-dong Yangchun-Ku. City, Seoul.Country, South Korea,MPostal/Zip Code, 158-050.So i will place you my card info so you charge fees for the items including shipping fees.So get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you

[Also an obvious scam email. Note that the "buyer" doesn't say what he wants to buy. And his address is outside my country. He's probably not really in "South Korea" (that's not what the citizens of South Korea call their country). By the way, I received no less than THREE identical emails from "David Handerson" within the space of 10 minutes. Oh, and of course "Handerson" sure looks like a typo to me... and, um, how many "Handersons" do you think live in Seoul? (^_^) ]

    From: eBay Member: trusted <>
    Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2009 2:59:05 AM
    Subject: trusted has sent a question about item
    eBay eBay sent this message from Patrick Cullen (trusted).
    For security reasons your registered name and email is not included. Learn more.
    This member has a question for you.
    eBay sent this message on behalf of an eBay member via My Messages. Responses sent using email will not reach the eBay member. Use the Respond button below to respond to this message. Learn More.
    Dear eBay member,
    Can you tell me if this product is still available and whether you accept PayPal? Would you be willing to ship to NJ (Morris County) ? Please let me know because I can pay you right now.
    Thanks, Patrick.
    - trusted
    Answer the question
    Item and user details
    Item URL:
    From User:
    trusted (164)
    100.0% Positive Feedback
    Member since Nov-23-98 in United States
    Location : NJ, United States
    Activity with trusted (last 90 days):I have bid on 0 items from trusted
    Activity with trusted (last 90 days):trusted has bid on 0 of my items
    This message was sent while the listing was active.trusted is a potential buyer.
    Marketplace Safety Tip Marketplace Safety Tip
    * Always remember to complete your transaction on eBay - it's the safer way to buy.
    * Keep your money safe - pay for items with cash or instant money transfer services, such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
    * Received a Second Chance Offer email? Double check that it's genuine: Second Chance Offer emails come directly from eBay and are shown in your email address.
    Learn More to protect yourself from spoof (fake) emails.
    Visit our Privacy Policy and User Agreement if you have any questions.
    You can report this message as unsolicited (spam/spoof) email.
    Copyright © 2009 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. eBay and the eBay logo are trademarks of eBay Inc. eBay Inc. is located at 2145 Hamilton Avenue,

[Scams can also seem to come from a trusted source like eBay, and don't always obviously involve a foreign location. This type of email comes complete with graphics and fonts just like the real thing (not shown here). Note that there's no eBay item number indicated here. If you happened to be selling stuff on eBay at the time you receive this, you'd seriously consider responding to this guy to see which item he's talking about. But WHY he'd have to ask if you're willing to ship to New Jersey...? When you have to wonder things like this, you're probably not just dealing with someone who's mentally defective - but also a scammer.]

    From: Prince David David (
    Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:38:55 AM
    Subject: order
    Good Day
    Am Mr.Prince David do you carry tiles in stock do you have this sizes
    Floor Tiles Size 30x 30x 2cm as well as the types of credit card yu
    accept for payment
    Prince David

[This guy is no prince. I roll my eyes and press "delete."]

Note the warning signs of a scam artist:

  1. It's hard to tell exactly what he wants to buy. He seems desirous of buying just any old thing. This vagueness would continue, should you email him back.
  2. "Smith gary" doesn't know how to tell a first name from a last name, and his email is actually from "Helen Wilton."
  3. "Mike Howie" has contacted other vendors to order mah-jongg merchandise (I heard from them, we compared notes) but apparently doesn't know anything about mah-jongg whatsoever.
  4. Odd that "Ben" says he'll pay by credit card - usually these guys want to pay by check, and the check turns out to be for more than the purchase amount, so they need the difference reimbursed (and that's where you lose money, because his check bounces). So I don't know what this guy's deal is - maybe bait and switch (saying now that he'll pay by credit card, but when it comes down to it, "oops can I pay you by check instead"), or maybe he has stolen credit card numbers. Or maybe he'll cancel the purchase once the merchandise is shipped.
  5. "Ben" mentioned Nigeria. Everybody is well familiar with the Nigerian scam, right? You've gotten those emails? The main business activity in Nigeria is, well, scams. You can look it up on the internet. The US gov't has warnings posted about doing business with anyone in Nigeria. Click here to read it.
  6. Frequently the buyer wants his order (usually a large amount of goods) shipped to some overseas location (not necessarily Nigeria). So what happens to the hapless seller is that the check is bad (or the credit card turns out to be bad) and a large amount of expensive inventory is now gone. Seller beware.