Warning: Metal Detecting Scam (A Cautionary Tale)
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Thread: Warning: Metal Detecting Scam (A Cautionary Tale)

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  1. #1
    us
    Sep 2018
    Massachusetts
    Garrett AT Max
    1,222
    2758 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Warning: Metal Detecting Scam (A Cautionary Tale)

    Message to all fellow TNetters: This true story happened to myself and two friends before I was a member of TNet, but I thought I would pass on this cautionary tale. This story is pretty embarrassing but maybe it will help somebody.


    Ah the lure of treasure... It has brought many a good man and woman to their knees over the centuries.

    In the world of scamming the public has limitless potential for a sharp witted criminal.

    It was the perfect scam: A few Yankees separated by the Atlantic Ocean from their treasure dreams in England.

    This was around Feb / March of 2018. A good metal detecting buddy mentioned that he might have found an affordable trip to England to do some metal detecting. It was a guided tour where they brought you to fields and provided you with lodging and food. My friend found this guy through one of the forums on this Tnet. He was advertising a standard 10 day trip but was willing to accommodate me on a slightly shorter version of the trip as I didn't have the time or money for the full deal. At first the communication was between those two and eventually I was corresponding with a person who went by the name Marc Benfield. That was from March 2018 - July 2018 We were supposed to do the trip in late September 2018. I could not wait. We were to fly in, get picked up, detect for a few days and then we were all going to Detectival for two days and then we were going to go mudlarking with Steve Brooker (had that all lined up that guy is amazing!) in London. Marc had a website heritagemetaldetectingtoursuk.com and a facebook page all depicting metal detecting. I looked at the page and facebook a few times and there was nothing to make me think it was anything but a metal detecting tour. I paid around 600.00 to book the trip and secure my spot. Marc was very patient and accommodating and answered all questions we had.. He could talk the talk. After another month or two I paid the balance of it that ended up being around 950.00 1300 in all. My friends also paid him and they went for the more expensive version that was around 2500.00 or so. In July we all got an email from Marc at 5 in the morning. He was so sorry but he had to cancel the trip because 6 people had unexpectedly dropped out of the trip, at the same time their office was coincidentally broken into and all the computers were stolen. I checked the website and it was no longer functioning. I emailed him back and he assured me that I would be refunded as soon as possible. That was the last any of us heard of him. No refund.

    I immediately called the bank and put a stop payment on the two payments I had made. We all put in fraud claims. Here's the kicker. The first payment I made was with my credit card that got refunded. The second of 950.00 was a wire transfer to Heritage Tours and could not be refunded. How could I have been so stupid? This guy was a great scammer. Since I was paying less than the others he said that their computer program could not accept anything less than a full payment so they needed a wire transfer. I fell right into the trap. There were a couple other red flags we missed: The company was new so they didn't have a reputation / no past tours with photos to back them up but the website looked legitimate. The facebook page had a bunch of photos of Marc. What I didn't catch was that all the photos were from just far away enough or with shadows etc. that you couldn't really see his face. It seemed like he could talk the talk and nothing in the correspondence indicated anything suspicious. His FB page had pictures of people metal detecting and displaying finds.. I'm not very into FB so it looked good to me. After some investigation on FB: Marc Benfield seems to be a real person with links to real people and even has Benfield family members attached to his profile. I can't figure out if he's a FB account that someone hacked or if he really is a real person who set up this scam. Looking up his home address it looked like a housing project. That address may or may not be real but that should have set off some alarms if we thought to investigate where the tour operator lived (haha!) We'll probably never know. In all Marc stole around 6,300.00 dollars from us! This guy did quite a bit of work to do this... website, facebook, bank account, company, correspondence and just like that gone in a flash. The thing that is so mind blowing is that he sent this email to let us know it was done two months before the flight over. He could have kept the game up and we could have arrived in Heathrow airport and looked for the imaginary person who was to pick us up. If that happened I think I would dedicate the rest of my life to finding this guy.

    The thing that is so frustrating is that we live in a modern era with time stamped video cameras etc. This guy had to go to Llyods Bank to withdraw the money and he had to go there to set up a bank account. He exists in the real world. There is absolutely a trail that leads to somebody but he'll never be caught because the people who investigate this kind of thing don't care about this kind of theft. To catch this guy would cost more money than he stole from us in time and effort by authorities! The crazy thing is that he probably roped a couple other people into this scam as well. If you walked into a store and took that much merchandise it's a felony. If you scam somebody out of it they won't do anything because its it happens all over the place every day. White collar crime pays serious money! I feel like if I were a little more computer savvy and had more means I could nail this guy. I really want to see him pay. I'm still mad. I've wasted hours of my finite life thinking about this guy not to mention the work I had to do to save this money that I lost. Writing about this is a means to let it go and get this injustice out of my head.

    And what happened to our money? Did it go up Marc's nose, did he buy the sickest metal detector ever made, did he spend it all on chocolates for his mum? Or perhaps he chartered a private motorboat to Oak Island? I would love to know!

    I am confident that this guy will be brought to task for this and if the law doesn't get him nature and life will. You can't escape your actions. I wonder what "Marc Benfield" is up to these days? Be careful out there if you are paying for something like this make sure it checks out as the real thing.

    My goal is to someday go on one of the real legitimate tours that is out there. Marc? Can't wait to meet you by chance someday... in person.

    As awful as this was I hope you enjoyed reading.

  2. #2

    Jun 2017
    SW Florida
    Minelab Ctx 3030/ DetectorPro Headhunter Pulse/ DetectorPro Underwater 8 / Fisher CZ21
    56
    35 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm sure I would have fallen for it myself. You checked it out as much as I would have.
    xcopperstax likes this.

  3. #3

    Feb 2017
    314
    932 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Bump for friend

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    ba
    Dems Range Manager

    Aug 2013
    Sarajevo
    Started with Garrett AT/Gold, 2 x Scuba Tectors for shallow water while swimming along the beaches, now have Equinox 800 and starting to find decent items!
    143
    49 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    He has a FB account, or at least it is probably the person you are talking about as the guy is holding a metal detector! he's the first person you find if you do a search in FB for that name, but like you said the scammer may not be the same person and just used this guys name...
    xcopperstax and Honest Samuel like this.

  5. #5
    Galactic President

    Oct 2016
    California
    CZ-21
    12
    12 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Sorry for your troubles, but appreciate the info. I would live to do a trip like that, now I know to watch out.
    xcopperstax likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Aug 2018
    SW Missouri
    Garrett All Terrain Pro
    3,877
    11222 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    There are people with the computer skills to ttrack this guy down on the internet. Have you contacted FB Marc? On the surface sounds like the account was being used.
    Can't imagine how you must feel. Personnally I din't believe in karma-I would want satisfaction out of this guy one way or another.
    At least you have made others aware.
    xcopperstax likes this.
    You may forget but let me tell you this: someone in some future time will think of us-Sappho

  7. #7

    Dec 2006
    3,724
    2188 times
    wow here is a link for fraud in uk, i did a google.uk search for Marc Benfield
    the co, was listed in several biz pages, & a twitter acc.

    fraud
    https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/wh...ligence-bureau

    Marc Benfield & his co.
    https://twitter.com/HMetalDetecting
    https://www.bizmidlands.co.uk/index....cting-Tours-UK
    MarcBenfield | user details | folkd.com
    if you want to look for more
    https://www.google.com/search?q=heri...hrome&ie=UTF-8

  8. #8

    Dec 2006
    3,724
    2188 times
    hope you can get some restitution
    here is oxford court, on 21 Tugford Road
    https://goo.gl/maps/ggwqArQ77taot97h9

  9. #9
    us
    Jul 2019
    Deltona Fl
    AT-Pro - Teknetics T2 LTD
    231
    512 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    ANY TIME someone asks for the payment to be made in a wire transfer it's a scam. I just bought a $2,000 motorcycle part for my Harley on ebay. Paid with a credit card. Never got the part. Forget contacting Ebay, it's a waste of time. Contacted my card company and got my money back in 10 minutes. Now they have to prove the part was delivered. The only way to fly online....

    The other scam is they send you a box of rocks so it shows you received something. It takes a LONG time to show it wasn't what you ordered. If this happens scan the postal tag and the box and what's inside. If the weight and dementions don't add up you will win. It's really a roll the dice type of thing. Amazon is the safest way to buy and has a free return policy so you don't get screwed. If you do a travel deal go through one of the top travel sites to be sure you get what you paid for.

    I booked a 4 night stay at a 50's style motel here in Fl. When we got there the room had mushrooms growing out of the carpet and stunk. We went elsewhere. I contacted the travel site and told them and they refunded my money within a day. Had I booked through the motel we would still be trying to get our money back.
    Last edited by Billieg; Sep 08, 2019 at 07:10 PM.
    Looking for a hunting buddy in or around Deltona Fl.

  10. #10
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
    Maryland
    XP Deus, Tesoro Cibola
    13,867
    24118 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (7)
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    I worked in the fraud department at a bank, so have a little knowledge. NEVER EVER do a wire transfer. EVER. A small deposit, yes, large one heck no!

    Use a credit card online. I never got the box of rocks Billieg mentioned, but did get a fake Spanish reale and returned it. The seller screamed, but it didn't do him any good. Silver doesn't rust.

    I've won all my Ebay disputes. All. Not many, but still...

  11. #11
    us
    Sep 2013
    Somewhere directly above the center of the Earth.
    5,341
    9668 times
    I'm going crazy looking for my old issues of W&E treasures mags.
    I clearly remember seeing an ad for UK tours by this guy or something similar.

    How long ago was this ?
    xcopperstax likes this.
    The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.
    Robert A. Heinlein

  12. #12
    us
    Sir

    Sep 2015
    Connecticut
    Minelab
    6,484
    3058 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The only country that I want to search is Canada, but, now settle for Connecticut. Good hunting and good luck. I feel sorry for # 1.
    xcopperstax likes this.

  13. #13
    Charter Member

    Mar 2003
    So. Cal.
    1,607
    276 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    People are such scum. I would hunt this guy down and see him put in jail even if it took me the rest of my life. Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media sites should help. Someone over there should be able to get a picture of him.
    BC1969 and xcopperstax like this.

  14. #14
    Charter Member
    us
    Tommy

    Dec 2015
    Ann Arbor
    Equinox 800
    23,363
    29736 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (2)
    That sucks Honest people dont look for a scam around very corner sorry this happened. He will get his plus he has to live knowing hes a cook, liar and a crappy person..Theres alot of really good people out there that far outnumber people like him. He will get his promise you that.
    RustyGold and xcopperstax like this.

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