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Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:14 pm
by atikovi
I listed a $13,000 car on Facebook for well above book value because of very low mileage and its a low production Mercedes stick. First thing he asks is for my email because he "can't type well on his phone". I give him a throwaway email. Then he emails me this message,

Sir,

First of all, I want to compliment you on both, your automobile and the essay that accompanied it. I spent several hours researching, and other than the Ebay write up, I was unable to find another like it. A rare bird indeed.

I am a Construction Manager working a project at Ft. Detrick, in Frederick, MD. I work Monday though Friday, and most Saturdays. I usually know about scheduled work by Friday noon. I could be available Friday, afternoon, or anytime on Sunday. My next question concerns payment. As both of my banks are located out of state, I would need to know in advance, what you would prefer…cash or certified bank check. The check would come from my brokerage account at Charles Schwab Bank, a known and respected financial institution.

As I have stated, I have performed my due diligence. It is a well maintained machine, and based upon the data I have collected, it is worth your asking price. I have a BMW 330XI, the third I have owned. This not my first rodeo. Think about my schedule and payment options, let me know what is convenient and safe for you. I am open for compromise to ensure we make good business. I am very excited about this.

I look forward to meeting you and your fine automobile.

Best regards,

Mike


I told him cash preferred but bank check ok. 1st clue is he's not negotiating on the price. 2nd clue is his last name is a common first name. His next message says,

Just an update, I will have the certified check Friday morning. I will email you a photo with all the particulars, inclusive of supporting documentation for you to validate with your financial institution. I am working Saturday until 1300, then driving to Baltimore, Glen Burnie area, to deliver my BMW to it’s new owner. That being said, I will be available from 1500 on Saturday, or anytime on Sunday, whichever is convenient for you. I will be spending the night in Pasadena, so I will be somewhat closer than Frederick, based upon Marketplace stating that Frederick was 40 miles from your location.

Give it some thought, we have the week. Again, I appreciate your time.

Mike


Ordinarily I would blow off such messages as being from a scammer, but because his email is xxx.AOL and not a gmail or yahoo, I've gone along so far. I was going to tell him a non-local bank check will be held 2 weeks until paid by the issuing bank. Is that good enough, or could a forged check still come back after that?

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:19 pm
by keanoz
I would not take a check unless I went with him in person into his bank and was handed the check right there.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:21 pm
by rich126
Don't know but there has been more than a few certified check scams. You can easily google that.

I find the opening paragraph very strange. Not something I would ever write and it seems written to play up to you and make you feel good about yourself.

Unless I got cash I sure wouldn't hand over the car but I'm not the trusting type. Once burned (eventually got the money back via legal means) you are very careful.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:23 pm
by anoop
keanoz wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:19 pm I would not take a check unless I went with him in person into his bank and was handed the check right there.
+1

If taking cash, I would want that to happen at the bank too to make sure the currency wasn't fake, unless you have a way of testing it yourself.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:27 pm
by squirm
Anytime someone can't physically go the the bank and withdraw funds, toss them aside.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:28 pm
by keanoz
rich126 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:21 pm I find the opening paragraph very strange. Not something I would ever write and it seems written to play up to you and make you feel good about yourself.
This.. this message feels fishy... Either pass on this guy or be extremely cautious with the payment

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:30 pm
by bioebud
Agreed, this seems weird. Better to be safe than sorry. If he's unwilling to meet with me at a bank in person, I'm walking away.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:31 pm
by oldfort
On the other side if I was a buyer, I would never pay for a car with physical cash. I'm too scared of robbery to walk around with $13k. The only way I would even consider paying for a vehicle with cash would be if the seller met me at the bank where I withdrew the money.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:31 pm
by TheLaughingCow
1) strange wording in the messages

2) convoluted story

3) out of state bank

4) paying by check, even when you requested cash

5) no price negotiation or questions about the car

There's a 95% chance it's a scam.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:34 pm
by drk
Absolutely bizarre language for Mike the Construction Manager.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:36 pm
by mptfan
Yes, this guy is trying to scam you.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:38 pm
by denovo
SCAMMMMM

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:40 pm
by atikovi
I can imagine the old scam where he mails me the check with an extra thou, so I can send that to his shipping agent.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:40 pm
by jco
Are you willing to lose $13,000? If not, then walk away. This is a scam.

Tell him you'll only accept cash. And you want to meet at your bank to double check for forgeries. They will suddenly not be interested.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:43 pm
by Afty
Another tell is that he never mentioned the car or asked anything about it. Makes it easy to send the same scam email to a bunch of people.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:43 pm
by Wanderingwheelz
This is 100% a scam.

Do not go anywhere near this.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:45 pm
by PoppyA
How did you see this playing out....the sale of your vehicle on Facebook?

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:45 pm
by JediMisty
atikovi wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:14 pm I listed a $13,000 car on Facebook for well above book value because of very low mileage and its a low production Mercedes stick. First thing he asks is for my email because he "can't type well on his phone". I give him a throwaway email. Then he emails me this message,

Sir,

First of all, I want to compliment you on both, your automobile and the essay that accompanied it. I spent several hours researching, and other than the Ebay write up, I was unable to find another like it. A rare bird indeed.

I am a Construction Manager working a project at Ft. Detrick, in Frederick, MD. I work Monday though Friday, and most Saturdays. I usually know about scheduled work by Friday noon. I could be available Friday, afternoon, or anytime on Sunday. My next question concerns payment. As both of my banks are located out of state, I would need to know in advance, what you would prefer…cash or certified bank check. The check would come from my brokerage account at Charles Schwab Bank, a known and respected financial institution.

As I have stated, I have performed my due diligence. It is a well maintained machine, and based upon the data I have collected, it is worth your asking price. I have a BMW 330XI, the third I have owned. This not my first rodeo. Think about my schedule and payment options, let me know what is convenient and safe for you. I am open for compromise to ensure we make good business. I am very excited about this.

I look forward to meeting you and your fine automobile.

Best regards,

Mike


I told him cash preferred but bank check ok. 1st clue is he's not negotiating on the price. 2nd clue is his last name is a common first name. His next message says,

Just an update, I will have the certified check Friday morning. I will email you a photo with all the particulars, inclusive of supporting documentation for you to validate with your financial institution. I am working Saturday until 1300, then driving to Baltimore, Glen Burnie area, to deliver my BMW to it’s new owner. That being said, I will be available from 1500 on Saturday, or anytime on Sunday, whichever is convenient for you. I will be spending the night in Pasadena, so I will be somewhat closer than Frederick, based upon Marketplace stating that Frederick was 40 miles from your location.

Give it some thought, we have the week. Again, I appreciate your time.

Mike


Ordinarily I would blow off such messages as being from a scammer, but because his email is xxx.AOL and not a gmail or yahoo, I've gone along so far. I was going to tell him a non-local bank check will be held 2 weeks until paid by the issuing bank. Is that good enough, or could a forged check still come back after that?
I'm 99% sure he's a scammer. If you go to your bank with the certified check, it can still turn out be be a forgery and you're on the hook. Can you do a PayPal transaction? He would need to pay the fee, of course. Or zelle payment direct to your bank? I wouldn't take a "bank check". Too easy to forge. Only take cash if he gets a check cashed in front of you - which he is trying to get around by saying he only has out of state banks. Talk to your bank about the most secure payment method. If it was me, I'd walk. Who explains that Schwab is a trusted institution?

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:46 pm
by j9j
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:43 pm This is 100% a scam.

Do not go anywhere near this.
+1

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:46 pm
by InvestorNewb
The message starts with "Sir"... that alone is a red flag.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:47 pm
by MillennialFinance19
Anytime I’ve sold a car, I’ve required cash while meeting at my bank or a bank check while meeting at the issuing bank. This is 100% safe as my bank can verify the cash is legit and the issuing back guarantees the check.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:48 pm
by arcticpineapplecorp.
if you have to ask...

(that being said, you are a rare bird indeed)

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:53 pm
by StevieG72
He is just getting started with you, something will likely come up and he will need to have the car shipped etc.

However, even if you meet this guy in person I would do a cash only transaction. It would be too difficult to validate a money order from an out of state bank.

My brother in law got scammed selling a motorcycle by accepting a money order or cashiers check. Deal went down on a Sunday, two weeks later the funds bounced.

The opening paragraph SCREAMS scam btw.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:59 pm
by drk
^ The available times seal the deal. He's literally only available when banks are not going to be open.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:01 pm
by inbox788
It's a scam. Keep playing along so we can hear the punch line. Also, you can play with him and post it on youtube or twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx3VWxjAnBI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G21heRekphw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5ORjnaEf4M

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:37 pm
by thatme
100% SCAM

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:39 pm
by squirm
jco wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:40 pm Are you willing to lose $13,000? If not, then walk away. This is a scam.

Tell him you'll only accept cash. And you want to meet at your bank to double check for forgeries. They will suddenly not be interested.
Bingo!
Some idiot was trying to scam me on Craigslist once. You just mention cash only and all of a sudden you never hear from them again.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:54 pm
by GuyInFL
I vote for Scam as well.
You could always tell him you have an account at Charles Schwab as well and just transfer the funds directly.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:57 pm
by Random Musings
Sir,

Obviously, this gentlemen did not graduate from the Nigerian School of Scammers.

RM

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:58 pm
by jibantik
You can tell it's a scam one sentence into the email. Even the "Sir" opening is already a red flag. If by the end of the second paragraph you can't tell it's scam then I have some snake oil to sell you.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:02 pm
by atikovi
jibantik wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:58 pm You can tell it's a scam one sentence into the email. Even the "Sir" opening is already a red flag.
Isn't that a common salutation from someone that was in the military?

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:12 pm
by Soul.in.Progress
I don’t trust any strangers who try to butter me up without even knowing me. Too suspicious.

I am definitely voting scam on this one.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:15 pm
by JHU ALmuni
Definitely scam 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:16 pm
by lgs88
PoppyA wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:45 pm How did you see this playing out....the sale of your vehicle on Facebook?
I bought my last vehicle private-sale off a Facebook listing. Great transaction with great people.

The way I see it, there's a decent chance a private seller will try to rip me off -- whereas there's a GUARANTEE that the dealer will try the same!

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:16 pm
by newyorker
Obvious scam. No one but scammers talks like that.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:19 pm
by Bobby206
Totally reminds me why I like to just sell to a friend or Carmax. It's just not worth the time or stress of dealing with this kind of stuff.

I'd vote scam but the usual scam is not sending fake checks to get the car. They usually send fake checks to get you to refund them, for whatever reason they come up with, before you realize the check is bad.

His writing is so odd I only vote 99% scam. 1% of me says just a real freak but real. Only 1% though.

Proceed with great caution.

Good luck.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:30 pm
by suemarkp
Can he talk on his old phone? How he speaks, and if that matches his writing style could explain some of it. But the message raises my red flags.

How does he know its a well maintained machine? Was something mentioned about that in the ad? Why is he bragging about 3 bimmers when you have a mercedes?

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:34 pm
by Nicolas
English is not his native language.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:49 pm
by johnnyc321
The language of his email is classic scammer. Is this listing on craigslist? I've sold a few things recently and have had much better luck with Facebook. I also like that I can view the profile of the potential buyer before I respond.

If you are not convinced he is a scammer, tell him he is welcome to view the car but if he does not have cash, he will need to wire the funds to your bank before title is transferred. He can meet you at your bank when the wire is occurring.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:52 pm
by student
Seem like a scam to me.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:03 pm
by ResearchMed
atikovi wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:14 pm I listed a $13,000 car on Facebook for well above book value because of very low mileage and its a low production Mercedes stick. First thing he asks is for my email because he "can't type well on his phone". I give him a throwaway email. Then he emails me this message,

Sir,

First of all, I want to compliment you on both, your automobile and the essay that accompanied it. I spent several hours researching, and other than the Ebay write up, I was unable to find another like it. A rare bird indeed.

I am a Construction Manager working a project at Ft. Detrick, in Frederick, MD. I work Monday though Friday, and most Saturdays. I usually know about scheduled work by Friday noon. I could be available Friday, afternoon, or anytime on Sunday. My next question concerns payment. As both of my banks are located out of state, I would need to know in advance, what you would prefer…cash or certified bank check. The check would come from my brokerage account at Charles Schwab Bank, a known and respected financial institution.

As I have stated, I have performed my due diligence. It is a well maintained machine, and based upon the data I have collected, it is worth your asking price. I have a BMW 330XI, the third I have owned. This not my first rodeo. Think about my schedule and payment options, let me know what is convenient and safe for you. I am open for compromise to ensure we make good business. I am very excited about this.

I look forward to meeting you and your fine automobile.

Best regards,

Mike


I told him cash preferred but bank check ok. 1st clue is he's not negotiating on the price. 2nd clue is his last name is a common first name. His next message says,

Just an update, I will have the certified check Friday morning. I will email you a photo with all the particulars, inclusive of supporting documentation for you to validate with your financial institution. I am working Saturday until 1300, then driving to Baltimore, Glen Burnie area, to deliver my BMW to it’s new owner. That being said, I will be available from 1500 on Saturday, or anytime on Sunday, whichever is convenient for you. I will be spending the night in Pasadena, so I will be somewhat closer than Frederick, based upon Marketplace stating that Frederick was 40 miles from your location.

Give it some thought, we have the week. Again, I appreciate your time.

Mike


Ordinarily I would blow off such messages as being from a scammer, but because his email is xxx.AOL and not a gmail or yahoo, I've gone along so far. I was going to tell him a non-local bank check will be held 2 weeks until paid by the issuing bank. Is that good enough, or could a forged check still come back after that?
Dear Sir Atikovi,

I can tell immediately that you are a person of high refinement. Only such a fine person would have such a specimen of an automobile to sell.

Although I am unable to meet with you this week, I can assure you that all of us here at The Boggleheaders are so strongly on your side that it is absolutely unbelievable. And we know that you are deeply appreciative of this, as always.

I will be unable to sell one of our excellent Bentleys until next week, as I'm sure such a special person as you can understand.
I am sure you will keep the car available for me, who will be such an excellent and caring owner.

And this is at least my third or forth rodeo.

Until then, I remain,
Yours most sincerely

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:32 pm
by tim1999
I'm picturing this "construction manager" wearing a top hat and monocle while writing that email. It is basically written in "scam English."

Enthusiasts of rare, well kept European cars, tend to ask a ton of ridiculously detailed questions about the car and its maintenance history when considering a purchase. This guy asked zero. Of the many red flags here, this is a major one to me.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:32 pm
by ThereAreNoGurus
As both of my banks are located out of state, I would need to know in advance, what you would prefer…cash or certified bank check. The check would come from my brokerage
I'll bet if you demand cash, he will come-up with some excuse why he can't bring it or will offer some lesser amount of cash and a "certified" bank check.

As others have mentioned, his email screams, "scam."

As an aside you wrote:
I listed a $13,000 car on Facebook for well above book value because of very low mileage and its a low production Mercedes stick. First thing he asks is for my email because he "can't type well on his phone". I give him a throwaway email.
This makes no sense. FB can be accessed from a PC as well as a cell phone.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:38 pm
by Watty
keanoz wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:19 pm I would not take a check unless I went with him in person into his bank and was handed the check right there.

+1

The only good way for an individual to sell a car is to meet at a bank and do the transaction in front of a teller.

Many banks require you to make an appointment to go into the bank because of the pandemic but that is still doable.

If a buyer can't do that then I don't sell to them.

If it is their bank you can go up to the teller with him and have the teller count out the cash or cut a cashiers check while you are standing there. You then sign the title and you both go on your way.

I have even had car buyer that used the same bank I did. I had the teller count out the cash and I signed the title and gave the buyer the keys then I deposited the cash into my account.

I have had car buyers that wanted to pay like $5,000 in cash for a car and that was fine but we would meet at my bank and have the teller check the cash to make sure that it was not counterfeit then I would deposit it. In addition to the risk of counterfeit cash you would also be at risk holding that much cash since their buddy could rob you five minutes later.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:30 am
by shess
Watty wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:38 pm I have had car buyers that wanted to pay like $5,000 in cash for a car and that was fine but we would meet at my bank and have the teller check the cash to make sure that it was not counterfeit then I would deposit it. In addition to the risk of counterfeit cash you would also be at risk holding that much cash since their buddy could rob you five minutes later.
Even if the person isn't actively attempting to scam you, who wants to find out that three of their fifty $100 bills won't pass when they try to deposit them? I mean, I'd be sad if my random $20 or other small bill got rejected, but I'm only ever going to receive one or three of those at a time, I'm never going to have someone hand me fifty tens. $100 bills paying for an item like this is basically the only time I'm ever going to be depositing the bills into a bank account rather than spending them around town, so it's also the greatest risk of leaving me high and dry, even accidentally.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:39 am
by 000
I disagree that the overly formal language (e.g. "sir") is necessarily indicative of a scam.

I am more concerned by him spilling so much information about himself: his job, banking situation, and other property owned, and (as others have noted) that he appears to always be at work during bank hours.

Only way I would consider proceeding is by having him bring physical cash to a branch of a bank of which I am a customer.

But I would probably not proceed at all.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:59 am
by cchrissyy
Charles Schwab Bank, a known and respected financial institution
Lol

As a longtime Schwab customer I mean, ok, they are known and respected. Sure. I just can't imagine a situation where I would ever type out those words as part of purchasing something.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:39 am
by denovo
Americans dont use 24-hour clock time.

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:57 am
by Grt2bOutdoors
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:43 pm This is 100% a scam.

Do not go anywhere near this.
+1. Stop conversing with this person now!

Re: Is this guy trying to scam me on a car I'm selling?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:03 am
by Grt2bOutdoors
atikovi wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:02 pm
jibantik wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:58 pm You can tell it's a scam one sentence into the email. Even the "Sir" opening is already a red flag.
Isn't that a common salutation from someone that was in the military?
No, it’s a common salutation from Nigerian e-mail scammers though. Someone in the military will not write cryptic messages. Selling his car in Baltimore? A high crime area? Sure, another red flag - how convenient he’s selling his BMW the exact week he’ll be stealing yours. Take that series of notes to your local police department-dollars to donuts they say it reeks of a fraudulent transaction in the making.