I’ve talked about lottery scams, secret shopper scams, overpayment scams and advance fee fraud on this site until I’m literally blue in the face.
There isn’t much more to be said about those topics at the moment, so what about some other variations?
Here’s one from our friends in the U.K.: a scam that involves getting people to wire good-faith money in advance of making a used car purchase.
How it works: a used car is advertised by a con artist, and an interested buyer contacts him. The “seller” agrees to make a long-distance trip to sell the car, but only if the buyer wires some money first to show serious interest. After all, he doesn’t want to make the trip only to find out the buyer is going to back out, right?
So, the buyer complies. He wires the money and forwards the receipt to the crook, who is then able to take the cash.
That’s all there is to it. Of course there never was a car.
It’s actually an even simpler scam than the old fraudulent check schemes, because it only requires a telephone and the ability to place a classified ad. No complex setups or realistic-sounding fake company names, no long, convoluted emails about Microsoft Lotteries or the need to come up with a counterfeit cashier’s check. Just a listing for a car that doesn’t exist.
So put this in the “Never Do This” file: don’t wire money to strangers.