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Am J going to get swindled? jh4na1156nt000320

23 June 2005
Saw this car for sale on autoloader. jh4na1156nt000320 The seller relocated to prague and can't register the car he says. It has an American title, and he has service records from California Anyone Know this car. He doesn't want any money upfront and wants to use squaretrade as escrow. shipping is 1232 and the car sub 20 with around 40,000 miles on it. Thoughts?
#1: Do a search, this is one of the most common scams out there (the moved overseas, and can not register the car here)

#2: Another common part of this scam is that Sqwuaretrade does not act as an escrow service, they are a dispute resoloution service. See this quote from their site:
SquareTrade Never Takes Payment on Behalf of a Seller:
Scam emails will often request the consumer to pay via a money transfer service, such as Western Union or Money Gram, an escrow service, or by money order. BEWARE! SquareTrade will NEVER act as an escrow agent for a seller and will NEVER hold or transfer money on behalf of an auction or seller.

If you want something for your money wire it to me instead and at least I will send you some nice pics of my NSX to hang on your wall. :biggrin:

Seriously, I would make sure you do your homework before you lose your ass. The simple rule of thumb is "if it seems to be too good to be true...."

To me a bargain would be a 97-99 for 38-40K with less than 100K miles, or a 91 with the same miles for $23-25K. Less than that usually means there is a story involved (salvage, scam, etc.).
kiomon said:
Am J going to get swindled?

Here are two articles that appeared earlier this month in the Chicago Tribune; the first was an article, and the second was a reply to letters from readers. I've added the bold type in the second one, near the end.

Driver beware: If selling car, be alert for scam via e-mail

By Jim Mateja

Tribune auto reporter
Published June 8, 2005

How many times over the last year have you checked your e-mail to find that missive.

You know the one, which differs somewhat based on country of origin, but basically states:

"I am the confidant of the ex-president of [name the country] who was removed from power and he has secretly informed me to contact you to open a bank account so he can transfer his $9 million into your account and ... "

Just send as much money as you can stuff into a pillowcase and the $9 million is yours.

Though most folks know this is a scam, another scheme that needs to be exposed has found its way onto the Ethernet.

Thanks to a reader, who will go simply by Eli, here's how it works:

"Attached is the complete e-mail correspondence I had with a con artist posing as a potential buyer of my Jeep Cherokee. As a former bank manager, I'm very aware about certain bank scams, Internet schemes and check fraud. Unfortunately, most consumers aren't," Eli said.

"When you post ads on some car-selling sites, they warn you about such a scam. I think the problem is consumer's lack of knowledge about the fraud as well as the fact that they're excited to be selling their car so quickly and easily they don't stop to see the red flags.

"This began with a simple advertisement to sell my car. A couple of weeks later, I received an e-mail from an interested party. I instantly knew that the potential buyer had no intention of taking possession of my car and that he was going to try to scam me.

"As a former bank manager, I'd witnessed a client lose on a similar scam and was able to save several other clients from making the same mistake."

How it works

And the ploy, according to Eli, is that the scam artist wants to buy the car you've advertised, usually at the price listed without any negotiating.

"The scam artist tells you that he's buying the car on behalf of his client who's located in a foreign country," Eli said.

You are then told you'll be mailed a cashier's check from someone other than the person who offered to buy your vehicle, someone who owes the buyer money and will cover the debt by paying for your vehicle.

"It may be that the scam artist is in a foreign country and the person who owes him the money is in the U.S. Having the check come to you from inside the U.S. will clear faster than an international check, which is true and makes it a convenient excuse," Eli said.

Of course, the amount of the check being sent to you will be significantly more than the sales price. The buyer says it's for international shipping, repairs, finder's fee or whatever excuse.

"The buyer will entrust you with forwarding the over-payment to a third party, either a shipping agent or the buyer," Eli said.

"You're instructed to withdraw funds out of your bank, take the money to Western Union, and send it to the appropriate destination," Eli said. "If you follow these instructions, you'll lose the amount that you forwarded to the buyer or third party."

This scam, Eli said, takes advantage of the time differences between when you deposit the fraudulent check from the would-be buyer, the check availability policy of your bank and the time it takes for your bank to realize that you deposited a bad check.

Scam too fast

Even electronic check clearing is not fast enough to stop this scam.

"If you have enough money in your bank account before depositing the bad check, you are at greater risk of losing because you already have the funds available to send to the scam artist," Eli said.

Which goes to prove that "A fool and his money are soon parted"--even sooner if done electronically.

Thanks, Eli.


Read Jim Mateja Sunday in Transportation and Wednesday and Friday in Business. Hear him on WBBM-AM 780 at 6:22 p.m. Wednesdays and 11:22 a.m. Sundays.

[email protected]

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Run off over surprise add-ons

By Jim Mateja
Tribune auto reporter
Published June 19, 2005

Q. I recently listed a car for sale and must have gotten at least 100 scam replies before finding a buyer. Sometimes the alleged buyer asks for bank account information so he can wire the payment directly to your bank. If you give it out, the account will be drained. T.F., Chicago

Q. I advertised my boat on two Internet sites, and the buyer's scam was similar to the one for the car. W.,Chicago

Q. I read your column 15 minutes before I received my bogus cashier's check. M.K., Round Lake

Q. I've advertised a lot of cars for sale online and have almost $300,000 in phony checks to show for it. D.W., Oakhurst, Calif.

Q. My daughter had a similar experience with a foreign buyer offering to pay her $2,000 asking price on a French horn, if she sent the buyer $1,500 to cover shipping costs, which the buyer said would be reimbursed. S.E., Schaumburg

Q. I have an auto for sale and just received an e-mail like the one you described. To whom can I report the attempted scam? S.P., Chicago

A. Steve Baker, Midwest regional director for the Federal Trade Commission, said you can call 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) to talk to a personor visit ftc.gov to complain online. Baker said the scam has touched people trying to sell "any big-ticket item, even horses."

"The National Consumer League said this is one of the top five scams in the U.S. now," Baker said.

"If someone offers to send you more money than you are selling your item for, it's almost a guarantee it's a fraud. And never transfer money by wire outside the country for any business deal in which you haven't met the buyer in person, because the chances of getting you money back are slim to none," he added.

The FTC explains the scam in detail at ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/overpayalrt.htm

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

lol thats my car.... wtf! when did i ship my car to europe?!?!?!?!

its still sitting in my garage..... UM! my car must a twin!:tongue:
Yes.....This is a SCAM....I have seen these adds.... The car is in Budapest Hungary.....send the money to my escrow agent or the shipper....and upon delivery of the car here in the states...the funds will be released to the seller and the shipper will give me the title to the car....
someone on AOL has this add for NSX"[email protected].....
for fun ....send [email protected] an Email and say you are interested in the NSX for sale ......and wait for the reply ......HAHAHALOLOLOLOL....
You will recieve the same BS letter that I did....
Dont believe everything you read...and remember there is an ass for every seat....
RON98 said:

lol thats my car.... wtf! when did i ship my car to europe?!?!?!?!

its still sitting in my garage..... UM! my car must a twin!:tongue:

I'll give you $25,500 for it right now. But you have to send me the car and $5,500 back as the check was made out for more by mistake.

TIA. :)
So... I go out to dinner last night with a friend and she tells me that her mom just bought an Altima for her brother from some guy in <forget exact European country> who was so nice that he's even paying for shipping to America....

I didn't have the heart to tell her. The money was wired to his account last Monday (not yesterday, a week from yesterday). Is there anything they can do if (when) they find that they got jacked? If so, what is it? I'd like to tell them. But if not, I'd rather just keep my mouth shut and not be the bearer of bad news.

kiomon said:
The seller relocated to prague ?

Tell him you just happened to be going to Prauge next week on vacation. Tell him you want to stop and check it out.
Suddenly he will disappear. :biggrin:

fools and their money should be parted :tongue:

honestly, please use common sense.