More than once, I’ve had an enquiry asking “you’ve got so and so for sale – how come it’s also advertised on (a well known auction site*) for far less money, somewhere else but with the same photos?
Even after patiently explaining that the other ad is obviously a scam using cloned photos and description, more often the hard-of-thinking are disgruntled when they can’t buy it from us for the price in the scam advert.
Such scams are reaching industrial levels on said ‘well-known auction site’ who don’t seem to be too bothered by it in my opinion, despite it doing little for their reputation.
There seem to be at least two ways of parting people from their money, as follows:
A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) has run his own business for years, is usually pretty astute, and has an ‘eye for a deal’. However he’s not really experienced in the ways of the WKAS as I’ll now call it. He spotted a Toyota Hilux on there that seemed to be at least £3000 under the normal price. The seller had zero feedback and was a new user. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but can be a good indicator, especially in the light of what followed.
The listing had a phone number in it, and seemed to be relatively local. My friend phoned the number, and listened to a great story about how this Hilux had belonged to the vendor’s Dad, who had recently died – he’d been left with it and just wanted rid of it. For £7000.00, my friend could have it if he paid for it by bank transfer that day, and collected it the following day. Smelling blood, as apparently the vendor ‘sounded a bit thick’, my friend countered with an offer of £6000.00, which, praise be, was accepted with alacrity. Bank details were provided, funds paid, and arrangements made to collect from an address the following day.
Needless to say, on arrival, nobody knew of the seller or the Hilux, the phone number was dead (probably a burner phone) and my friend, rather chastened, was (and as far as I know still is) £6000.00 out of pocket. Presumably cloned photos and descriptions were involved here. This type of scam, for this amount, is quite rare. The more common one is as follows:
Browsing the WKAS myself over the past few days, I’ve noticed at least 100 classic car auction listings that are obviously fake, and all seemingly from the same hand. . The M.O. here is to hack into someones WKAS account by obtaining their password, impersonate them, price cars very low, and say they can be secured with a £500.00 deposit via PayPal. The adage that you can’t con someone who’s not greedy or gullible’ is never truer. It must be a very lucrative business – (certainly more so than actually selling cars at the moment). I would share a couple of links but it’s pointless as they’ll be dead within days.
However, the following (genuine but obviously sent for nefarious purposes) email came into us yesterday:
Vehicle Purchase Charlotte Clarke
I came across your vehicle listing on eBay couple of days ago.
I`ve been searching for one of these vehicles for almost a month now.
I do have some questions :
– Do you have a copy of the HPI certificate that you could send it to me ? (the car shows finance on the report i did it online)
– I would like to view the vehicle and test drive can you give me a time as I work full time and have to book time off . Would it be possible tonight 8:30 PM ?
– Can you tell me the name of the garage the vehicle was last serviced at ?
– Can you confirm the vehicle mileage ?
As soon as you get back to me i will prepare the funds and give you a call in the evening to pay a deposit. Do you take credit cards ?
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
The link therein is to a facsimile of the WKAS’s log in page. We also had 2 ‘I want to buy your car’ texts yesterday in a similar format. It’s always tempting to reply suggesting the sender f***s off, but it’s far more sensible to just delete them. I strongly suggest you don’t, but, If you type your user name and password into the screen that pops up if the link is clicked, hey presto, ‘Charlotte Clark’ has control of your account.
‘Charlotte Clark’ would then reroute your associated email account so you wouldn’t get notifications of altered or new listings, and reroute any associated payment accounts, and is then free to do with your well-established account and reputation as she wishes.
Another well-known adage: ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’. That doesn’t apply to these prolific WKAS listings. If something is too good to be true in the internet age, it most certainly is.
*just in case their lawyers are reading.