Helpful Tips About Internet Scams
How to help protect yourself from scams.
Read Recent Scam Attempts Below in Red
Although the internet has made it possible to bring more buyers and sellers of vehicles together, there are warning signs to be aware of in order to protect yourself, your vehicle, your money and your identity.
Through the years, we have heard about scam attempts (and some that have been successful, unfortunately), when buying or selling online. In many cases, there seems to be a pattern that the scammers follow. They will make contact through email first and generally will not follow through with a phone call when asked. If they do make a call to you, their phone number will come through as "Private" or "Blocked". Be persistent in requesting a phone number where you can call them back.
Quite often their need to purchase your vehicle is urgent, and due to the urgency, they are unable to physically come and look at the vehicle. They plan to send one of their agents to look at it and/or pick it up. Often times, they claim to be buying the vehicle as a gift and since they are out of the country, they can only make the purchase via PayPal or by wiring the money. Some emails contain words which will raise a red flag, for example, they will call the vehicle a "unit". They may say that they will send their "agent" or "deligate" to come and look at the vehicle. It's important to remember also that these are only samples and not all scammers speak with broken English. Scammers come in all shapes and sizes, from a variety of countries with different levels of education and communication and from all walks of life.
If the car is being shipped, insist that the buyer pay the shipper separately, rather than sending you "extra" money to pay the shipper... another red flag!
Although PayPal is convenient, it's rare that a vehicle would be purchased using PayPal, therefore, your PayPal email address and password is something nobody needs to know.
It's important to never disclose your bank information. There have been sellers who have used Escrow.com where you can buy or sell your vehicle safely and confidentially. You can also check with your personal banking institution to see if they offer a type of wire transfer/personal check/cashier's check procedure to follow in order to protect yourself from fraud. Banks may offer "escrow" accounts where the funds will be held until the bank clears the funds with the issuing bank and will hold the title to the vehicle, to protect the buyer. Involve your bank in the transaction, so that determining if the wire transfer/check/funds are legit, aren't solely your responsibility. The banks are more knowledgeable and familiar with these types of situations, so rely on the professionals to insure that your transaction runs smoothly and scam-free. If the buyer/seller is serious and legitimate, they will appreciate the steps you take to protect their funds/vehicle and banking information as well.
It's a term that's been used for decades and stands true today... "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".
Listen to your gut and respond accordingly.
If you receive a suspicious email or phone call, please e-mail us so we can continue to inform our buyers, sellers and viewers.
11/02/17 - A new scammer, Joe McCraw with an email address email@example.com claims to be unable to come and view the vehicle because he is out of town for "emergency short time project" (yeah, right!!).
He says the shipping agent will take car of the necessary things concerning the transaction..... RED FLAG!! Ask him for his phone number...guaranteed he will not give it to you, nor will he call you...these email scammers never do. They want to eventually convince you to give them your address, bank info and account#. Do yourself a favor, do not respond.
Recent Scam Attempts
11/18/17 - Receiving reports of a scammer named Mr James Ron with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org He has contacted several of our advertisers.
Also a Jason Samuel using the email address email@example.com
10/24/17 - Now we have an Erin Meyer using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and has sent the following email to many of our sellers:
10/20/17 - A new SCAMMER name to watch for is Andrew Fairman and his email address is email@example.com He claims to be from Wisconsin and wants more information about the vehicle you have advertised. We advise that you do not reply to his email or provide him with any of your additional contact information. He has contacted several car owners and he asks the same questions and never mentions the type of car your selling, only that it's for sale on the website. I've received upated info from our advertisers. Most are finding that if you do not respond to any of these scammer's emails, they will not continue to contact you.
10/06/17 - Scam buyer that goes by the name Mr Douglas King claims his wife just had a new baby boy so he can't come out to buy the vehicle. He asks for your name, address and phone number and says he'll mail a cashier's check. This is a scam and he is contacting alot of sellers on our website. It's best to either ignore his emails or reply and tell him that you know he's a scam and that you have no plans to do business with him. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and recently changed it to email@example.com. He is saying his email account was hacked and will now include the word 'Jesus' in the subject line as a code that it's really him.
08/16/17 - Sellers Beware - Keystone Classic Muscle
Advertising Company Based in Pennsylvania
We have received numerous complaints from many of our sellers regarding calls they are receiving from Keystone Classic Muscle, based in Pennsylvania. I have already put a call into 'Tyler' last week when he charged a customer for 2 ads, totaling $900 and he issued a refund to them. Now there is a 'Cameron Pollard' calling from the same company. They claim to honor a 'Money Back Guarantee' by issuing a full refund of the $450 you pay them initially, one year AFTER you pay. Of course, based on the fact that their phones are connected to 'Magic Jack' which requires no registered name to use, they could be out of business and/or out of the country by then. I've asked them to not harass/pressure our advertisers, but to no avail, so I'm notifying you now to be cautious of this company and those who are making promises they may not be able to keep.
01/25/17 - A Gary Eduardo tried to purchase a vehicle through an agent because he is working on an offshore oil rig. He wanted to pay with PayPal and for the seller to pay his agent $1350 for shipping. Purchasing a vehicle through PayPal is very rare and asking a seller to pay an agent to schedule a pickup is generally a "red flag" and the sale of the vehicle should be avoided.
12/13/16 - A Micheal Nick with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org claims to be interested in purchasing your vehicle but cannot make contact by phone, after suffering a stroke. I always google email addresses and did find that this particular email address shows up on a Suspicious Email Address List, warning sellers to be aware of a possible scam attempt.
12/6/16 - Possible Scam - Buyer with the email address email@example.com claims to be sick and on vacation, asks for all sellers banking information...promises to send a cashiers check. When the seller asked him to call instead of using email, he says he was unable to talk due to a stroke.
11/10/16 - There's a 'so-called' buyer out there going by the name of Antonio Weldon and Anthony James who is mailing cashier's checks for an amount over the purchase price to cover shipping as well. Be aware that the checks have been written on closed accounts. ALWAYS make sure your bank has cleared the payment from any form of payment (cash included) before releasing the vehicle or title. It is the responsibility of the bank to verify the funds.
5/11/16 - A Brad Baker with the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org has been attempting to purchase vehicles from sellers on NWCAM, claiming he will make payment with a check, including shipping charges. He says that after you receive the check, he wants you to pay the shipper. This is clearly a scam and we recommend that you do not respond to his emails at all. Simply read it and then delete it.
5/4/16 - It's important to remember that not all scams are initiated by a potential buyer. Recently, one of our sellers received a solicitation phone call from a company called Coast To Coast Auto Sales who wanted the seller to advertise with them. They claim they will advertise your vehicle on numerous websites for $99. Reluctantly, he did sign up for their service and had nothing but problems from the beginning. They used pictures from another ad he had posted, incorrectly priced the vehicle at $5K less than his advertised price and wouldn't return his phone calls. This isn't the first time we've heard of this company and its' poor business tactics. Please Beware!
4/6/16 - Buyer claims that he is working on an oil platform off New Zealand and wants to buy a vehicle and pay via PayPal. Then he needs the seller to send $ to the Pickup agent for delivery, via Western Union.
1/11/16 - I have received emails from a few sellers who are being contacted via email by a San Patrick from the email address email@example.com He tells them he is ready to purchase their vehicle with a Cash Via Bank Transfer. He asks the seller to get back to him that day (immediately) so he can contact his bank for the transfer. This is a scam!! If you are contacted by this person, we recommend that you simply do not reply to his email. Otherwise, he will continue to email you.
8/5/15 - More reports coming in about similar emails/stories from a Peter Brooks and Abigail Adams. Peter's using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
7/18/15 - Update on 7/23/15 - A seller actually received a (fake) cashier's check for $75,850 to purchase his vehicle that is priced less than $50K. 'Mavis' is wanting him to return the extra money to her. A total scam and attempts made by the seller to report it to authorities fell on deaf ears...they simply said they can't be bothered because no crime was committed. So, sellers beware of these types of fradulent attempts.
Recent attempts to purchase vehicles on Northwest Classic Auto Mall comes from a person named Mavis Williams with an email address of email@example.com and a phone# of (916)655-7383. He/She claims that his US Cell Phone does not work in their present locations and they want to purchase your vehicle with a cashiers check and have the vehicle shipped, after you pay for the shipping, with the extra money included in the payment. Claims to be from Sacramento, California and on a business trip to England with some colleagues for an official assignment. SCAM ALERT!! THIS PERSON IS FAKE AND SENDING EMAILS TO MANY OF OUR SELLERS! NO NEED TO RESPOND...IT'S A SCAM! The cashier's check arrives via 'Priority Mail" from: Karen Do 6094 Windbreaker Way Sacramento, CA 95823.
6/30/15 - After responding to an ad in the Grants Pass Daily Courier, one of our viewers (Al) contacted the seller of an advertised '58 Impala with a very appealing price and received the following email in response:
I'm sorry for not getting back to you faster but my husband recently passed away and I was so confused. The 1958 Chevrolet Impala is still for sale and I'm asking $15,000 for it. I've spent a few days with a friend in Oregon she was trying to help me recover but I'm located in Charleston, SC and that's where the car is located. Car has a clear and free South Carolina title. 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible, transmission Powerglide (automatic), rear axle: 3:08, Engine: 348cid V-8/280hp with 3-2 bbl (Tri-power Engine), Power Brakes, Power Steering, Factory Air Conditioning, Power Windows, Power Seats, Fender Skirts, Dual Antennas, Red Light/Green Light Ezeye locator, AM Push Button Delco Radio, Simulated Side Exhausts, Floor Mats. Convertible top, black convertible boot. The exterior and interior are in excellent condition. It drives great and there are no mechanical issues. Everything works. First owner purchased it in California in 1958. My cousin, Mark Benson, the second owner, bought it from him in 2008. In 2010 I decided to purchased the car for my husband as a gift for his 70th Birthday but I only had $15,000 to spend on a car. My cousin made us so happy and sold the car to us for only $15,000. Today, the car is in excellent working order, has 60,126 original miles, has no mechanical problems, no leaks, no problems at all. I'm selling the car because my husband passed away and I want to make someone happy as we were when we bought it. I feel that someone else could get more enjoyment and better use out of it right now based on where I am in my life. Send me your zip code for shipping fees and details and we will take it from there, I offer free shipping for the first 500 miles. I uploaded all the pictures here.
PS: Pictures of VIN#, odometer, cowl tag and documents will be sent to serious buyers upon request.
Definitely a scam!! Thank you, Al for sharing this scam attempt information with us!
6/25/15 - The following "scam" email has been received by some of our advertisers after being contacted by a 'potential' interested party. The name of the person sending the email is Turriff Murray (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org). It's clear this is a scam, so we recommend cutting all communication with him ASAP.
It reads: "Good to hear back from you, i work with New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) and we are presently offshore in New Zealand Taranaki Basin on kupe project, i am at sea right now so i wont be able to check the car am buying this for my dad as a surprise gift so am willing to offer you the amount you requested, i insisted on PayPal because i don't have access to my bank account online and i don't have internet banking too, but i can pay from my PayPal account as i have my bank a/c attached to it, all i will need is your PayPal email address to make the payment, i will be expecting your PayPal email so that i will make payment, i have a pick-up agent that will come for the pick-up they will also determine and secure the shipment once payment has been sorted, i will also need your full name and phone number."
11/18/12 - If you're selling a vehicle online, we were notified of a scam where a fake interested buyer asks for proof of ownership of the vehicle you are selling, by requesting you to fax them a front and back copy of the title. Once they have it, they take those, plus pictures of your vehicle and try to sell it to others, take their money and then never deliver the vehicle. If you're looking to buy a vehicle, ALWAYS ask for a picture of the VIN number to see if it matches the title, because the titles may not be legit. Asking for a newly dated digital picture, stops the attempt to sell you a car they don't have.
Please Beware and Spread The Word! Thanks!
It's easy to share this slideshow/article on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, using the buttons below !
Join Northwest Classic Auto Mall on Facebook to hear about newly posted
car shows, cruise-ins, swap meets and classic vehicles for sale.
We also invite you to Sign Up to receive our e-mail newsletter for updates on
classic vehicles for sale and car events.