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Though the money may appear to have been transferred it can still be recalled by the originator.

Where a BACS transfer has been refused, the buyer has then offered to pay by cheque in the name of Andrew Brent of Brent Holdings, Nottingham at his local branch of the auctioneer's own bank.

Again the money appears very quickly in the account, but it is not until the cheque is processed by the bank that it is discovered to be invalid and the funds are then withdrawn. Several UK auctioneers have been targeted.

Stephen Whittaker of Fellows in Birmingham, who avoided being taken in for a very large sum by both approaches, says the message is simple: do not release the goods until you have checked with the bank that the money has cleared.