Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scammers Looking for Bargain Hunters...Beware

When the economy turns sour there are often people willing to dump possessions at a fraction of their true value, that's a sad but simple reality. Scam artists are already hard at work, trying to target those in search of a really good deal. In a way its hard for me to feel sympathy for someone who gets burned by trying to profit from another's misfortune, but regardless I hate seeing people get hurt and I know there are some out there simply looking to conserve cash.

A guy in the maintenance department where I work was looking into what he thought was a helluva bargain. He's looking for a used car, and wants to get as much as he can for as little as possible. Like many he turned to the Internet and found THIS LISTING. A 2000 Mercedes Benz with only 79,000 km, asking only $5,000. Here's the description:

This Benz is one of a kind since I owned it for new, I am a non smoker driver and there are no nasty smalls around the car's interior, I kept it very clean, it has black exterior with a black leather interior. No scratches and dents what so ever, everything check out on this car. I'll be waiting for any messages in regards to this offer as you are free to email me any time: carolstev5@gmail.comV8, RWD drive 9058566681

Bill, (not his real name) showed me the email he'd received back in response to his inquiry. I'd suspected it was a scam, and the email cinched it. Here's what it said:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding my vehicle. If you are interested you should know that it has never been wrecked or damaged, the vehicle is in excellent condition. The final price including shipping will be $5,000.00 CAD. The vehicle is absolutely perfect, it has a clear title, never been repaired, smoked in, never been involved in any type of accident or had any paint or body work done! I live in England now, where I just moved back with my parents, I was born here and I guess there is no need to explain that due to the financial and economic crisis I lost my job and I had to sell everything I owned in Canada almost at a price for nothing; my house, all my belongings and finally my car, but that's the situation, I'm going through really hard times right now. Any way, the vehicle will be delivered along with all the documents (the clear and clean title already signed off by me, owner's manual, 2 sets of keys, service records, and of course the bill of sale notarized and signed by me). I would like to use eBay for our both safety and comfort (they will take care of the shipping/payment).

If you are still interested just send me the buyer's name and shipping address, I'll open a case and the company will contact you with all the informations about our deal.

Jeez Lousie, this is almost as obvious as those emails everyone gets about helping out some widow who needs a few grand to unlock a multi-million dollar inheritance...almost. I'm tempted to play along with the scammer for shits and giggles. I could contact them as yet another buyer/sucker and tell them to send me the information about where I ship the money, in all likelihood some phony Ebay or PayPal site. Then once that information is forwarded I'd email them back saying I'll have the money to them as soon as the $1,000,000 I'm expecting from a Nigerian widow I'm helping comes through.

Chances are its the car seller and widow are the same person.

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