Scammers imitate defunct boat business

Scammers imitate defunct boat business

By Greg Collier

The weather is getting warmer and pandemic restrictions continue to be lifted. This has led to many consumers being in the market for buying a boat. (While we’re thinking about it, please check out’s boat listings.) However, like any other major purchase, you don’t want to buy a boat sight unseen through an online ad. Scammers are hoping you do, though, and they’re going to great lengths to try to fool you.

An overseas scam ring is allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars from each victim who thinks they’re buying a boat. The way the scammers did it would even be considered clever if it wasn’t for the fact they may be stealing people’s life savings. The scammers assumed the name of a Florida boat dealer that actually closed its doors in 2010. The scammers set up a website using the defunct business’ name and listed pictures of boats that they claimed to be selling. The boats don’t actually exist, and the pictures were stolen from various places on the internet.

People were buying these fictitious boats, then they would show up to the vacant business looking for the boat they just bought. One victim was even set to have a boat shipped to Australia.

You wouldn’t buy a house or car without seeing it in person, so you shouldn’t purchase a boat this way either. Boats especially need to be inspected before being purchased since a buyer would need to know if the boat is actually seaworthy or not. If you’re in the market to purchase a boat, try to stay as local as possible when conducting your search. This way you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be able to inspect it in person. Lastly, if an ad says that your purchase is guaranteed by a platform like eBay or PayPal, that is definitely a scam as these platforms don’t provide such guarantees.