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Thread: Potential Scam - VIN #61795

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Potential Scam - VIN #61795

    I am in the market for a Z8 ( silver/red) & I want to relay to those in the market to what I believe is an internet scam. I had made some inquiries on some Z8's a while back on sites like cars.com & auto trader. Out of the blue, I recieved the following e-mail:
    Guy wants to sell Z8 VIN 61795 with 9,200 miles for $50,000.00. Suspicious starts here:

    Seller is in military, on aircraft carrier in Arabian sea. Has serious financial problems & needs to sell car ASAP.
    Car is at a Houston shipping facility & shipping is FREE since a previous buyer backed out & shipping was paid for. Seller sent photos & carfax but no photos showed the VIN# listed on the carfax. I asked the seller where in Houston the car was as I was to travel through Houston last week & wanted to see the car. Seller never provided car location & when asked to provide a copy of the title, came up with various excuses as not to provide a copy to prove the car was titled to the seller. He wanted me to perform the transaction via ebay & would ship the car to me. I told him no title, no sale & he still never provided physical location of car. The story ends when seller says car was sold to another buyer.

    I just want to warn those in the market that this scam is out there or if it was legit, Is the buyer out there?

  2. #2
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this important wake-up call. You just experienced a common scam on eBay.

    Some months ago I found a 61 Vette in mint condition for 15K. The sellers dad died, leaving him the car and it was shipped to him in Munich. It was still boxed at the dock and he was willing to send it to me for the 15k with no shipping fees IF I paid through his eBay account.

    He and I went round and round about him sending me photos and proof of title. He gave me the contact info for the shipper so that I could verify that the item existed so I called and left a message for the guy to call me. He didn't.

    For those of you who don't know me, I kick peoples ass for a living and I told the seller that I was flying to Munich to see the car OR visit him. All communication stopped.

    I reported all of this to eBay.

    A few days later I told this story to a deputy friend who told me that he is currently investigating the same type of sale involving an elderly buyer and a Harley. Unfortunately, the buyer did send the money.

    Scott

  3. #3
    Yep, rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4

    My experience with the same guy...

    Dkat,

    I think I dealt with the same guy last November. I've attached the actual emails for others to see how persistent this guy is. Also, can anyone identify the car he shows in the pictures?

    Here is our actual email exchange:

    I sent you the pictures again in ZIP FORMAT, as a archive.


    On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 7:18 AM, Lytle Andrew wrote:
    Richard,

    What is the number of the shipping company? I can have one of them inspect it for me. Also, the pictures did not come through.

    Andy

    On Nov 28, 2008, at 10:09 AM, Richard Chelsted wrote:

    Hi Andy,
    I am working in the US Air Force and now I am on a mission on the Persian Gulf. I am on a aircraft carrier and I don't have phone access. I am selling the car for a low price because I have financial problems. The car is currently located in TX. The vehicle is already at the shipping company ready to be shipped. I already arranged the deal with another person but he changed his mind because he found another vehicle. He already paid the shipping charges. You will not pay shipping charges. Shipping is free. The car is insured in case of damage and it takes 5 days to be delivered at your door. It will come with all the necessary paperwork (clear title, bill of sale, user's manual, insurance etc). I signed all the paperwork and I have the clean and clear title ready for transfer.
    This is the VIN#: wbaej13442ah61795. The vehicle is registered in my name and I am the original owner. There is no lien on the vehicle.
    The general condition is impeccable. The vehicle is like new, completely working, perfect running condition, with no hidden damages or accidents, no dents, door dings or scratches, it has always been garage kept, non-smoker, no pets, 10,000 miles.
    I will send you the pictures (in zip format) and the carfax report in my next messages. Verify your email. The messages may not come to inbox.
    If you are still interested just let me know and I will send you more details in order to make a safe transaction.

    Regards,
    Richard Chelsted


    On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 6:12 AM, Andy Lytle wrote:
    Richard,

    I'm still intersted, but will need to make this happen quickly - I'm putting a deposit on a car today. Send me everything you have asap.

    Andy
    Detroit

    Sent from my iPhone



    On Nov 28, 2008, at 8:40 AM, "Richard Chelsted" wrote:

    Hi,
    I apologize for the delay. I was busy. The car is still for sale. I will sell it for $50,000. Clean and clear title in hand. No accidents. The price is low because I must sell the car fast. I have a serious financial problem and the sale of my car is the last solution.
    I have a clean CARFAX report and I can send it to you. Also, I can send you the pictures and more details too. Just let me know if you are still interested.
    Where are you located?

    Thank you,
    Richard Chelsted

    Here is the scam Carfax Report: & Pictures
               
    _________
    Andy Lytle
    2002 Z8 Silver/Black 23k
    Performance Package
    CDV Removed
    www.golytle.com

  5. #5
    I have seen that car before, the ugly rims & Brembos make it memorable. My first thought is that the pictures look like California, not Texas, and I have a half memory of this car having a lot of other upgrades, someone asked me about it some time ago as they were thinking of buying it. My guess is that the scammer likely got the images from the original sale, and held onto them for a while before using them for his scam.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  6. #6
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    scam

    Andy,

    That is most excellent, same car, same story to a T. only the name has changed to protect the guilty.

    David

  7. #7

    Add to Sticky?

    Andrew,

    Would it help to add this scammers profile to the "What to look for in a new Z8" sticky? Something like - "Avoid Internet scams"
    _________
    Andy Lytle
    2002 Z8 Silver/Black 23k
    Performance Package
    CDV Removed
    www.golytle.com

  8. #8
    Great suggestion, I've added a link to the Buying FAQ thread
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  9. #9
    Team Z8 JoshB's Avatar
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    Scam z8

    The car you mentioned is now for sale with a New Hampshire number on Edmunds but the company that answers knows nothing about it, same rims with $50000 emblasoned on the pic.

  10. #10
    Crazy story, wonder if we should get the Fraud Squad, or what ever what is the US version of it is called onto this guy? Anyone know who we should call, and if they'd even care?
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  11. #11
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    Went throught the same thing awhile back when I was originally looking to buy my car from a guy in NY, similar type story about shippiing etc. When I told him I wanted to visit the car the guy disappeared. Also saw repeat pictures of a car I had bid on show up with the same pictures on the west coast. Notified Ebay and the item was taken down.

  12. #12
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    Results of Investigation on VIN 61795

    Since I am also looking for a Z8, I came along the AutoTrader.com add from this guy. same story, but I called a BMW dealership and investigated the VIN. Then I spoke with a BMW dealer in Houston, where the car got the last service. They researched the DMV title and confirmed the owners name as Joseph Beall. I found him and his wife through the Internet. They were very surprised to hear that somebody else is trying to sell their car. In fact they tried to sell the car earlier on E-bay, but were looking for about $ 120K. I had played along with the guy to see how he wanted to pull off the scam. He sent from his Goggle e-mail account an Ebay invoice on behalf of Ebay. It looked good on a first glance, but he must have altered the content, because it was too good to be true. I guess the call it an Escrow Fraud, where it looks like your money is safe in an escrow account, but it is fake. I emailed the FBI and offered them the bank account information of the scam artist, but since I am not a real victim, I didn't even hear back from them. I am planning to give the whole story also to the local law enforcement. Perhaps they know of ways to track the guy down.

  13. #13
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    A couple of things:

    Bravo for your interest it pushing this to the point of a possible arrest. I would suggest that you contact your local police as they may be interested in taking on the challenge with you acting as the buyer. Considering my background, I wish that I could be involved.

    The fact though, that a dealer disclosed the name of the owner to you is appalling and a breech of BMW's privacy policies. I'm sure that it was just a goof on some ones part.

    Good luck and please keep us informed.

    Scott

  14. #14

    Scammer Trap

    There has to be away to trap this guy...
    _________
    Andy Lytle
    2002 Z8 Silver/Black 23k
    Performance Package
    CDV Removed
    www.golytle.com

  15. #15
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sawbones View Post
    There has to be away to trap this guy...
    Absolutely, to start with one could try to trace his (true) IP ... (@ dkat & Sawbones; can you see an IP in your mails, or was this guy smart enough to use a proxy server?)

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    scam

    Amazing. Just saw the same car on autotrader.com Car magically transported from Houston to New Hampshire. Can't see ip address. This guy has to be caught before somone sends him their hard earned money. If I can figure it out, I will post my email banter with this clown. His email address was: [email protected]

    p.s. Still looking for silver/red Z8 - NO STORIES!

  17. #17
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Because he has not broken the law yet, I guess it will be hard to get help from Police and/or Gmail to catch this guy.......

  18. #18
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    This guy is not only "selling" a Z8. I got the exact same story from him advertising an Audi A3 WAY BELOW book when I was looking for a car for my daughter this past Dec. That car was located in MN. Who knows how many cars he is "selling".

  19. #19
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    Exclamation Getting Serious

    I reported the whole story to the police, yesterday. The officer told me that a Detective will contact me in a few days. He was surprised by my research and commented that I made his life easy by providing him a folder with all e-mails, Ebay invoice, etc. Since the scam continues, it should be possible to track him down. He is using a Bank of America account in California. I hope the authorities will get some cooperation from the bank.

  20. #20
    Team Z8 JoshB's Avatar
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    I just got an email from this guy, claims he has a clean title and car fax available. Due to financial setbacks needs a quick sale. Is it only fraud when money changes hands? what say you lawyers out there.

  21. #21
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    They can get him for intent to fraud but the exchange of money helps seal the deal.

    Scott

  22. #22
    Can't the police do the deal and nab him, better than risking your own cash!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  23. #23
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    If you really want to push this (I would), contact your local PD High Tech Crimes Task Force. They are the ones who would handle this.

    Scott

  24. #24
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    Sad to say but this has happened to me before and the local PD, FBI, nor state attorney general did a thing because it crossed state lines. It became jurisdiction issues for everyone but the Feds. Since I only wired 3K for the escrow down payment they didn't have time for me. It went to a Patrick Miller via MoneyGram picked up in Hialeah, FL. MoneyGram / Autotrader will give no info without a subpoena. Autotrader can only take the listing off if you email [email protected]. Thanks for helping me track them down. Not!
    Even if I pay to get my own lawyer and subpoena I am sure this group just has a stolen DL or he is a mule to pick up the money for the brains higher up.
    I consider myself an intelligent person but it was coming up on my vacation and I knew the ?Jeep? in question would be gone by the time I got back. I felt I was dealing with a divorced woman who just wanted to dump the husbands Jeep she got in the divorce. I rolled the dice and sent the money to lock it in before going on vacation. I did want to do some more research but I figured it is only 3K down if it does turn out to be a scam. Well it did. Lesson learned the hard way.

    After I submitted all the emails, documentation, IP addresses, fax number provided, etc? I got the below from the Attorney Generals office via snail mail.
    ?We have received and reviewed your complaint. However, we are unable to contact the company/individual in your behalf since we do not have an address for the company.?
    Of course they didn?t give me their address. We are dealing with electronic warfare and the US government is doing physical addresses and snail mail to try and attack it.
    Until the laws catch up these guys will continue to make millions tax free but I see no bills before congress to clean up the Internet. It is the Wild West out here.

  25. #25
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    And The Beat Goes On

    Hi Scott,
    I am working in the US Navy and now I am on a mission on the Persian Gulf. I am on a aircraft carrier and I don't have phone access. I am selling the car for a low price because I have financial problems. The vehicle is currently located in Houston, TX. The vehicle is already at the shipping company ready to be shipped. I already arranged the deal with another person but he changed his mind because he found another vehicle. He already paid the shipping charges. You will not pay shipping charges. Shipping is free. The car is insured in case of damage and it takes 5 days to be delivered at your door. It will come with all the necessary paperwork (clear title, bill of sale, user's manual, insurance etc). I signed all the paperwork and I have the clean and clear title ready for transfer.
    This is the VIN#: wbaej13442ah61795. The vehicle is registered in my name and I am the original owner. There is no lien on the vehicle.
    The general condition is impeccable. The vehicle is like new, completely working, perfect running condition, with no hidden damages or accidents, no dents, door dings or scratches, it has always been garage kept, non-smoker, no pets. The car has 10,000 original miles.
    I will send you the pictures (in zip format) and the carfax report in my next messages. Verify your email. The messages may not come to inbox.
    If you are still interested just let me know and I will send you more details in order to make a safe transaction.

    Regards,
    Eric


    On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 8:45 PM, Scott Pettit wrote:
    Hi,

    A friend sent me your email address. I am looking for a Z8 and understand that you have one available.

    Please send me photos and details.

    Thank you,

    Scott

  26. #26
    It is sad that the law enforcement agencies are so limited in their ability to deal with this sort of thing, between budget cuts and state and municipal borders they're too tied up to do anything but issue revenue generating tickets. This really does seem to be a reasonable case for a pair of custom fitted concrete boots!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  27. #27
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    Never Give Up

    I am intending to drive it a little further. E-mails don't cost much and perhaps there is one good law enforcing person out there.
    The e-mail from the guy is the exact same wording, which I received, But he didn't response anymore on my latest e-mail.
    By the way - the guy claimed to me to be a Sergeant in the Navy - only problem is that there are no Sergeants in the Navy, Marines yes, but no Navy. So he isn't the brightest one.
    If we can't get to him by Police/FBI, we should sent him a nice computer virus named "money transfer receipt". Does anybody know of a real good virus to kill his PC?

  28. #28
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    Sadly, we're on our own when it comes to these scams and other defective/damaged car sales. Recently, a Penske dealership tried selling a "new" vehicle to my kids without disclosing several thousand dollars (wholesale) in body repairs. My daughter's well trained eye caught a paint defect on final inspection as the final paperwork was being printed and they quickly left the deal on the desk after a disclosure and offer of a discount. I returned the next week "undercover", and they still failed to disclose any damage on that vehicle and 8 others on the lot which had been seriously vandalized and repaired. Local, state, and federal authorities were not interested since money did not yet change hands. Even the newspaper did not want to do an undercover expose'. As hard as I tried, I couldn't get anyone of authority to help protect the next person. Buyer beware!

  29. #29
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lisa's Avatar
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    Hmmm maybe one of those crime helper tv shows would be interested though this probably isn't exciting enough for them

  30. #30
    DSC Off Sir Callaby's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Wild West of Cyberspace

    As mentioned earlier, I don't like to give up. Some of your comments were right. Police is overstressed when it comes to internet crime.
    Please see below the e-mail exchange with my local police department.
    (I deleted all names of the detective and department, so that I don't get in trouble.)



    Subject: #0109014330
    Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:55:50 -0400
    From: (local law-enforcement detective)
    To: hermannschaller

    Thanks for the email. I checked the IP address and it returns out of Mountain View, CA. I also ran an online search for Eric Naismith but there were no records of anyone by that name in Indiana, Texas, or California. I also checked the address, 7286 Broadelm Dr., Houston, TX 77095 but found no record of that address. At this point I?m going to close out the case?there?s nothing I can do with it from here. Fortunately, you did not incur a loss. If you have any questions regarding anything feel free to contact me.

    ------------------

    From: Hermann Schaller
    Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:27 AM
    To: D
    Subject: RE: #0109014330

    Dear Detective D,

    Is it so easy to be a criminal and get away with it?
    All you need to do is working with a computer and cross state lines?

    The person send me account information regarding a bank account at Bank of America in California.
    Wouldn't that be the right place to find the real identity?

    If I would be in law enforcement, I would try to find somebody at the bank to cooperate with me and to trap the suspect there.

    Yes - I was smart enough to see through the scam and didn't send money, but others may be not so lucky.

    If you are not the right law enforcement agancy to deal with this kind of crime, who do I need to contact?
    Is there a FBI contact to deal with this nationwide problem?

    Best regards
    Hermann Schaller

    ------------------

    RE: #0109014330‏
    From: (local law-enforcement detective)
    Sent: Wed 3/11/09 2:13 PM
    To: Hermann Schaller

    Unfortunately, that?s not far from the truth. It?s very easy to get caught up in our own situations and what we often fail to see is these financial crimes are a nationwide problem. I often do it myself when I have to get information from the banks?I expect them to provide it ?right now? but what I forget is that they get hundreds of requests daily from agencies nationwide. I have had over 30 such cases (financial crimes) myself, since January 1st, and that is not even half of my case load?and there are 2 other detectives that work strictly financial crimes. Now multiply that by ?x? number of financial crimes investigators in ?x? number of police departments nationwide. There are probably 40 agencies in the metro Atlanta area alone that investigate such crimes. As a local law enforcement agency, there is only so much we can do. Most local departments do not have the manpower or funding to send an investigator across the country to follow up on every case. I know it would seem that the banks would be more aggressive in catching these people but the amount of these types of cases is so overwhelming that they often just write it off. There are federal agencies that investigate such crimes however due to the sheer volume of cases they usually have a minimum threshold of $100,000. The only advice that I can give you is to contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online, if you choose. Believe me, I understand your frustration?I was an actual victim myself in 2007.

    ------------------
    ------------------

    So - what we were able to find out is:
    The scam artist operates from California.
    He/she is using a Bank of America account in California.
    There are more criminals than police officers.

    Any suggestion what I could do next?
    I tried already the FBI and didn't get any response.

    Hermann Schaller
    TRA999

  31. #31
    Wow, it really is a case of buyer beware! I'm not totally shocked to hear this, and sadly I suspect it will become more and more of a problem as time goes on, I just hope that those out there in the market get wise to these kinds of scams.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.