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Classic car fraud scheme shut down

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Default classic car fraud scheme shut down


3 hours ago Fox news

$4.5 million classic car fraud scheme shut down by FBI

By Sean Szymkowski | Motor Authority 
As classic cars become more than just aspirational items and more investment pieces, buyers should always stay vigilant. Today, it's easy for criminals to scam would-be buyers out of a sale with a little creativity and the Internet. Many enthusiasts found that out the hard way over the past two years.
The criminals, most of Eastern European descent, launched the nationwide fraud ring in November 2016 and the criminal activity continued through July of 2018. U.S. officials said the scheme involved posting fake classic car ads online, luring buyers, and setting up shell corporations to transfer money out of the U.S.



Victims responded to ads for various classic cars on popular car sale sites, and once the two parties agreed on a final price, the defendants would direct the buyers to automotive transportation companies. The transport companies were actually the shell corporations ready to receive payment and wait for one of the 25 criminals to withdraw the funds. Victims never received the car they thought was being delivered.

Upon receiving payment, the group would begin withdrawing money from the shell corporations' bank accounts sometimes the same day victims wired money. The group worked to ensure withdrawals were in varied denominations to not tip off financial institutions or authorities to the illegal activity. The money was then sent to various Eastern European countries. Most of the victims were never able to recover the money sent and some have been left paying for auto loans without ever purchasing a car.

Each defendant could be in for up to 50 years in prison for their crimes and victims will be eligible for restitution.

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50 years isn't long enough.

And pay restitution? Fat chance.

Maybe tie down those offenders at some car gathering with a big sign about what they did. Then give all the participants a big stick.

 

Sorry for a rant, I just hate a rip-off.

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 It's a good thing that those same crooks aren't the same people that I bought the Brooklyn bridge from, I am going to set up a toll booth and get rich on that investment. ?

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It's OK to hate a rip-off, but it's also pretty easy to not get taken by this particular scam. If the deal is too good to be true, it is. Just punch the VIN of any car you're looking at into Google. You will likely find the pictures posted elsewhere by the rightful owner or dealer. 

 

These scammers steal my photos all the time and use them to lure chumps into a scam like these. Here's a tip: if the car is being sold for a fraction of its actual value, you didn't just find an incredible bargain, you're about to become a statistic. We recently had a '57 Chevy convertible that showed up all over the internet with bogus ads. One was asking $14,000 for a fully restored black-on-red '57 Bel Air convertible--and a guy called me asking for directions since the scammer told him it was in St. Louis but he found it on our website. He had already packed his bags and withdrew the cash from his bank to come get the car. Come on, don't be a moron. Deals like that simply don't exist. Didn't your BS detector go off even a little bit?

 

Scammers rely on people being stupid and greedy. Sadly, America is populated with about 50% stupid and there's a lot of greed, so the ground is certainly fertile.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Hey, y'all---I've finally perfected mu Perpetual Motion machine, now all I need is a little money to develop perpetual bearings to tun it on...

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4 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

It's OK to hate a rip-off, but it's also pretty easy to not get taken by this particular scam. If the deal is too good to be true, it is. Just punch the VIN of any car you're looking at into Google. You will likely find the pictures posted elsewhere by the rightful owner or dealer. 

 

These scammers steal my photos all the time and use them to lure chumps into a scam like these. Here's a tip: if the car is being sold for a fraction of its actual value, you didn't just find an incredible bargain, you're about to become a statistic. We recently had a '57 Chevy convertible that showed up all over the internet with bogus ads. One was asking $14,000 for a fully restored black-on-red '57 Bel Air convertible--and a guy called me asking for directions since the scammer told him it was in St. Louis but he found it on our website. He had already packed his bags and withdrew the cash from his bank to come get the car. Come on, don't be a moron. Deals like that simply don't exist. Didn't your BS detector go off even a little bit?

 

Scammers rely on people being stupid. Sadly, America is populated with about 50% stupid so the ground is certainly fertile.

 

Agree, but I think it's more that they rely on people being greedy, which then leads to being stupid.

 

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"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son"

 

Dean Wormer didn't say anything about greed.

 

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"If it's too good to be true we want in on it". Half the population is below average intelligence, what I don't understand is where they keep getting the money.

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22 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

"If it's too good to be true we want in on it". Half the population is below average intelligence, what I don't understand is where they keep getting the money.

Mommy and daddy gave it to them.

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The article mentions nothing about the Nigerian prince, so I guess he's still at it.

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7 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

The article mentions nothing about the Nigerian prince, so I guess he's still at it.

Or working on that offshore oil platform. 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Scammers rely on people being stupid and greedy. Sadly, America is populated with about 50% stupid and there's a lot of greed, so the ground is certainly fertile.

 

Leave a few percent for the ignorant, no shortage of them.

 

There is only one person who will catch me up in a scheme to cause me to be the victim- that's ME. I can see through the tricks and shenanigans pretty well, but when I have a mind to flush all good sense down the toilet there is nothing to avoid the end. Luckily my car interests are fairly modest compared to some and I haven't hurt myself too bad.

 

When I have done myself in, I can usually clean and polish a car to make it look better than when I bought it. Actually made a few bucks. The profit from selling stuff I shouldn't have bought or don't want is the money I use to buy cars with, kind of "found money". "Real money" like the kind you get from being paid for work should never be used to buy collector car stuff with. That's where the victims made their first mistake.

 

I started buying cars when I was 13 years old. My Dad told me "Don't give them the car until you get the money. And Don't give them the money until you get the car." Back then it seemed to be a contradiction. If He had said "Always put yourself first" I might not have understood. My Grandfather said "Don't flirt with a rattlesnake." I have followed the advice of both.

Bernie

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I’m Not American , English, but I heard you guys have what they call black sites , think they should take these scum there lock up and  through away the keys .

ive alerted eBay several times , last scammer had 352 cars advertised and was taken down with an hour of my email , but amazed how someone can get away with posting so many fake ads. Think we should bring back some of our English medieval punishments , thief’s used to have hands chopped off , these scum deserve having a few bits chopped off , not just hands .

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49 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

The article mentions nothing about the Nigerian prince, so I guess he's still at it.

 

I had coffee at Tim Horton's with my Nigerian Prince friend on Tuesday night. He asked if my email was working. He said his seem to go out OK, but he never gets replies.

 

I told him to ping himself. Now we are discussing slang and tech terms. Short fuse on that guy when he is lonely.

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Be careful slamming some of the victims in these scams. Some people are led down a road of entrapment. And it can be a very ugly road. And that is why so few people come forward with their stories of getting scammed. And that is why a system gets away with doing this kind of stuff to people. Very large conservation could be had about this topic in this country. In some cases it is not people being dumb or stupid. A lot of people are set up, and it is not funny how far people will go in some cases to push others into scams/fraud.  

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Sadly a lot of older people who aren't as sharp as they used to be, are getting taken to the cleaners. They won't listen to friends, relatives, or the teller at the bank. To rob people of their life's savings at that time of life, is about as low as you can go.

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Good point Xander.

...and it doesn't necessarily have to be an ad at a "give away"  price that draws them.

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Once you start to look at things from the stand point of seizure of a persons assets. You will understand why this country allows fraud. If an entity or institution will allow an individual to be greedy, it is in fact the entity or institution that is greedy, and dependent on it. And when people are set up, to be used as a piece in a legal structure for the purpose of liability, while others benefit from the entrapment of that person. It shines a light on why we have so many victims of scams, and why we have so many people in prison. Abuse of power by a legal system, to set people up by entrapment, is out of control IMO. That is what goes on out here, and that is what people tried to do to me. Very large story out here, it will come out. And if people can have an honest conservation about what happened, it would bring about a lot of change in this State, and across this country.

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1 hour ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Once you start to look at things from the standpoint of seizure of a person's assets. You will understand why this country allows fraud. 

 

I must heartily disagree, Xander.

Many countries seize assets of crooks under certain conditions,

and none of them "allow" fraud.  Fraud goes on around the world, regrettably,

but I think you'll find it more prevalent in some of the less advanced nations.

 

I'm glad to see a band of wrongdoers caught, especially as it relates to our car topic.

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These guys in this article were using the same two scams that have been around since day one of the internet.


Scam 1 is where they say they will buy your car, but since they're out of the country, they'll have a "client" in the US who owes them money send you a certified check instead. But since that "client" owes them more than you're asking for your car, you will either send them a refund of the overage or, as seems to be the case here, send some money to a transport company to pay for transporting the car. Oh, and go ahead and keep a few bucks for yourself for your trouble. They rely on the fact that most people are greedy and that they believe a certified check is real money. They aren't trying to steal your car, they just want that refund or payment to the transportation company (which, of course, you think you're paying with the buyer's money, not your own). I talk to a surprising number of guys who want to buy one of my cars, but are waiting to sell theirs--and they're right in the middle of this scam, just "waiting for a check from the buyer." Sometimes they listen when I tell them it's BS, sometimes they don't. They WANT to believe.

 

Scam 2 is where they advertise a car for sale at a very good price, almost too good to be true. Plenty of suckers for that one, and since it's such a great bargain, everyone will be afraid of losing it to another buyer. So the "seller" will collect deposits to hold the car, as with the guy who was trying to buy my '57 Chevy for $14,000--he'd already sent $1000 to hold it and was coming to pay it off and pick it up. They will also use Ebay with similar success, using a Paypal deposit to hold the car and end the auction. Actually, the Ebay version of this scam is particularly effective because they're spending real money to place the ad rather than a Craig's List ad or something free. Amazing how often people will buy a car from someone with no history, no feedback, and whose account is only a few hours old.

 

Still, the crooks merely put the bait in the water, the victims didn't have to swallow the hook. These aren't clever cons, but they work because people want to believe the unbelievable and there's a sense of urgency to grab the deal before anyone else gets it. Greed and lack of critical thinking (AKA stupidity).

 

If you're not smart enough to spot the con, it isn't the world's problem to solve for you.

 

For sale. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Frame-off restoration, matching-numbers 283 Power Pack, original color combination. $14,000. Move fast, won't last at this price!

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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

I must heartily disagree, Xander.

Many countries seize assets of crooks under certain conditions,

and none of them "allow" fraud.  Fraud goes on around the world, regrettably,

but I think you'll find it more prevalent in some of the less advanced nations.

 

I'm glad to see a band of wrongdoers caught, especially as it relates to our car topic.

I agree with what you said, and disagree. People are people, and they will do what they want to do. I am glad the people got caught. Will you take $13,000 for the 57 Matt? 

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7 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Will you take $13,000 for the 57 Matt? 

 

Yes. Just send $1000 deposit to hold the car. My Paypal is down and my bank account password was hacked, plus I'm visiting a buddy on an offshore drilling platform for the next few years, so you need to use Western Union to send the money.

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