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How Does This Scam Work?


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Advertised my RX350 for sale and got two responses, both from Gmail addresses.

  • Both are working offshore (one on a ship, one on a rig)
  • Both have a son who just graduated top of his class at uni, and they want the car for a present
  • One graduated in Darwin, the other in Canberra but both want the car sent to Darwin
  • Both have spoken to freight companies to get the car picked up and delivered
  • Both can pay by bank transfer or paypal

OK, so there's obviously some kind of scam going on here. My questions are:

  • How does the scam work?
  • If I report this to police or consumer protection is there any action they can take, given that I haven't actually been defrauded as yet?

The strange thing is that either one of these stories would have been plausible on its own, but with two coming together there's obviously something crooked going on.

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The con operates as follows: a “buyer” contacts you expressing an interest in your car

Commonly, the emails are littered with grammatical errors, are oddly phrased and the buyer is most likely to say he or she is out of the country.

They then go on to say they want your item but can only arrange payment via PayPal.

They’ll ask you to give your PayPal details or set up an account. Once you’ve done that, you receive a notification that you've been paid for your goods. In fact you've been overpaid.

Subsequently you are asked to send the difference back via Western Union or some other online payment method – but as you do so, the fraudsters reverse the PayPal transaction, leaving you hundreds or thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Alternatively, the scam works by someone collecting the car, or whatever you’re selling, then raising a dispute with PayPal that the goods haven’t been received. PayPal can then take back the money from your account.

The freight companies never collect the car

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What they also tried with me was that they wanted me to pay for the freight and they would pay extra to cover the freight costs. (the bank accounts are real but they are not freight companies)

They also sent me fake pay pal statements saying they have paid in full. You only need to place your cursor on the senders e-mail and you will quickly find out its all a half hearted attempt by some looser to try and scam you.

These attempts to defraud me have happened at least a dozen times to the point that I get bored with them.

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Thanks for the answers. I've just got a dodgy looking text - I rang the number and it wasn't connected. If I can't talk to the buyer and meet them face-to-face I'm not really interested.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...
  • 3 years later...

I hate scumbags like this, trying to gain out of someone else's expense.  When i tried selling my WRX few years back, i had a very similar story.  Advertised it on a few sites including Gumtree.  They wanted the car sent to Darwin etc and it was to be used for transportation (really, a WRX for transportation).  So obvious it was sent out to hundreds of ads and they are praying on law of averages that a few will fall for it.

At first i told them i have friends in Darwin, whats your address............didnt get a response lol

Later in the piece, i said bottom line, $ in my account, verified otherwise no deal.  I got paypal pages (fake but actually good fakes) indicating $ in my account (overpaid as well, yeah right not suss at all).  Ignored it then they threatened legal action stating they had paid me, wheres the car.  I reported it and told them where to go in a nice way.

Sad thing is, im sure they do this because some people fall for it in 1 way or another

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  • 3 weeks later...

i had a similar scam, however im not sure how it would have worked. in your example, an easily refundable paypal transfer is used. in my example (was selling a watch) they were offering to transfer cash into my bank account, and i stated that i would wait a few days\weeks to confirm full clearance of funds before sending the goods. i didnt go thru with it in the end because it was obviously a scam, but i always wondered how they would do the scam? as in, can a bank transfer be reversed?

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