How scammers trick sellers and get money out of them...
I recently published a advertise on Australia's leading car selling website "Drive" to sell my car. I have sold couple of cars previously using this website and this company has really good selling rate.
I received few enquiries and most of them were "time wasters". After couple of weeks from the date i published my add i received an enquiry, which i found suspicious and thought of doing some research to see "how this scam works" and later on post it on my blog so other readers can protect them self. To start with, i received an enquiry which was like this:
Dear Shoaib Yousuf,
A Drive user has contacted you with a question about your car for sale on Drive.
Hello, My customer is much interested in your advert car. Pls kindly email me back if the car is still available stating it's present condition and your final price. Regards, Frank.L.Kennon Managing Director Leventis Motors Ltd
Name Brian Anderson
I found this suspicious straight away and started digging about the company "Leventis Motors". I found no relevant information about the company and another point to note is, why managing directory sending an email using yahoo account?
Anyways, i responded to this add stating, yes - it is still available and i am interesting in selling my car for final price $29,000 AUD. (It was advertised for $29,990)
I received the following response:
from Brian Anderson
to Shoaib Yousuf
date Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 11:27 PM
subject EXPECT MY MAIL.
Thanks for your response to my enquiry concerning your car.
Note that my client who resides here in London wants to conclude this transaction as soon as possible since he wants the vehicle as a present for his son who is resident in South Africa. So the car will be shipped to South Africa and my client bears responsibility for shipment.
Kindly exercise a little patience while i discuss your final price of $29,000 au and other necessary details with my client and also evaluate the on-line photos of the vehicle in question.I will get back to you later today or on Monday morning.
Yeah right, car will be shipped to South Africa and "dad" will send me money from London. I don't need to think twice or guess where this is leading to, I find it quite interesting so i continued to play around with this bit more. So, i responded stating, "sounds like a plan and i would wait for your response as soon as possible". Guess what?, I received an email on Monday morning and it was:
from Brian Anderson
to Shoaib Yousuf
date Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 12:04 AM
subject CONFIRM PAYMENT AND PICKUP ARRANGEMENT TODAY.
This is to inform you that my client has instructed me to proceed with the purchase of your car for his son. He said that I should inform you that the payment will get to you in an Australian bank cheque of ($36,900 AU) which is a refund payment of a cancelled order earlier made by him.
He informed me that he intends using the refund payment to pay for your vehicle.
He further explained that this bank cheque has to be made out in this amount($36,900 AU) to you because company policy only allows a refund payment on one bank cheque.So you are required to deduct cost of your car ($29,000 AU) when the payment gets to you and refund the balance of ($7,900 AU) to my client's agent via western union or moneygram international money transfer for the agent to be able to offset shipping /pickup charges ,contract fees for the pickup agent, taxes, commission and other handling bills.
After payment has reached you and balance is sent back to his agent,the agent will contact the pickup agent who will come for the pick up of the vehicle for shipping to my client's son.
My client is making some necessary arrangement with some shippers and will provide me with the pickup/test driver agent as soon as he decides the agent to contract for the pickup of the vehicle from it's present location.
NOTE: He also instructed that you are to deduct the transfer charges from the remaining balance($7,900 AU) which you will be sending down to his agent via western union or moneygram international wire transfer.
Confirm this whole arrangement and provide the details requested below for payment to be delivered to you.
1.YOUR LEGAL NAME IN FULL.........
2.POSTAL ADDRESS IN FULL..........................
Okay, if anybody use little bit of common sense they will understand that this is all bullshit and scam. Believe me, many people "Don't use their common sense" and still get victim of such scams.
Interesting part is not finished here, i went ahead and provided them with "fake details but real P O BOX details" and "prepaid sim" number.
Take another Guess? Surprise, i received a call from someone with Italian accent saying he has shipped me a cheque and when i will be able to send them money?
Anyways, now it was waiting period. I received a cheque after 3 weeks and i was right. It was shipped from Italy. You guys, won't believe the cheque was of "American Bank - JP Morgan".
I contacted my local bank and used my contacts to find out more details about the cheque. I didn't got much information so i contacted "J P morgan" local Representatives in Melbourne and found the cheque is real but fraudulently honoured. I informed them to take appropriate measures and make sure account holder in informed.
Now, let me tell you guys using my experience, what usually happens after this. Cheque get honoured, person get the money and as per agreement seller sent $7900 via Western Union. After few weeks or months, bank informs seller, "Sorry mate, that cheque was fraudulent" Please refund all the money back.
Bank gets their money back, scammer gets their money and account holder doesn't loose anything. In fact, seller looses $7,900 and still car is on the market or probably sellers sells the car to pay off the bank.
So - Please, i repeat PLEASE use your little common sense and be-aware of these scammers. They will try to scam you in all possible ways.