View Full Version : scams to purchase car

05-13-2005, 06:59 PM
Just curious. I recently place an ad for a tr6 on this forum. Received about 20 offers to buy car paying with cash to cashier's checks. I am selling through a consigner and he said that there is a money laundering scam going on. Has anyone else had rediculous offers to purchase any items? Just wondering if something is up with this. Thanks for any input that you could offer.

05-13-2005, 08:02 PM
I have not heard of this before. I'm curious how the scam would work. Money laundering is all about disguising the source of funds and hiding large transactions from the U.S. Govt. Would the buyer pay cash for your car, or pay you an excess amount over the asking price and request a refund from you by check? I don't follow how this would proceed.

05-13-2005, 08:28 PM

I've had similar email offers to buy eBay auction items outright for large sums, often much more than the asking price. These are probably the scams you are hearing about.

Offers are from overseas and ask you to accept a check, possibly even a bank draft or similar, for a good deal more than the amount of purchase. You are then asked to refund part of the amount in cash (or worse, personal check which would give them your account number), possibly described as "overpayment of shipping charges", encouraged keep any remainder "for your trouble".

The scam is that international checks can take 30 days or more to clear. It will bounce and you are out the amount you refunded, and possibly out the merchandise too if you shipped promptly at the time of the refund.

This scam uses the delays of international check cashing and the scammers target sellers of large ticket items to make it worth their trouble. They especially go after individual sellers who might be unaware of international banking.

Best recourse might be to tell them you will certainly consider their generous offer and will be happy to accept their check, so long as they understand nothing will be shipped and no ovverpayment refunds can be made until their check has fully cleared and your bank has verified that all funds are in your account. You'll never hear from them again!

Ah, the joys of the Internet!


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif.
'62 TR4 CT17602L

05-13-2005, 08:30 PM
Can you describe the ridiculous offers and what they ask you to do with the money? How did your consigner decide they were scams. Did anyone actually show up to test drive or buy the car?

05-13-2005, 09:28 PM
I had offers to send a bank to bank transfer. offrs of cashier's checks, etc. from Singapore to England. at least twenty offers. Some of these people couldn't even spell and proclaimed to be Directors of NASA. I just referred them to a website where my consigner is located. I appreciate your feedback.

05-13-2005, 09:31 PM
My wife works at a bank and someone we know came in with one of these cashier's check for an ATV they were selling. My wife took the check and deposited it for him. He was plannning to ship the ATV the next day. Luckily, my wife met me for lunch and took me about our friend selling his son's ATV on EBAY. I told her about this scam and sure enough later in the day they verified that the check was bogus. Our friend was very grateful. Like they say: if it counds too good to be true and BEWARE.

05-13-2005, 10:46 PM
Read in detail Alan Myers post above. It describes the most common scam mode.

Succinctly, a "buyer" sends you a counterfeit check for more than the amount of purchase and you send them the goods and part of a cash refund. Days later, the check bounces and you're left with nothing.

The other scam involving bank transfers gives the scammer direct access to your bank account, which he/she promptly drains.

Never complete any deals until ANY check clears 100% and NEVER give out your bank account information.

05-13-2005, 11:09 PM
My bank as a sign on the window of each teller space asking that they need to know if you are depositing any check from sales from ebay or cashing any.

05-13-2005, 11:22 PM
I appreciate all of the advice that I am receiving. Thanks to all

05-14-2005, 01:07 AM
Im sellling a mgb gt overdrive 1972 - through a danish paper -

and i had a guy some 2 weeks ago from south of europe - portugal or spain i think, that was asking all these questions about the car, questions that I wuld ask buying a car, ... all seemed fine - untill he asked if i wuld take a chek .............

when i said that he culd bring it and we booth culd go to a bank and get it cashed in so i culd get cash in my hand /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

i never heard from him again /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif

do what is said above - ship NOTHING pay NOTHING untill the chek clear - if they want the item faster - they shuld have paied in a bank transfear.. AND MAKE IT YOUR BANK FOR HEAVENS SAKE
. by chek they WILL HAVE TO WAIT untill it clear.

here in Denmark we had a guy (age 50ish) that was on nationla tv
- (forgive us, only 5million ppl total so this is a petit contry and that means that its big news)
Because he paied 11.000 euros - for a car that he never gotten - the scammer apparently made a fake "bank site" where to transfear money - they wuld hang there untill final aprove when car cleard and all -

was a scam - now a guy and his wife age 50+ is 11.000 euros less and some fool is 11000 more wealthy. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif



just my 2cent

05-14-2005, 06:09 AM
If you want an interesting, hallarious twist on this. Goto:
https://www.p-p-p-powerbook.com. This guy attempts to and succeeds to scam the scammer. It's a long read, but it's funny, plus it give a little insight about how some of these scams work.

05-14-2005, 06:55 AM
The car that I want to sell is a 72 TR6 completely finished. Doubt you could get a baby in it. Sorry. Check out www.stonebridgecars.com. (https://www.stonebridgecars.com.)

05-14-2005, 09:12 AM
As has been stated, the art of the scam is our inpatience with waiting for checks to clear. If you are interested in reading a story on how one ebay seller got the better of a would-be foreign scammer check out the site below.

Basically, this guy was selling an Apple Powerbook (laptop) and his would be buyer had setup a fake escrow website which would handle the transaction. Our seller figured this out and ended up sending the guy a "pppowerbook" instead. The real kicker is that the fake computer was sent with customs due. So the scammer had to pay a few hundred bucks out of pocket to get his fruadulent purchase out of British customs only to find a hilariously doctored notebook and message telling him where to go.

05-14-2005, 09:15 AM
Sorry for the duplication of LastDeadLast's recomendation. I should have read all the posts before opening my mouth.

05-14-2005, 10:34 AM

Thats a clean looking TR you have... I hope you have good luck selling it. Please be careful about the offers out there. Like everyone is saying it's best to have cash in hand.

Paul Johnson
05-14-2005, 10:56 AM
Would like to point out that these 'scam the scammer' events, while perhaps great fun, are themselves fraud.
Be careful; I doubt that there's a provision for 'justifiable fraud'.

05-14-2005, 11:10 AM
You're right, but sometimes you can derive a little joy when "what goes around comes around."

05-14-2005, 08:13 PM
Last summer we were selling an MGB and received an offer of about half the asking price...we turned it down and never expected to here from him again...the next day at around 3:00pm he calls and says he has the full amount in CASH with him and he's half way here from his house 4 hours away. This raises our suspicions and he is told that we will no accept Cash!...1/2 an hour later he calls back saying he's almost here with the CASH he also says he wants to drive the car back home that night. This time my dad gets really suspicious so he tells him again that we will NOT accept Cash and that he will NOT be driving the car home tonight...he persisted to argue for another 10 minutes before hanging up......could have been a legitemate buyer or a scammer....better safe than sorry.

05-16-2005, 10:55 AM
Scam is certainly not just operating on ebay. My neighbor was offered a huge amount for his big Surburban SUV from ad here in Kansas City paper); "buyer" said they had plenty of oil in his mid eastern country, big cars sold well there. Same deal-- "buyer" then greatly overpaid the amount with a "cashier" check and then asked for refund-- I had heard of it and had to dash his excitement with what I had heard before. Sure enough, the "cashier's check" was worthless.

05-16-2005, 01:37 PM
Safe Selling Tips
Most automobile buyers know that scams are rampant, so they're diligent about not becoming a victim. But potential car sellers need to be careful of swindlers, too.

Con artists have always been out to get used-car sellers, whether it's with bogus checks, never-to-be-met payment plans or other fraudulent schemes. While the internet has made used-car selling a much more convenient proposition today than in the past, the web also has made such shell games, which target honest people who just want to sell their cars for a decent price, easier to pull off.

Car sellers, beware: Whether you're employing the internet to put your car on the market or going a more old-fashioned route, make sure you protect yourself from a potential rip-off.

Certified Check and Overpayment Scams
One of the newest and most popular stings perpetrated against individual car sellers is a certified check scam. According to the U.S. Secret Service, which enforces federal laws related to counterfeiting, certified check scams cost U.S. consumers $100 million a year.

Victims are usually selling a used car or some other valuable item over the internet, though sometimes the seller might receive a call or fax in response to a print ad as well. A buyer shows interest in buying the car and says a cashier's check will be issued for payment. At the last minute, the so-called buyer comes up with a reason to write the check for significantly more than the asking price and requests the seller to wire the difference. The checks are often such convincing fakes that the seller wires the money immediately after his or her bank clears the check. But in a week or so, the check turns out to be counterfeit, and the bank requires the car seller to cover the money for the phony check.

"The checks are of such good quality that they often fool bank personnel who study them," says Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. "Victims think the cashier's check or corporate check must be good when the bank gives them the money. But several days later they learn the check is a fake, and they're out both the item they sold and the full face value of the counterfeit check." In Idaho, even a deputy attorney general was duped by such a ploy.

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to avoid similar scams:

Confirm the buyer's name, street address and telephone number.
Don't accept a check for more than the selling amount.
Consider alternative methods of payment such as an escrow or online payment service.
If you accept a check, insist on one drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch.
If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately.
If a buyer attempts to pay with a winning check from a foreign lottery, end the transaction immediately.
Resist pressure from the buyer to act immediately. An offer good today should be good after the check clears.
Bogus Escrow Services
When selling a car online, an escrow service can be a good idea. Escrow services collect and verify payment from a buyer, then notify you the seller so you can deliver the vehicle. If the buyer is satisfied with the car, the escrow service releases the purchase amount to you. If the buyer isn't satisfied, the buyer sends the vehicle back to you and keeps his money. It's a great way to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the transaction.

However, fraudulent escrow sites are popping up all over the internet. Escrow.com is a reputable service that charges users a percentage of the item's sales price usually between 3 and 6 percent but dozens of fake escrow services are drawing in consumers simply because they have "escrow" in their names. On one end, bogus used-car sellers can set up their own fake sites, bilking would-be car buyers out of tens of thousands of dollars without ever sending a single vehicle. But used-car sellers can be fooled, too. The car's purchase price appears to be sitting in supposed "escrow," the seller sends off the car, and the buyer, the money and the car itself are never seen again.

On the flip side, you may be dealing with a genuine buyer. But if you employ the wrong escrow service, you'll never see the money once it's deposited, and the buyer will be out thousands of dollars.

The SOS4Auctions website can help car buyers avoid such shadowy sites with its database of nonreputable and legitimate escrow services. According to the site, as many as 20 fake escrow sites are up and running on any given day. The National Consumers League also offers tips on using escrow services online.

Auction Site Issues
Auction sites like eBay, have become popular venues for selling used automobiles. But just because you're selling via a well-known auctioneer doesn't mean you're free and clear of potential trouble. According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraudulent schemes conducted via online auction sites are the most frequently reported form of internet fraud, and they're often associated with high-value items like automobiles. It is your responsibility as the seller to do due diligence before trading any vehicle for payment online.

Both fraudulent check and fake escrow site scams can occur after online bidding is complete. As with all internet auctions, you should carefully research the potential buyer to make sure he has a positive buying history. Never ship your vehicle or transfer the title until all money is in your hands. And if the purchaser uses a certified check, follow the precautions above to make sure it clears the issuing bank.

Many auction sites offer instructions on how to avoid being scammed. They also explain the few options you have, along with steps and a timeline for taking them, after you've been defrauded.

Other Tips on Protecting Yourself
New scams pop up from time to time. Be firm about accepting only cash or a cashier's or certified check, and follow the rules above when dealing with checks. Don't fall for anyone who offers to pay you off over a period of time.

As added protection, record every step of the purchase or sale. Print out the details of every transaction, including the original product description and any online bidding history or a history of negotiations with the buyer.

Write a receipt for both yourself and the buyer. Include all pertinent information like the names, addresses and phone numbers of both parties, the vehicle identification number, selling price, make, model and year. Include a statement that the car is being sold as is. Finally, take pictures of the car before you ship it or transfer ownership.

Lastly, if an offer sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If a proposed payment plan makes no sense (why would someone in Nigeria trust you with a huge cashier's check anyway?), then steer clear.

If You've Been Taken . . .
If you're the victim of an auto-buying-related scam and you have no luck trying to settle the dispute with the supposed buyer, it's critical to contact the appropriate authorities immediately. File a report with your local police department, and contact the consumer protection division of your state attorney general's office; you can find a listing of all 50 offices online at the National Association of Attorneys General.

At the national level, contact the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, the U.S. Department of Justice's Internet Fraud Division, Consumer Sentinel, the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center or the National Fraud Information Center. If the scam was carried out via U.S. mail, you can also fill out the U.S. Postal Service's Mail Fraud Complaint Form.

These websites are good sources to check out before you sell your vehicle, and they maintain current updates of the latest scams perpetrated against consumers.

You can email complaints about the counterfeit check scam to the U.S. Secret Service at 419.fcd@usss.treas.gov or contact your local Secret Service field office.

Finally, if your situation involved a supposed buyer overseas, then you should contact the appropriate authorities in that country as well. European victims of fraudulent car buying should get in touch with the European Anti-Fraud Office.

By Michelle Krebs, cars.com; Last updated on 12/29/04

05-16-2005, 08:06 PM
Thank you very much for taking so much time and effort in giving me some great advicen ot only to me but to others. I will take your advice wisely. That was real decent of you.


05-23-2006, 11:18 AM
Ha, cash on delivery, or casheres check.