Helpful Tips About Internet Scams
Protect yourself from scams.
Read Recent Scam Attempts Below in Red
*** If you are receiving emails or texts from a person you believe may be a scammer, ask them to call you. If they won't call you, for whatever reason, I'm inclined to believe they are a scam. This seems to be a common denominator with scammers. They email or text only, but won't call. ***
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. ALWAYS open a separate bank account for the transaction. This way, the funds from the vehicle sale will not involve your current account(s).
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.
*** The FBI has an Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) where you can provide information to them. Click Here to file a complaint with the IC3.
Recent Scam Attempts
10/3/23 - A seller was contacted by a John Walter using the email address email@example.com who used stolen banking information from a company located in Massachusetts, with a postmark from Fresno, CA and a Georgia return address. The check was more than the asking price and the scammer requested the seller send the overpayment back to him. Clearly a SCAM! We strongly suggest using Bank to Bank Transfers only when dealing with out of state buyers. Open a separate account to be used strictly for the transaction and make the bank responsible for verifying the funds.
8/6/23 - Recently, a client forwarded the following information about 2 scammers who contacted him, regarding his vehicle for sale. Their names are Randy Bentz firstname.lastname@example.org and Ruben email@example.com. In both cases, they contacted me via email, were not interested to come see the car, and sent checks that included funds for me to pay the shipper. Interestingly, the checks from both "buyers" came from third parties located in different city's (one was shipped from Chicago with a check drawn on a bank in Corpus Christi Texas and one was sent from Lewis Center Ohio with no bank name or city shown on the check.
4/20/22 - Please read the 6/3/22 post and be aware that Jerome is now using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
1-26-23 - Sellers have reported receiving emails and checks from a Susan Lawrence, wanting to buy their vehicle. There's been reports of her living in New York, California, Florida and Wisconsin. Checks are fraudulent and she is a scammer. PLEASE do not communicate only through email or text with interested parties. If they won't CALL you, they aren't a buyer. Giving your mailing/physical address to someone who won't call you puts you and your vehicle at risk of becoming a victim.
9/12/22 - Denver phone number (303) 531-1671 is texting sellers asking to send him the final price and claims that his mover's would pick up the car/parts, etc. once the Certified Check was cashed and cleared. Scammer won't return phone calls. Remember to avoid continuing a conversation with anyone via email or text, if they won't give you a phone call. They are avoiding you for a reason.
6/3/22 - Sellers beware! There's a Jerome Arthur from Missoula, MT (email address is email@example.com ) who is contacting sellers offering full price for their vehicle, asking for their mailing address, etc., but only communicating through email. The best way to determine if an interested party is legit is to ask them to call you. If they won't pick up the phone and call you, stop communicating with them and move on with your life. They are a scammer, not a buyer.
3/25/22 - We've received calls from a few sellers who have received emails from a Michael Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a Terrie Bowsher who repeatedly ask questions about the vehicle when the information is clearly in the ad. They want to send a cashier's check and then a shipper, but won't follow through with a phone call. WARNING: Always ask the interested party to give you a call. If they won't call...they aren't a serious buyer.
12/7/21 - We have an Elizabeth Ruiz (email@example.com) who has been contacting our sellers claiming she's too busy to allow her to take a look but the shipper has been informed and ready for pick up. She then asks about sending a Certified Check and needs your full name, address and phone number. This is clearly a scam and communication with her should not be continued.
9/22/21- A John Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been making the rounds on our website, asking for current pictures and price of the vehicle/parts being sold. He wants to send the seller their asking price plus extra money for shipping and that he will pay you $100 to take the ad down. TOTAL SCAM!! Tell him to take a hike....
7/30/21 - Car sellers beware! I spoke with a Bobby Magnusson out of Arizona who has contacted a few of our advertisers and says he has a buyer for their car. He asks the seller for a 'finders fee' and claims to also charge a 'finders fee' to the buyer. While he never produced a buyer, he did take the pictures and description and advertised the vehicle on his Facebook Page, as if he was the owner/seller. When a legitimate potential buyer brought this to the attention of our seller, he expressed concern as to who really owned the car. You can see how this would be a problem....the ads were identical. I called Bobby Magnusson and expressed mine and the seller's concern over his advertising their vehicle and in a nutshell, he doesn't feel as though he's doing anything wrong. What's wrong is claiming to have a buyer and when he couldn't produce one, he took it upon himself to advertise the vehicle, which in turn, sends a message on the internet that the REAL ad could be a 'scam'. Please be cautious of these types of 'sweet talking salespeople'. I spoke with 2 sellers on our website who dealt with him and both never heard from the buyer he claims to have had.
5/16/21 - Another scammer emails to ask for pictures, price, etc., of the vehicle when they are in the ad. Watch out for emails from Mariam Jacker@gmail.com and respond only to let him/her know you won't deal with scammers.
5/15/21 - Emails from a Ken Mooris (email@example.com) are being received by a few of our sellers, indicating he will pay the asking price and pay by check. He says his partner will handle the shipping to complete the sale. This is clearly a scam and I recommend not communicating with him.
5/6/21 - A few advertisers are hearing via email from a man named Doug Jackson with an email address firstname.lastname@example.org. He asks for the Present Condition', 'Few Picture' and 'Last Asking Price'. This is clearly a scam as most of those words are often used by scammers. When you suspect you are being contacted by a scammer, simply ask them to call you. Most scammers won't pick up the phone and call....they only want to make contact via email or texting. If that's the case.... stop all communication and let them know you are aware they are a scammer and you won't sell a vehicle via email or texting.
12/15/20 - Sellers are reporting that a Paul James has been contacting them about their vehicle ad. He wants to send extra money and have the seller pay for shipping. He asks that they put a 'SOLD' on their ad and will compensate them with $100 for doing so. He asks for their mailing address and phone number. Please do not give your address to anyone who does not pick up the phone and call you to discuss your vehicle. If they can't talk to you on the phone, I would strongly suggest stopping communication with them. His email address is email@example.com
9/23/20 - Sellers Beware! I was contacted today by a seller on NW Classic Auto Mall who had been contacted by a Robert Ballard, claiming he was out of the country and working for National Geographic. Robert wanted to use a third party (Stan Auto Sales) to handle the money for the sale/purchase. The seller of the car recognized it as a pure scam from the beginning. After hearing this, I did some research and found the following information on www.ScamPulse.com
The car up for sale was located in Portland, Oregon, which Stan Auto Sales is also, however, they list a downtown Portland address and Suite #, and not an actual Dealership business. Their website is www.stanautosales.com. Their website address was recently acquired on August 25, 2020 and their website ownership is listed as 'private'.
7-13-20 - Emails are coming in from firstname.lastname@example.org who claims to be "interested in your ad and he would like to ask for the price and any available photo if it's still for sale".... this is a scam! Please reply to his email and tell him that you know he's a scammer and that we've reported his email address and IPServer information to the authorities. I emailed him twice already.
6-8-20 - I was notified by a few sellers today about a 'potential buyer' who contacted them by the name of Mark Donovan. His phone number is 408-709-3861. He wanted to send a check for the amount of the vehicle PLUS money for the seller to pay the shipping company...which of course, is a RED FLAG. If you are contacted by this person, please let him know we are aware of his scam attempts. If you receive any other information on this scammer, please let me know at (503)577-3100. Thank you!
1-25-20 - Raymond Smith with an email address email@example.com and a phone number of (817)591-2815, is contacting a lot of sellers on the website and he is a scammer. Please, please, please do not give your mailing address (home address) to anybody who will not pick up the phone and call you. I don't care what excuse they give you for not being able to call you.... 99.999999999% of the time, if they won't call you, they are a scammer!!
1-20-20 - A 'fake' potential buyer is contacting our sellers through email and expresses interest in their vehicle. He says he would like to have it inspected and wants the seller to pay 1/2 of the $200 inspection fee through Pay Pal. The email is from firstname.lastname@example.org He requests you make a Pay Pal payment for $100 to email@example.com
Please do not continue emailing with this scammer if he contacts you. If you want to, you can reply and tell him that you know he's a scammer and that we have contacted the authorities about him. Many thanks to the sellers who let us know when they receive a suspicious email or text. Most scammers don't call you...so if you feel like you're being contacted by a scammer, ask him to call you. Scammers will most likely tell you that they are either in a remote area for work or on a ship out at sea for the military and they have poor cell service.
1-4-20 - New emails coming in from a James Dicarlo with an email address firstname.lastname@example.org is definitely a scammer. He offers to send a $1,000 deposit pending inspection and final payment with a promise to close the transaction within 2 weeks. We recommend ignoring emails from this guy.
9-28-19 - Nancy Donne with the email address email@example.com has contacted some of our sellers with the typical 'I'm interested in purchasing' email and proceeds to ask for mailing address to send payment for the vehicle plus shipping cost so YOU can pay their shipper. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS SCAMMER!.
8/22/19 - Steven Walter with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org has been confirmed as a scammer and we recommend ignoring his emails. In his email, he asks if the vehicle is still for sale and wants you to get back to him with the 'final address via mail so he can proceed on the payment plan'. It's best to not even respond to his email.
5/31/19 - Albert Schmider with an email address email@example.com is emailing several sellers with the following: "Am Albert Schmider i saw the Ad of your Classic Car on northwestclassicautomall. Please what is the last asking price am very interested..... Could you email me back with the details below.. Asking price.. Present condition.. Please kindly email me back ASAP. Thanks..Albert Schmider. The subject line says 'Purchase Enquiry.....www.northwestclassicautomall.com'.
5/18/19 - New scammer hitting the website. His name is Brian and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE do not give him your mailing address for payment. If someone who seems interested in your vehicle but makes excuses as to why they can't pick up the phone and call you, we recommend you stop all email or text communication with them.
5/2/19 - Several sellers have received emails from John Roberts (using the screen name itiswellijn2019 on auto forums), with an email address email@example.com asking them to remove their ad from the website and consider their vehicle sold with his $100 deposit. He is a scammer and not a serious buyer. Please let him know that his email address and scam is being posted on our website, warning others about him. We have also had a few sellers received envelopes from him that was mailed through FedEx and we will be working with FedEx to determine where it was mailed from. I'm sure the envelope also has fingerprints on it!! Thank you!
4/29/19 - I've received a few calls regarding the person mentioned in our 11/2/17 post, Joe McCraw with an email address firstname.lastname@example.org is continuing to try and scam sellers. Please beware!
12/16/18 - We've had a couple sellers contact us about a Capt Amalbertini with the email address email@example.com from CSDS Aircraft out of Los Angeles, CA. I googled it and found the email address connected to Malaysia and the CSDS Aircraft has never heard of the name Capt Amalbertini. Please be aware of this probable scammer!!!
11/21/18 - Cox Bryant (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org) appears to be a buyer but states he was recently married and looking for a gift to surprise his bride after returning from their honeymoon. Claims he'll send a "mover" to pick up the part/vehicle once the cashier check has cleared. He asks for the ad to be removed and for the sellers full name and address which is a clear indication that he plans to 'steal' the pictures of the part/vehicle and description and place an ad himself on other advertising venues. Always ask the buyer to call you. If they won't call and have a long list of reasons why they can't call, it's more than likely a scam.
11/7/18 - Sellers Beware - Keystone Classic Muscle and Coast to Coast
Advertising Companies Soliciting Sellers To Advertise With Them
We continue to receive complaints from many of our sellers regarding calls from Keystone Classic Muscle and Coast to Coast. I've asked them to not harass/pressure our sellers, but to no avail, so I am just announcing again to be cautious of these companies and others who are making promises they may not be able to keep. I was able to be part of an incoming call made to one of our sellers from Keystone Classic Muscle who literally lied to the seller by telling him that Keystone Classic Muscle was part of the Northwest Classic Auto Mall Network. Let it be clear that we (Northwest Classic Auto Mall) do not work with any of the companies who are soliciting our sellers. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call our office at (503)577-3100.
7/23/18 - We have received numerous phone calls today alerting us that sellers are receiving emails from Andrew Macrae Ramsesrram21@outlook.com and email@example.com stating he is wiring money. There is also an email coming from an firstname.lastname@example.org asking for a copy of the Title to the vehicle to take to her loan officer, then offers a website address to send it to. Sellers Beware!! These are scams! Ignore the emails and don't click on the links.
07/16/18 - Beware of a Donnez Banks with the email address email@example.com He appears to be a scammer from the past who has resurfaced with a new email address.
11/02/17 - A new scammer, Joe McCraw with an email address firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
11/18/17 - Receiving reports of a scammer named Mr James Ron with the email address email@example.com He has contacted several of our advertisers.
Also a Jason Samuel using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
10/24/17 - Now we have an Erin Meyer using the email address email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and recently changed it to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com). 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!
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