The Club has heard quite recently of yet more cases where Members have been caught or nearly caught with purchases of Nortons that are not all that the seller would have you think.
The Standard Scam
If you are advertising for a Norton or Norton spares, you may receive approaches from scammers who trawl the web looking for victims and will claim to have what it is that you want. Luckily, these are usually quite easy to spot:-
► The reply you receive is usually non-specific and will not mention the item(s) by name, referring only to what you want in general terms.
► More often than not, the reply will not contain the 'seller' location and contact details. They will be trying to obtain your details before moving the scam forward.
► In many cases, the English used in the reply is imperfect. This is not always the case but it can help to filter out Overseas based scammers.
The Identity Scam
In a recently reported case, the prospective purchaser arranged a bank transfer to buy a Heavyweight Twin from overseas and lost all his money when the fake seller vanished. The 'seller' used the Engine/Frame No. of an Overseas Member of the NOC together with a picture of a similar machine. The paperwork was totally convincing. Our Member made the mistake of publishing his numbers but is more than likely unaware that the identity of his machine has been hijacked.
► Never openly display any full Engine or Frame Nos. on the web
► If purchasing from abroad, make your payment via an escrow arrangement. There will be a fee, but you have better protection against fraud by doing it this way.
Engine/Frame No. Falsification
All the time, unscrupulous individuals and dealers are altering Engine and Frame Nos. in order to increase the value of lesser Nortons. This is a particular problem where the camshaft Models are concerned. In some cases the changes made by grinding off numbers and overstamping are very poor attempts, others may be more difficult to spot.
The NOC Records Officers have a wealth of experience in this area and can help. Not only do they have access to the Factory Records but they have a database of information on specific machines where the provenance is questionable, frequently recognising individual cases coming round again for resale. In addition they also have recourse to other sophisticated techniques, contacts and information to help prevent fraud of this type.
Any Member thinking of buying a Norton should firstly arrange a quick pre-purchase records check via the Club. We are unable to publish details but a chat with the Records Officer about the source from which you may be purchasing can be enlightening.
► Always obtain Engine and Frame Nos. of any Norton you might be buying. You should ask yourself why a genuine seller would not be willing to give you these details.
► Ask for clear photographs of numbers if you are unable to see a machine yourself. Strangely, numbers that have been tamperered with often show up better in a photograph than when viewed 'live'.
► Take a very close look around number stampings for evidence of grinding. Similarly, numbers with very good definition on a machine decades old also deserve special attention..
► Use your Club to have machine details checked before parting with your money.