The mechanics of a car scam
I got a letter from a listener to the Ray Darcy show last week. She was tempted by the extremely low price of a car being advertised on autotrader.ie. The car would usually be worth around €20,000 but the seller only wants €7000. She contacted the woman by the email address listed and was told she was selling it so cheaply because she had moved to Spain and the car had its steering wheel on the right hand side so nobody wanted to buy it over there. She was asked to make a 50 per cent down payment to eBay and her money would be kept safely by them until she got the car after which she had 14 days to test/inspect it. “Have you heard of scams like this? Is there any safe way for me to proceed?,” she asked.
No is the short answer. The car is a 2006 Audi A3 with 19,800 miles on the clock. It’s apparently in immaculate condition, has an alarm, a full service history, central locking, electric windows and sounds absolutely great. In fact the only real problem with it is that it doesn’t exist or if it does it is not being sold by Maria in Spain for this kind of price.
I contacted the seller directly expressing an interest in the car using an email address I have set up specially for this purpose – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the correspondence so far (all the typos are ‘Maria’s’) . . . I’m not sure how I should end it. Send an April Fool’s Day message or keep stringing “her” along? All suggestions welcome.