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Email sale...scam?


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Here is what I first received:

Hello! The car is still for sale and the price is $14,800. The car is being sold as described, clean title, no mechanical or electrical issues, never damaged in an accident, flood, or fire. The car is ready for the road and was recently serviced. Let me introduce myself. My name is James Dupree and I work as a Crane Operator. I got a new job offer from PCL Construction two weeks ago which I accepted and right now I am in Canada for the next six months when my contract ends. Because everything happened very fast I decided to use an auto consignment company to take care of the entire sale.
If you want to find out more details about how we can close up this deal, or if you want more pictures do not hesitate to contact me and I will respond at my earliest convenience. May I know where you are located?

 

Today is received this:

Hello again,

The car is located in Norfolk, VA ready to go. The car will come with a clear title, two sets of keys, manuals and some service history records. Because I am unable to handle this transaction personally, I propose to close the deal through an auto broker, in the most safe and easiest way possible for both of us. Basically, it's similar to buying a car locally, the money will be sent to their escrow account, and they will keep your money secure until you receive and inspect the car. When you receive the car you will have a 7 days inspection period before you decide if you wish to keep it or not. In case that you reject the car the broker will refund your money and shipping back will be my concern. If you are serious about buying the car, I will ship it anywhere in the USA with no extra cost.
If you want to move forward please contact me back so we can get the ball rolling!

PS: I have attached more pictures. Please check.

 

If it looks to good to be true.............question
 

1.jpg

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7.jpg

8.jpg

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I just wrote back this:

 

James,
 
Are you on facebook?  I would like to see the title and VIN.
 
I should make arrangements to come and test drive the car.  I will arrange a flight to the Norfolk area.
 
Please send your phone number and Facebook name.
 
Thanks,
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Could go either way.

 

Easiest way to find out whether a scam is to do what you're doing. Ask for more pictures, vin and a picture with the plate with at least the state not edited out, they can keep numbers edited out.

 

If they keep giving you excuses of "I'm not local/I'm not available/I don't have any more pictures and can't get them" etc then more than likely a scam.

 

Escrow sounds slightly unorthodox.

 

Easy way is to find a local enthusiast (not necessarily a 7 owner) and pay them to scope the car out for you before flying out etc.

 

So far has all the checkmarks of a scam. Few pictures without confirming the state, he's magically unreachable in person, wants the money held by a third party etc.

 

Then again, high risk things = high reward, so if it's true it would be a good deal. 

 

I flew out to see my car across the country and the previous owner was saying he can't get pictures because he doesn't know how to use a phone and needs somebody's help with it etc. A few other red flags too. All turned out to be real. Had a friend check it out beforehand. 

Edited by Vovchandr
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Thanks for your thoughts.

 

yep...the "Escrow sounds slightly unorthodox"

 

I had a similar situation when trying to sell a Shelby Daytona Coupe...to European contact.

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Be very careful, this is most likely a scam. I lost $13k last summer booking a condo in Park City. This ad is very similar the way the condo scam was written, including the out of the country phrase. In my case the scammer spoofed  VRBO site very professionally. 

Edited by kayentaskier
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Either a scam or a bunch here will wish they had beat you to it.  As stated above, somebody has to see and touch it before spending much.  If you can't find a friend to see it, you could check a nearby shop and for a nominal sum get an inspection.  

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I will add my penny's worth to this debate.

 

1) The photos are from an old ad as @mrmustang notes.   Sellers frequently do reuse photos but it is a flag that becomes important if there are other flags.

2) The price is just way off - add $10K to get it into a reasonable price area.  

3) If you are buying a seven you really need to inspect it in person.  These are such unique vehicles that condition matters a lot and impacts the valuation greatly.  

4) If you have any doubts about settling a transaction then insist on using an independent escrow service like escrow.com.    That way someone independent is verifying if conditions of sale are met before releasing title or releasing funds.  His proposed escrow service may just be a friend helping him.  

 

Your approach on wanting to see the car in person is the right one.  If serious there will be a car to inspect.  If not then the correspondence will peter out.  

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Add me to the list of sceptics. The price is unrealistically low, as has been noted. The wording of the ad is occasionally off, as if english is not their first language, and they seem to be making your right to inspect contingent on first sending them (or their agent) the asking price. 
 

So at a minimum, I’d ask for a chance for you, or someone on your behalf, to inspect the car, before $ is transferred. It would be useful to know the history of the car and details of the seller’s ownership. Perhaps ask  questions  that might demonstrate that this seller does not understand the vehicle (e.g.: how much power does its Duratec engine make- since these all came with Zetec engines, etc.).

 

Happy hunting!

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Now that I know that pictures are from an old ad, after all the other red flags I'm 95% convinced it's a scam. 

 

Very strange to be using such an obscure car for the scam however. 

 

 

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This is remarkably similar to a scam I nearly fell for.  A Seven at a suspiciously low price, the same phony escrow situation, same 7 day grace period.  "Seller" kept coming up with excuses why I couldn't see the car in person.  I was surprised that the scammer seemed to know a lot about Caterhams in his email responses to my questions.  After realizing it was a scam, I googled a few phrases and found the real web post for the car from several year ago, listed for a reasonable price.  The scammer was just copy/pasting sentences from that write up and passing it off as his responses to my questions.  Rat bastard nearly broke my heart when I realized it was not real.

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Some offline discussions with a few people overnight.  

#45 - originally Columbus Ohio   Then it was up for sale at $24000:

Superformance Owners Association ** FOR SALE SITE **

 

A video of the same car

https://fb.watch/avJiZRSqjR/

 

It was then sold to an owner in Austin, Texas.  That owner put it up for sale at some point.   The photos posted above by @wyowill are lifted from the Texas for sale ad (with a later covering up of the license plate).  Ad does not give me a date of listing (that I can work out)

2002 Lotus Seven by Superformance for sale: photos, technical specifications, description (topclassiccarsforsale.com)

 

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9 hours ago, Croc said:

Just an FYI, top classic cars for sale sucks ads in from around the web and is not a stand alone site. Most of the cars listed have already been sold and are grossly outdated.

 

Think of it as a pass through site that works on "click through" advertising revenue and nothing else.

 

 

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I know that but I thought it relevant that we identified a source for the photos being used pre-their current manipulation.  

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31 minutes ago, Croc said:

I know that but I thought it relevant that we identified a source for the photos being used pre-their current manipulation.  

I figured you knew, but put it out there for everyone else, as we do not want to point people to a questionable resource.

 

 

Bill S.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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