Car Dealer Scam Turned Against Private Sellers

by : J.d. Rucker

It has never been more difficult to make a buck in the car business.? Searching Google for "Car Buying Tips" yields nearly 8 million websites packed with information consumers can use to get a better deal.? Throw in sites with new car invoices like? and sites with competitive used car pricing like??and you can see that it's not your father's Oldsmobile market.

Enter stage left the dealership scam artists.? No, not the salesman throwing in the floor mats to close a high profit deal; in this case, the dealerships are the "scammees".

Here is the text of an email received by??today:

"Hi Seller,I am interested in the immediate purchase of item, Could you kindly let me know the present condition, availability, asking price and the current location. I am willing to send your payment by check and i am willing to accept shipping responsibilities via my shipping company. Email me at once, thanks in advance.Kevin"

This particular email was sent based upon a posting on a free classified site.

Here is what happens next:

  1. The seller emails "Kevin" back, answering questions.
  2. Kevin sends back an email with a story about buying it for his son who is getting married in the UK or a friend who is coming into the country soon or something like that.
  3. He mails a cashiers check and tells you to email him when it comes in.
  4. Once you get the check, you find that it is for $2000 more than your price.? He tells you this is to cover the transportation.? You are to cash the check and give the transport guy the $1700-$1900.? You get to keep the rest for your troubles.
  5. The transport comes by that day.? You give him the car, the money, and feel good about yourself.
  6. The next day, your bank informs you that the cashiers check was counterfeit.
  7. You MAY be able to get your car back since these guys rarely try to deal with customs.? If not, it is currently being shipped to Nigeria or Europe.? It may even be in a chop shop.
  8. The transport person, if you are able to track them, is just a middle man paid to follow simple instructions.? No liability there.
  9. The police refer you to the Secret Service, who has been aware of this scam for a while.? Strangely, the link to the bulletin on this particular scam isn't working right now.

Here are some other sample emails received lately:

  • Hello,? I would like to make a few enquires about the above mentioned item.I would like to know how many owners it as got before its being put up in the market forsale and also how many years as it being of use.? I would also like to know if the asking price is your last price or it can still be discussed so that we could agree on a certain price.? I would want you to know that the payment would be make through a cashiers check payable in your name.A client of mine whose owning me for a contract which i did for their company wants to pay my dues and i wouldnt want to spend the money recklessly,so i would want you to get back to me as soon as possible,so that i could know what my next line of action would be.?? Kind Regards? Gerald.......
  • Helloseller,My Name is( rollandjaycob)I will like do business with you moreover I just place a look on your item and i am intrested in immediate purcharse of your item then i we also need more picture of this car,but before i proceed on this transaction i will like to ask some question as follow.1. Do you accept a (Cashier Check / Money Order) as a mode of payment.2.What is the final asking prize you can go at last.3.Will you let my shipping company to come to your contact address for the pick up of the item down to Africa cause i woulnd't want you to worry yourself about the shipping of the item.4.You are to send your FULL NAME andCONTACTADDRESS,TEL # to mail out the payment today. 5. Will you be able to send the excess fund back to the shipping company via western union money transfer same day you recieve and cash the check for the arrangement of the home pick up from your house down to my store in west africa okay if you know that you we follow my instuction you can get back to me with all your details so i can proceed with my you get back to me now god we bless for that amen.then if you free free to chatt with me to know more better about this transaction you can chatt with me on my *CHATTING ID.( you ready to do business with me i we look forward to do more business with you in the nearest futureokay.get back to me now....
  • Dear sir/ma??? My Name is Mr.Terry,i besed in London United Kingdom,Its been a great pleasure to e-mail? you that i am interested in buying your car,so upon agreement i would like to pay you with checks,so let me no the amount you want to sale it for me.
Do you see a trend?? Seller beware!