Scam Alert


Relatively few scammers have the time to target your specific ad.  Since they attack across many websites and boards, their emails tend to be generic.  As such, there are some indicators that should at least send up some red flags as you consider them as a potential buyer.

There have been several hundred scam email attempts sent to the catch-all emailbox "", and a lot of them have some common threads.  The most frequent identifiers are poor grammar, more references to payment than to the actual car, and of course, the emails are sent from free/anonymous email services like Yahoo, EWallet, Hotmail, etc.

No one thing can identify an email as a scammer, but if you find the email matches more than one of these indicators, beware.

Here are examples of common themes seen in the last 100 scam emails, with their frequency:

1. Requests for "Last Price", "Bottom Price", "Best Selling Price" or "Final Price":   60%
    This usually includes a request for pictures, too. Example:

2. Reference to paying with a cashier's check:   45%

3. Reference to your car is listed in brackets or parentheses:   30%
    It can get pretty obvious that your car's info was generated by a computer:

4. No direct reference to the car itself:   27%
    They want your "item" or "product".  In fact, they have no idea what you're selling.

5. References to having a "Client", "Buyer" or "Customer":   26%
    Many times the scam involves you getting overpaid so you can give real money back to someone:

6. Sender's name is made up of two first names:   26%
    This was very popular for a while, to the point where it became predictable.

7. Sender's email last name includes "Smith", "Johnson", "James":   19%
    Not a perfect indicator, but this happens with statistical significance.

8. The email was not addressed to you:   11%
    Sending the same message to a distribution list?  Lazy scamming.

9. Reference to a different item:   3%
    The ultimate in lazy scamming.  You can't even take the time to change the text?!

And remember, even though a buyer may have hit a few of these conditions,
they STILL may be legitimate, as proven by a recent Edsel sale from the US:

In this online sea of good and bad, proceed with caution.