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markopolo 07-23-2013 07:17 PM

Online ad scam - new twist
I had previously noticed a Class B for sale advertised on Kijiji (like Craigslist). The van looked ok in the photos but was priced too high for me but not out of line for a Class B. Today, I saw the van with a new ad claiming "REDUCED!!!" Same photos as the original ad, much of the original text but at a very good price. It was nearby so I phoned the number that was barely visible on a for sale sign in the van window, talked to the owner and went to see the van.

I liked the inside of the van very much but there was too much exterior wear and tear and some surface rust underneath so I did not want it. I asked him what was the price and he quoted what the original ad said. I told him about the ad with "REDUCED!!!" in the title and he did not know anything about it. His son put the ad online for him so he said he'd call his son and get the ad corrected. We all figured it was just a mistake.

Later on I looked online again and saw that the ad had not been removed. Then I saw the same van on Autotrader and realized that someone had taken the owners photos and was using them in a scam. I called the seller's son directly and he confirmed that he knew nothing about the ad with "REDUCED!!!" in the title. He had reported it to Kijiji as a fraud and was shocked that the add was also on Autotrader.

In addition to the photos, the scammer also copied much of the text from the original ad. The original price ad had the phone number but the scam ads do not have a phone number listed. Contact on the scam ads is email only. If the ad doesn't have a phone number then be very careful.

The "twist" is taking a current legitimate but older ad and listing it as "Reduced" in a new ad. It makes it seem more real.

The real owner already had 4 calls about the van when I looked at it in the morning and someone was traveling from "up North" to come and see it. The fraudulent Autrader ad was placed "up North". The reason the real owner is getting phone calls is #1. the real ad is still current and has the phone number and #2. the phone number is visible on a for sale sign in the van window in a photo in the scam ad.

Be careful out there. Do not send a deposit on a van that you haven't seen.

If it looks too good to be true then it probably is. DW and I thought the price was low compared to other vans and thought it might be mistake. I should have confirmed the price before going but it was fun to see the van anyway. The people traveling from a greater distance might be upset if they didn't discuss the price when they phoned.

markopolo 07-23-2013 07:25 PM

Re: Online ad scam - new twist
Update: the scam ad has been taken off Kijiji but is still on Autotrader.
Update # 2: the Autotrader ad has been removed.

Sites like Kijiji, Craigslist and Autotrader should watermark the photos you upload with the ad ID number superimposed with transparency right in the middle of the photo. That would reduce some of this type of activity.

mlts22 07-23-2013 07:50 PM

Re: Online ad scam - new twist
It is a crafty scam -- the true van owner gets the heat for it while the criminal is basically uncatchable.

g1g 07-24-2013 01:33 AM

Re: Online ad scam - new twist
When I was searching for one a number of years ago I came across one that was as they say to good to be true. All communication was through email, the van was across the country in California ( in a storage container so he said) I was to send him a check for something like $5000 to Ireland and then he would tell me where and how to get it. After I could sent the rest of the money. I told him I have some friends who would check it out and pay for it then upon transfer, no other way. I never heard from him since.

slipbobber 07-24-2013 04:39 AM

Re: Online ad scam - new twist
I do buy a bit on craigslist and so forth and see some scammers but last year when looking for the Class B we bought I noticed there were more scams involving Bs than I could count. There are containers all over the country with Bs in them....

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