Scam and Swindle

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I think one of the reasons that our society is having some issues is that we are always worried about getting scammed. Now that the internet is prevalent, we see it much more often. This makes us apprehensive when strangers approach, in real live and /or electronically.

I don’t worry about it too much. I put my name and address, plus phone number on my resume on my website. I’d rather be accessible than worry about the negative consequences of the action.

But saying that, the guys doing the swindling have step up their game. I wrote something last week about things coming in 3. Here it happened again.

The first one was the most perplexing. I’ve been kind of keeping a lookout for an AWD Sienna minivan. I’ve had a couple AWD Caravans, but Toyota is the only company making a minivan AWD now. Anyway, I looked on eBay and there is a 2009 with 40K. It shows a bunch of pictures and then says at the bottom of the description that 13K with buy it today. So I email the guy and ask him where it is and if that is true.

It takes a couple days and the response is that yes, 13K will by it. And he says it is in Topeka. I’m thinking, that is too weird. Then I get the normal letter than the guy is in England and that an eBay agent will meet me with the papers. He says the van in stored in his garage here. So, I knew it is a scam, but, I kept going, just to see what was up. I was getting the guys name on his email, Jeremy Stone. It was a Topeka-like email address, a Southwestern Bell internet address. I ask his address and he gives it to me.

I look the address up on Goggle Maps and can see there is a window in the garage. I decide to drive over there just to see if there is a .0001% chance this could be legit. I get there and the garage door is open. And there is sitting a AWD Toyota minivan. I think, man, this is too weird. There is a guy in the driveway and I ask him if he is Jeremy. He says that Jeremy isn’t there, but his wife is. So, the guy goes into the garage and knocks on the door and a nice woman comes out.

I say hi and explain a little why I’m there. She assures me that her minivan isn’t for sale. I show here my phone with the eBay auction and then the emails from supposedly her husband. She asks me to see the email address and says it isn’t his.

So, the guy on eBay, somehow can track my eBay name back to me living in Topeka, that isn’t such a big deal. But after that, he goes and gets a Topeka email address and then assumes the name of a real person that lives in Topeka that has the same color and model Toyota minivan. I have no idea how he even gets the van’s information. It seems like really a lot of trouble. I’m not sure how much money he planned or did receive. There was a $500 pre payment. Maybe if he had 20 stupid guys on the hook, he ended up with $10,000. But he would have to get 20 different email addresses and then find 20 AWD Toyota Sienna minivans. Seems pretty elaborate.

The next two were just the normal weird emails. One was that I had a up coming trip, but it was sent from Southwest. Maybe Southwest just screwed up, but it looked real. I have a flight from Las Vegas to Columbus Ohio on August 29th. I’d have to get to Las Vegas to make it though.

The last one was from one of our military guys. It’s below. I decided to respond, just for fun. I never heard back, boo.

Anyway, we are all getting bombarded continuously, hearing about these schemes and frauds constantly, it makes us less approachable, less friendly. When my doorbell rings now, I always think it is a weird guy trying to sell some left over meat or something. (All my friends just walk in.) I guess as our world gets smaller, mainly through electronic advances, we’re all going to be subject to more of this. I just hope it doesn’t get too much more sophisticated or guys like me will be in trouble.

From the military guy.

From the military guy.

My response.

My response.

My Southwest confirmation.

My Southwest confirmation.

The van in the garage.

The van in the garage.

I saw this truck after all this.  We are so paranoid that we have big trucks rolling around that shred our paperwork.

I saw this truck after all this. We are so paranoid that we have big trucks rolling around that shred our paperwork.

7 thoughts on “Scam and Swindle

  1. Bill K

    Steve, Trust no one……Not even yourself…….Not even me.

    Back 20 years ago, you’d see people at intersections, looking for donations, four or five times a year.
    Now, it seems like you get waylaid every other weekend. Half of them, I’ve never heard of.

  2. matt

    I sold cars for 30 years and it just about drove me crazy all the scams and such Now I just ride my bike and do my art . not making money but magic is beginning to happen. good luck with your search

  3. Lynn

    When my sister and her husband had their house in St. Louis for sale through a real estate agent and a for sale sign in their yard, all of a sudden one day people started coming to their door to look at the house. This was unusual because up until that day all inquiries when through their agent. My sister finally asked one of the persons who showed up and he said he found out about their house being for sale on craigslist. So my sister searched for their address on craigslist and sure enough there was a posting that a scammer had created with their address and real pictures of their house taken from the real estate agency’s web site. the craigslist posting had a crazy story about the owner being on a mission in Africa and wanting to find someone to buy the house on contract with a small down payment – all the prospective buyers had to do was wire the down payment…. my sister was a little shaken up to have people showing up at her door. The van story is even more elaborate because the van wasn’t for sale and the scammers had to put more work into the story. I had a similar thing to your van story happen to me when looking at cars on e-Bay. I was thinking of driving to another city to buy a car when I got a crazy email saying he owner wouldn’t be able to meet me but friends would meet me with at a storage facility with all the necessary paperwork. It sounded dangerous and I bailed. I know people who have really purchased cars on e-Bay but there are definitely some fraudulent listings too.

  4. Ken

    The car swindle is pretty common. Either these people live nearby and are scamming using neighbors vehicles, the car has been advertised for sale in the past so they know it exists, or they have accessed DMV records (and looked on Google to see a streetview of the house).
    A few years back my brother-in-law was looking to buy a Cervelo. He comes across this website advertising Cervelos at incredible prices–full Dura Ace builds with Zipp wheels for $2500. He calls me up to tell me he’s getting one and wanted to know if I was interested, too. So, I go to the website and I’m amazed how many nice bicycles they have for sale. Then I’m shocked to see that the shop is in Montana, Butte nonetheless. So, I’m thinking “How many road bikes do they sell in Butte, Montana?” The website also has photos of the shop, which looks huge, then I notice that there are a lot of…workers and customers that aren’t caucasian in the photos. I thought that would be odd for Montana. There was an address listed, which you could google. So I go through the BBB directory for Montana, find a business right next to where the bike shop is supposed to be, call them up and ask them if there is a bike shop across the street from them. Their reply was that, no, there was a warehouse there but no bike shop. I was pretty sure it was a scam but that was all I needed to prove it to my brother-in-law and save him from losing his money, which he was getting ready to send.

  5. Tito

    I gor a listing bill from ebay for a car I was selling, only I wasnt selling a car. At the same time I stopped getting email. Found out that someone had gotten into my email and ebay. They were forwarding incoming emails ti a different address. They were trying to sell a Trans Am through my ebay account.

  6. kenny

    I have that same van, if you don’t mind changing brakes every 40k and changing the rear springs to something a little heaver its a great bike hauler.


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