Jump to content

Classic car fraud scheme shut down


Recommended Posts

 
 
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.
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

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)
  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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 .

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

001.thumb.JPG.7f97e9c8e641061e8ed3689c32f6d573.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
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? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

My mother was in her 80's with dementia when the local bank gave her a large 30 year loan on her home. She sent the money overseas by Western Union at $9,999.99 checks. Under 10 grand so it wasn't reported. Bank said they knew something was wrong but Heppa rules prevented them from sounding an alarm to us. She lost everything. They were never caught and our government sends millions of dollars in aid to the country they were from. Channel 2 news did a special about her problem ( and she was mad at us & embarrassed ) Keep a close eye on elderly friends and family, scammers are everywhere!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When someone wants to sell me a high dollar item then It will be ME running the show. I don't NEED your Duesenberg or 56 Gullwing Mercedes at an amount that's not even six figures but apparently you NEED my money so here's how it's going to go down. If you don't meet every one of my requests the deals off. I will set up a bank account with the agreed upon price deposited into it and one that requires TWO ( yours and mine) signatures to make a withdrawal and must be made out at the tellers window only. In other words you are 100% assured the money is there. You will deliver the vehicle to my shop where it will be inspected, the title and numbers run, and workmanship examined. Then with the title in hand we will go to my bank and co-sign a check for the agreed amount and at which time the account will be closed. I have NEVER had a super deal show up in a truck or on a trailer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, mcdarrunt said:

When someone wants to sell me a high dollar item then It will be ME running the show. I don't NEED your Duesenberg or 56 Gullwing Mercedes at an amount that's not even six figures but apparently you NEED my money so here's how it's going to go down. If you don't meet every one of my requests the deals off. I will set up a bank account with the agreed upon price deposited into it and one that requires TWO ( yours and mine) signatures to make a withdrawal and must be made out at the tellers window only. In other words you are 100% assured the money is there. You will deliver the vehicle to my shop where it will be inspected, the title and numbers run, and workmanship examined. Then with the title in hand we will go to my bank and co-sign a check for the agreed amount and at which time the account will be closed. I have NEVER had a super deal show up in a truck or on a trailer.

 

 As a buyer, I would inspect the auto at the sellers address and would expect to be able to examine every part and to drive it.

 When satisfied, I would sign a sales agreement with the seller describing all concerns, agreed by both parties. 

A token deposit would be given and then the balance would be paid according to the sales agreement  upon the delivery of the auto. 

 

 A business deal is a two way deal, each being satisfied with their desires. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always heard "A fool and his money are soon parted" My question is how did the fool get the money in the 1st place?

 

I say if you really are stupid enough to purchase sight unseen a ridiculously low priced car from a photo, then you get what you deserve, your pocket picked. No sympathy here quit your crying and get on with it.

 

As for the so called professional collector car hustlers, buy an inexpensive "water mark" program to lay over the top of your photos so they can't be "stolen" and reproduced. The money you guys make hocking these cars certainly must give you enough profit to buy one. If your potential customer is really interested you can email photos directly.

 

just sayin'

 

brasscarguy

Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought my project based on an ad on a make specific club web site, which had a link to some pics on Flickr. Copied and saved the pics. Went and inspected the car, bought it, got it home. Placed an ad for more parts needed to finish it on another club site. Got an email offering parts from same model being parted out. I said show me what you have. He sent me back one of the Flickr pics of what was now my own car!

https://i.imgur.com/c1NMwoU.jpg[/img]

jp 26 Rover 9

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/3/2018 at 10:54 PM, Matt Harwood said:

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

I couldn't disagree more strongly. When the day comes that we can't trust each other civilization comes to an end. The more honest and trustworthy people are, the better society works. When that breaks down civilization breaks down with it.

 

Unfortunately the more trustworthy, and therefore the more trusting society is the easier it is for thieves and liars to take advantage. That is why it is so important to stamp out the crooks as soon as they pop up. Make sure the crooks know that crime does not pay and they will turn honest out of greed and selfishness. Let them get away with their scams and there is no end to it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Scams will never go away, as soon as one gets caught another one surfaces. I do have to agree with the others most of it is not based on innocence, but rather greed and stupidity in these car scams. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 10:24 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Many countries seize assets of crooks under certain conditions,

and none of them "allow" fraud.  .

 

Sadly, the good ol' USA, via the Federal Bank Secrecy Act and the so-called crime of "structuring",  routinely seizes the assets of innocent citizens.

 

On ‎8‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 1:35 PM, Tim Wolfe said:

My mother was in her 80's with dementia when the local bank gave her a large 30 year loan on her home. She sent the money overseas by Western Union at $9,999.99 checks. Under 10 grand so it wasn't reported.

 

That's a classic illustration of "structuring" and I'm surprised that the Feds didn't step in.  If the Feds had seized your mother's bank account, there would al least have been a chance of recovering its contents, but once it's overseas ...

 

What happened to your mother is a shame, and the bank was at the very least complicit in enabling the scheme.  I'm assuming that it was the bank that advised your mother to keep her transactions under the magic $10,000 threshold.

 

By the way, I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, so my above comments should be taken accordingly.

 

Cheers,

Grog

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a surprisingly high incidence of honesty in American society.

Take the example of Ebay. A cynic would have expected the first seller to send junk to the first buyer, and the first buyer send a dud check to the first seller, and Ebay would be over in 5 minutes. That is not what happened. Ebay has thousands of sellers with a positive rating of 97% or higher. One reason is that Ebay and Paypal have strict rules to deal with complaints. But notice the vast majority are honest even though no one is looking over their shoulder. It never enters their head that they should rip someone off. I know there are exceptions, the point is they are exceptions, and rarer than you might expect.

 

Other countries are not so lucky. France for example. People over there expect others to scam them, and they scam others in return. Experts estimate that this produces a drag on the economy amounting to 30%. In other words if everyone was honest the GDP would jump 30% overnight. And France is far from the worst.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

There is a surprisingly high incidence of honesty in American society.

 

Very true, maybe not so surprising, though. You really have to go searching to find a truly criminal person. If you differentiate between justice and the law people are even better.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...