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Toyota Corolla
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Classified Ad Scams: buy a Toyota
2005 Toyota Corolla LE

Scams and scammers using these names: Mark Robinson, ccc, the U.S. military, but presently in the U.K., and going to Iraq soon
"I apologize for the delay, I'm in the military and now I am in United Kingdom and that's why I couldn't reply in time. If you are still interested in buying it, I'm asking $5,350."

Are you looking to buy a Toyota? Did "Mark Robinson" claiming to be from the U.S. military, but presently in the U.K., and going to Iraq soon contact you? Note that he says:

"I apologize for the delay, I'm in the military and now I am in United Kingdom and that's why I couldn't reply in time. If you are still interested in buying it, I'm asking $5,350. It has a clean title, very well maintained, always garage kept, no rust, excellent condition, runs and sounds 100% perfect with no leaks or noises. All power and optional equipments are working perfect. I have to sell this car as fast as I can because in three weeks I will be in Iraq". 

That's a clue to a scam right there!

Here are the clues that this is a scam:

  1. The scammers NEVER can meet in person.  They may have a $50,000 boat to sell to you or want to buy a $45,000 car from you, but somehow they are always "out of the country" on business, in in the army, whatever.  In the real world, anyone buying or selling something for more than a few hundred dollars, wants to see it first.  And especially when renting a house or apartment!
  2. The price is absurdly low.
  3. Next, he will want to write a check in excess of the required amount. Why? That makes no sense at all. If he hasn't got a bank account, he could always pay in cash or get a money order.
  4. Then, he wants the "excess" from the check sent BACK to him or to other individuals, often in many different locations, and always by Western Union or Money Gram! Alarm bells should be going off by now.  Western Union wires and Moneygrams are not only untraceable, they're irretrievable.  Once the recipient picks them up (which can be done at ANY Western Union office in the world), the money is gone, gone, gone!
  5. And then there are the little clues; signs like the strange name and location changes.  Maybe, first he's "David Rapheal", then he's suddenly Shawn Nickolas, supposedly in England, yet the first name has an American spelling and the last name is spelled more like an Eastern European or Germanic origin.
  6. The scammers typically ramble on about issues ("I apologize for the delay, I'm in the military and now I am in United Kingdom and that's why I couldn't reply in time. If you are still interested in buying it, I'm asking $5,350. It has a clean title, very well maintained, always garage kept, no rust, excellent condition, runs and sounds 100% perfect with no leaks or noises. All power and optional equipments are working perfect. I have to sell this car as fast as I can because in three weeks I will be in Iraq") that are irrelevant to such a sale or rental; such as, how they are doing this for charity, or recently moved to the UK, or are traveling in Africa right now.  You as a seller / landlord, don't and shouldn't care about these issues: you are trying to find a legitimate buyer or renter for your item at a fair market price.  The scammer knows this and is merely trying to cloud the issue and provide excuses for not complying with the basic requirements of a sale. He's also trying to engender trust; one of the key elements of any con game.
  7. Scammers frequently refer to "trust", "faith" and God; in ways that no rational person in western Society would ever do in a business transaction, as in, "I know I can trust you", or "my faith in God tells me to enter this agreement with you".

An actual email that illustrate this type of newspaper classified ad scam:

Any highlighted passages below are to draw your attention to typical scam clues:


Email 1 - from the victim:

I inquired about this car for sale from my local paper.  Here is the email response.  This guy has not been caught, and I dont know if anyone else has been scammed by him. If you look at the price, you will see, its too good to be true. My son was a victim of a Paypal UK scam in the past, so fortunately, we knew better

Email 2 - from the scammer:

Hi,

I'm Mark Robinson, you inquired about my 2005 Toyota Corolla LE (VIN: 2T1BR32E65C447860).

I apologize for the delay, I'm in the military and now I am in United Kingdom and that's why I couldn't reply in time. If you are still interested in buying it, I'm asking $5,350. It has a clean title, very well maintained, always garage kept, no rust, excellent condition, runs and sounds 100% perfect with no leaks or noises. All power and optional equipments are working perfect. I have to sell this car as fast as I can because in three weeks I will be in Iraq and I think I'll stay there for a while that's why I'm selling it so cheap. I intend to buy a new car when I'll get back home. If you want to buy the car, I can ship for free within US with one of our military airplanes so you don't have to worry about the distance. If you are interested we can use a third party escrow broker, Moneybookers (http://www.moneybookers.com/app/help.pl?s=escrow), to secure the transaction and to handle this whole process for us. Using a reputable E-Commerce third party escrow company will secure the transaction and you will receive the car before I'll get paid and of course I'm also covered because the funds will be kept safety into the escrow account. This is the best way for me even if I'll have to pay some extra money for their services. I'll cover the broker's fee and like I've explained, the shipping will be free because I can use one of our airplanes here and I don't have to pay anything. Let me know if you are interested. You can see some pics on the following link from my personal page: http://picasaweb.google.com/MrkRb1/CorollaLE

You'll love the car, I can guarantee you that!

 


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Names used by scammers in the examples on this page and others often belong to real people and businesses who often have no knowledge of nor connection to the scammer's use of their name and information.  Sample scam emails and other documents are copies of the scam to help potential victims recognize and avoid it.  You should presume that any names used and presented here in a scam are either fictitious or used without their legitimate owner's permission.
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