DEAR ABBY: The price of the laptop computer I purchased on the Internet seemed too good to be true. That should have been my first clue. However, the seller seemed pleasant, had an excellent rating and great reviews.
Via e-mail, he said he was a reseller of computers and he had an excess of this model. According to him, the money would be safe in escrow through Western Union and he was affiliated with Safe Trading, a well-known online security company. I had 10 days to return the computer and get my money back if I wasn't completely satisfied. Otherwise, after 10 days, he would collect his money from escrow.
He was selling from Spain, but only once did I question him about possible problems. What an expert he was at saying the things I wanted to hear about his online accolades and e-mail references. I even apologized for implying that he might be capable of wrongdoing.
Well, my money is gone. The escrow and good reviews were fake. The issue is "being investigated."
Recovery will be difficult or impossible because the $1,000 was wired from my bank by me. This scammer was an expert, and I trusted him. -- SADDER BUT WISER
DEAR WISER: This may seem pessimistic, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true. I'm printing your warning so others will not be so easily taken advantage of. Caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware.