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Is this a scam?

daniel

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2009
5,087
4,211
Kihei, HI
I've got my Roadster listed on AutoTrader. This morning I got this text, copied and pasted so you see it exactly as it came, except that I've deleted his email address:

Hello,my name is Alex,am interested in your posted vehicle on auto trader, please email me more interior,exterior and engine pictures to my personal email address at (email deleted) and we can proceed from there.please understand that i cant view image here, Email only Thank you.Alex

Note the bad punctuation, and especially his request for pictures of the engine. I guess my real question is, what does he hope to get by having pictures of my car? He would get my email, but AutoTrader would give him that. He could download the pictures on the ad. Or is this just an opening to get me into a conversation, and the real scam comes later?

Should I reply to him at all? I could say, "Hay, scammer, didn't you notice the car has no engine?" I could say, "Sorry, all the pictures are in the ad, and once we get some good sunlight here I'll take and post some more." I could just ignore him.

I also got a phone call from a woman who sounded like the same one on the robocalls for vacation resorts, except this was an actual person because she answered my questions. She claimed to represent a company who "has potential buyers for my car" and wanted to market it for me. I told her that if she wants to send someone over to see the car, they are welcome, and if they want to buy my car I'll sell it to them, but I will not enter into any agreement with anyone to market my car for me. She obviously knew nothing about the car. You'd think the scammers would actually read the car ad so they'd be able to seem as though they knew what they were talking about, unless they are scamming on such a huge scale that all they can be bothered to do is harvest the phone numbers off of on-line car ads.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,068
11,317
Connecticut
Scam. I get this all the time on Craigslist. People interested in "the item" I have for sale, but insist on getting my real email address instead of using the anonymous remailer. Does Autotrader actually disclose your real email address to buyers?

Real examples:

Him: You accept offer ?
Me: Yes, please make an offer. thanks.
Him: Please forward your direct email am not comfortable with this forum and I have questions.
Me: Sorry, I won't send my email address. Please use craigslist only.
Him: I asked ur email because I'm getting ur messages in my Spam, send ur email.
Me: Are you going to make an offer?

Then one week later, same guy:

Him: Is it still up for sale
Me: Tell me what I'm selling. Make an offer.
Him: Please forward your direct email am not comfortable with this forum and I have questions.
Me: No. Goodbye.
Him: I asked for your email because I got your messages in my Spam folder and I'm not comfortable with that, send me your email.
Me: No. Make me an offer or stop emailing me.
 

FlyF4

Son of a MX
Mar 21, 2017
842
664
moved to San Diego
Well ya never know, huh. In general, I would not do direct email with anyone on a car sale. It does sound a bit suspicious. If me, I say I can't send photos in email and they need to see them on the site.

Last year, I listed a car on cars.com and got some of the same types of stupid replies, so I just ignored them. I especially ignored one persistent guy whom was 500 miles away in another state. Just on a hunch, I looked him up on the internet and he appeared on Facebook and other sites as a legitimate business person. Ok, so I answered him through cars.com instead of personal email and asked how did he propose to buy the car? He said he would pay money directly to a local dealer to inspect the car and report back to him, then drive here to buy the car. He did that with the local dealer! Then I said, we will meet you and your wife at the local police station, and then go to a branch of your bank here in sparks and get a cashiers check directly from the bank. He agreed. Bottom line is the car sold exactly that way. They were a great couple with 2 kids excited to get our car and they drove it back to Utah. Two weeks later, I get a nice letter and photos of them in the car. Sooooo, sometimes you never know. I would not have guessed in a moment that this family was a legitimate buyer and wasn't going to take any chances.
 

daniel

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2009
5,087
4,211
Kihei, HI
..."Send me pic of the engine"? :rolleyes:

Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed. Some legitimate posters on chat boards have horrid spelling and punctuation. But this told me he had not even read the ad.

... Does Autotrader actually disclose your real email address to buyers?

I think they say they don't. No spam email so far. They do give out my phone number, obviously. I actually created a Yahoo email account just for this. Once the car has sold, if it's getting any spam I'll just abandon it. If I end up not actually using it, I'll save it for the next time I need an email address I can abandon afterward. (Yahoo offers disposable email addresses, but that's as part of a package you pay for.)

probably wants pictures so they can create fake listings with real cars... there are several fake tesla for sale adds out there

And yet, if he was going to do that, he could have taken the pictures right off my ad. Or taken pictures from the gazillion other ads. My first thought was that he wanted my email for spamming. But one email address isn't worth all that much. On reflection I think that he spoofed the phone number (which was why he wanted to take the conversation to email) and that the real con would come later after he got me talking about selling the car. There are plenty of scams built around car sales.
 

CameronB

Member
Nov 19, 2016
622
806
Los Altos, CA
Seems suspicious. But like @FlyF4 says, sometimes something that seems at first blush to be suspicious turns out to be legit. Though I think more often, if your gut says shady, it might very well be shady.

In these cases I usually ask very pointed questions and see what the response is. If the responses seem legit/logical, then fine. If the conversation starts to look like @HankLloydRight ’s...then you probably know there is something shady happening.

Maybe reply with something like, “I already posted all the photos I had on the ad. Is there something in particular that’s not already shown in the ad you want a photo of?”
 
  • Helpful
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daniel

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2009
5,087
4,211
Kihei, HI
Seems suspicious. But like @FlyF4 says, sometimes something that seems at first blush to be suspicious turns out to be legit. Though I think more often, if your gut says shady, it might very well be shady.

In these cases I usually ask very pointed questions and see what the response is. If the responses seem legit/logical, then fine. If the conversation starts to look like @HankLloydRight ’s...then you probably know there is something shady happening.

Maybe reply with something like, “I already posted all the photos I had on the ad. Is there something in particular that’s not already shown in the ad you want a photo of?”

He wants a photo of the engine!

And why send a text and then ask me not to reply the same way? I fear I'd be texting to some unfortunate person whose number the scammer spoofed.
 

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
6,077
LA
Alex? isn't that a dead give away? If it is John or Mike, I would say go ahead. But Alex?

Send him pictures of Ford 150 and a V6 engine. Serves him right.

Send him pics of a Bugatti Chiron. Tell him to send a Western Union to Nigeria for payment.
 
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Pinot.Noir

Member
Feb 28, 2014
773
880
Livermore, CA
I recently sold a car on autotrader. I had several people text me and ask for info via e-mail. After sending the requested info, I received a reply saying "I want to buy your car. I first need you to go to www.myscampage.com and run a vin check." Turns out they set up a fake vin check page to snag your credit card info. I didn't bite, but have read about plenty of others that have.
 
  • Informative
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daniel

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2009
5,087
4,211
Kihei, HI
I recently sold a car on autotrader. I had several people text me and ask for info via e-mail. After sending the requested info, I received a reply saying "I want to buy your car. I first need you to go to www.myscampage.com and run a vin check." Turns out they set up a fake vin check page to snag your credit card info. I didn't bite, but have read about plenty of others that have.

Thanks for that info.

I would send him photos of the roadster exterior, model s interior.
Let his mind be troubled

Better yet, the Roadster exterior, and the engine of a 1980's muscle car, or maybe a Top Fuel dragster.
 
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