By on August 24, 2007

ebay_4_sale_dm.jpgKAIT TV says 18-year-old Roger Turley of Wynne, AR listed his used truck online, asking $1500. A week later, UPS delivered a check for $4999. “I thought ‘something’s not right there.’ And then, we got two checks.” The mystery bidders then asked if Turley if he’d accept a cashiers check, take his $1500 out and wire the balance of the funds back to them. Instead, Turley turned the checks over to his local bank. The bank confirmed he’d been sent worthless paper. "We would have been in trouble if we had taken the $1500 out and sent them the remainder,” Turley reflected. “We would have been liable for all of it." The Cross County Sheriff's Department is looking into the matter. Meanwhile, you have been warned.

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10 Comments on “Danger! Internet Car Sales Scam Hits the Hinterlands...”

  • avatar

    Howstuffworks just had an article on Con Artists, and this was exactly the con described in it.

  • avatar

    New? I heard about this scam at least a year ago.

  • avatar

    I’ve been thinking about this particular scam: Why $4999, exactly?

    There’s something there; I mean, why not $5K?

    According to this site:

    If the check is less than $5000, you can file charges in a civil court or you may be able to handle it through Small Claims Court.

    Do things change when the amount is at, or over, $5000?

    Also, using UPS is slick:
    Probably avoids Federal mail-fraud charges…

    Someone researched the legal ramifications of this scam before implementing it, that’s for sure.

    If you’re a TTAC fan who also happens to be a lawyer, I’d be interested in your comments.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I have learned ALOT this summer about online car auctions. The amount of con artists out there are amazing.

    By far the best investment I made was joining CARFAX or AutoCheck for the measly $25 = 60 days access. Virtually 50% of the VINS I’ve run have had either ‘airbag events’, frame damage, flood history, or various accident repair. And I’m sure there are a whole bunch that don’t get reported.

  • avatar

    This is a classic scam — trading fake money for real money. There are many variations on it, including those Nigerian email scams that we’ve all heard so much about.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that the reason for the $4,999 check is because federal law allows banks to place a hold only on check amounts above $5,000. This sort of scam unravels if the bank is allowed to do more homework before processing the funds.

  • avatar

    Yeah I think anytime someone wants you to send them money or give credit card info when you are not the buyer should set the alarm bells off.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Old news. A friend of mine ran into tons of these a few years ago when he tried to sell his car online. And if you try to sell anything on craigslist (or eBay) you’ll get this one, plus the escrow scams.

  • avatar

    May be old news to some, but not everyone, I suspect.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    I have come across this one a few times. Normally, you will get a badly composed email offering to buy your item. The emails appear to be mass produced, and make no mention of what your are selling. They get easy to spot.

  • avatar

    My dealership has had two similar scams like this come our way in the past month. They wanted us to charge credit cards and send the money to their “shipping agency”. we reported the 4 different credit cards that were given and they were all stolen. it always begins with a fax or email that says something like..”I can’t be reached by phone, because i’m deaf” and then “it’s for my son and I’ll pay cash, where should I send my deposit. One of the clowns said their address was 30 S Wacker Dr in Chicago. I’m pretty sure, but I don’t think people literally live at the mercantile exchange. I thought they just worked long hours

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