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Old 02-17-2012, 12:24 PM   #1
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The Airstream Scam Revealed

In the past week I've been baiting the Airstream scammer who has been posting a 2007 Airstream 27FB Safari Travel Trailer on Craigslist for sale for $7500 through out the country.

Scam-baiting is the reverse scamming of a online scammer. My objective was to A) obtain as much info as possible about their methods B) Waste their time, and C) attempt to 'scam' them into making a donation to a legitimate charity as a gesture of good faith prior to the 'sale'.

This scammer follows the same MO as the previous Bambi one and the ubiquitous auto scam ;

1) There is a pressing time frame that calls for urgency and 'legitimizes' a highly undervalued price.

2) The unit is located in storage elsewhere which prevents the seller from producing photos or documents requested, and prevents a walk-through

3) There is a sympathy plea designed to tug on victims heartstrings i.e. the seller is the spouse of recently deceased Airstream enthusianst, the spouse of a dead soldier, or in my case; the seller is a soldier about to deploy and needs to offload this thing quickly.

In the space below I will post all exchanges I have had with Capt. Lawrence Mangus, USMC (formerly Charles Vernon, formerly John Donovan).

The scammer has used the following email addresses:
1970@gmail.com
lawrence.mangus@gmail.com
mangus753@gmail.com
cv7524@msn.com

and has these youtube accounts:
cv7524
Mangus753


stand by for the email exchanges
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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on Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 1:30 PM: I wrote

Got any more pictures? Thats just what I've been looking for.

Thats quite a price - why so low?

Thanks!


Received: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:49:14 -0800 (PST) from lawrence.mangus@gmail.com, IP address 10.68.217.40

Hello,

This adult owned 2007 Airstream 27FB Safari Travel Trailer has always been well cared for and it's in absolutely pristine condition inside and out. I have the clean and clear title in hand ready to be transferred to the new owner. Due to the urgent nature of sale, the asking price has been set at $7,500.00us. It has been reduced because I need to find a buyer before my upcoming deployment take place and I don't want to waste more time negotiating.Sets a urgent time frame

At this point the Airstream is located approximately 50 miles southwest of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Huachuca, AZ. stored in a military compound. If you are not able to pick it up within 3 days, I can arrange to be delivered free of charge through a military transportation service to a designated location of your choice. Average delivery time is 8 or 10 business days, depending on destination. removes seller from unit

To support my argument regarding the condition of the motorhome, I've added a brief YouTube-video presentation. Please Visit the following link for more details:
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM, I wrote

Hi Lawrence,

I would like to make an offer for $7500, available tonight. Please call me immediatley to set up the particulars so I can make it to the bank before closing.


Redacted skype address

I am very excited about this, I have been looking for an airstream to live in for a long time and this is perfect.

Cheers,


On Feb 14, 2012, at 5:42 AM, Lawrence Mangus wrote:


Hi again,

I'm currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and I'm stationed on a military training facility located approximately 50 miles from USAG Fort Huachuca, AZ. My assigned unit has been placed in a prepare-to-deploy status for possible deployment later this week. If you're not able to come over here in the next 2 to 3 days and pick up the airstream in person, it will be sent from our base free of charge, with a 10-day inspection period. Due to lack of time, we can conclude this transaction through a reputable third-party service, such as Google Checkout.
[Here the scammer drops the sympathy note; active duty military. Also, Google Checkout no longer exists and when it did exist, they did not offer an escrow service]

In order to protect both parties in the case of future disputes, during the inspection period the funds will be held in escrow by Google Checkout, until the inspection period is over. Typically, an inspection will give you a detailed report on the trailer's current condition. So, this is not a blind transaction, in the event of non-acceptance you are entitled to receive a full reimbursement.

If this agreement is acceptable and you have sufficient funds to complete the transaction, please email me back with the following information:
- Your Full Name and Shipping Address (Home Address, City, State, zip/Postal Code) - Info. required by Google Checkout, in order to complete the necessary formalities, and then proceed with the purchase agreement. - Your Phone Number: (Home, Mobile, Office) - Info. required for transportation purposes, our logistics coordinator will call you with delivery/pickup instructions 1-day ahead of arrival. In this way you can communicate what time-frame works for you to receive the unit.

I look forward to your response,
Lawrence Mangus
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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Advice to the Wary…

Quote:
Originally Posted by MORA View Post
If this agreement is acceptable and you have sufficient funds to complete the transaction, please email me back with the following information:
- Your Full Name and Shipping Address (Home Address, City, State, zip/Postal Code) - Info. required by Google Checkout, in order to complete the necessary formalities, and then proceed with the purchase agreement. - Your Phone Number: (Home, Mobile, Office) - Info. required for transportation purposes, our logistics coordinator will call you with delivery/pickup instructions 1-day ahead of arrival. In this way you can communicate what time-frame works for you to receive the unit.
The idea that a military logistics coordinator would handle a transfer of privately-owned goods from seller to buyer is far-fetched; that's not their job. Logistics coordinators do not typically have power of attorney to act on the soldier's behalf, and only someone with power of attorney can give you a notarized bill of sale and title to the trailer.

Electronic purchase through Google Checkout, Paypal, or any other electronic format should NEVER be used for real property where a title and bill of sale must change hands to transfer ownership. Electronic checkout is only for durable goods and consumables, where there is no title transfer.

For any purchase of real property, or chattel property such as a trailer where you must register the property in your domicile state, you need both a bill of sale and a title (and a lien release if the original title still shows a lien against it). There is only one safe option to transfer legal documents: USPS Registered Mail. You want return receipt to prove that the other party got the documents, and you want the delivery to be to a live person who has to sign for the package. If you're mailing payment, it's a good idea to have the registered mail insured for the full amount of the payment, too. Payment should also be made by cashier's check, not a personal check, so that if the package gets lost no one else can cash it OR get your account information from it. Plus, if the transaction proves fraudulent in spite of your precautions, involving the US Postal Service opens up the possibility of prosecuting the vile miscreant for mail fraud in Federal court.

If you MUST do an electronic transfer of funds, there's a safe way to do that, too. Have the seller send you their routing information, and have your bank transfer the money directly to his bank. That way, you don't give out any account information that someone else can use to steal your identity. If the account information provided to you is fraudulent the bank will be unable to process the transaction and your money will still be safe.

In all cases, as a buyer make sure you take posession of the bill of sale and the title BEFORE you take possession of the trailer! Until the title is signed over to you, you don't own the trailer, even if money has changed hands. In the worst case, you could pay the money and take the trailer, only to have the original owner prosecute you for theft, as long as he has the title to pove he still owns it. When you buy from a dealer, all the paperwork is done before they hand you the keys; in a private sale, it should work the same way. Paperwork first.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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T47897 with Az plates.....shouldn't be to difficult to figure out who the actual owner is.

Keep up the good work!

Shane
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #6
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Keep up the good work!!! When I used to sell (and buy) a lot of sailboats, I would come across a lot of the scammers on CL. I would always try to scambait them as much as possible. One I got to give me a physical address in the Philippines, and then there happened to be an image of the housing complex on Google Maps and I was able to make him apologize profusely.

Another one went through over 15 communications back and forth before they began swearing at me in some form of Swahili, and I really wanted to have a perfect comeback/reply in the same dialect of Swahili, but could not find a sufficient translator online.

Just make sure not to give out ANY personal info accidentally. I almost sent out my auto-signature once with my cell phone number, and I don't want them having any of my info, just in case....
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #7
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Hours of entertaining reading: Scam o Rama: The Lads from Lagos

We look forward to your next installment of... Buying the Bargain.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:01 PM   #8
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::shrug:: Scambaiting is a dangerous game, Mora, both from a standpoint of your own physical safety and in that it leaves you open to fraud charges. It's far from clear to me that there is any benefit to anyone aside from whatever possible entertainment value there may be.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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I don't know that you could ever prove fraud in most scambaiting cases. Shoot, if I had the chance to actually buy one of those listed Airstreams at the scammer's price, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat. Just because one is proceeding with the caution due to a suspected scammer doesn't mean the intent to purchase isn't there.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:27 PM   #10
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I'd just report it to the Tube and CL and see if they want to track the guy down. It can be fun to be a detective, but in the meantime he can be screwing some other people as long as the info is still on these lists.

He or the trailer or both seem to be in Missouri and Arizona at the same time; perhaps he is Don Juan. The picture linked in the first post shows a trailer without a license plate which means it was probably taken either at a dealer lot or at the factory. Kind of looks like the factory to me—lots of empty, flat space around it. Dealers have a lot less space. The trees look bare which means winter when things are pretty quiet around JC.

Gene
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #11
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"At this point the Airstream is located approximately 50 miles southwest of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Huachuca, AZ. stored in a military compound." What is really spectacular about this scam is that the comment as stated happens to be 25+ miles into Mexico? And during my entire career in the army we never called our post a garrision! This reminds of a time on ebay that I was wanting to buy a Nikon camera and received an attempt at a scam, I of course played along over the course of several days and numerous emails with the statement that yes I did send along the money via WesternUnion. Too make the story short I had previously contacted the real party with the camera and he mentioned his account was hacked so I knew exactly how I was going to play it out.On his final request too show proof by emailing him the WesternUnion transfer receipt so that he could pickup the money instead I had sent along a wonderful photoshopped photo of big red sucker with the camera embedded in the lollipop! and a little statement about how I hoped he enjoyed all of the effort at trying to rip off someone. LOL
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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Hey Mora: Too bad you don't have the time and money to show up at said storage facility to "inspect and take possesion of said AS". Wonder what seller would say then?

Terry.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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I have had 2 attempts to scam me on Ebay 1 was for john deere 1445 mower that I reported to Ebay was promptly removed from listing other skid steer trailer same results pictures phony phone #s addresses etc. complain gets results.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #14
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The Plot Thickens

As promised by the scam seller, Lawrence, Google Checkout promptly contacted me from this non- google email:
invoice-Google-Checkout@protectiongooglecheckout.onmicrosoft.com


The doctored PDF invoice is attached.

Apparently Google is in spain, as the bank and fake account holder are there

Bank Name: Caixa Catalunya
Address: 17*Armengual*De*La*Mota,**Malaga,*29007,*Spain.
Name: Csaba Budy
Address: 1*Alameda*de*Colón,**Malaga,*29001,*Spain.
Account Number: 2013 0760 00 0200781713
Bank to Bank Info SWIFT/BIC Code: CESC ESBB IBAN: ES3920130760000200781713

If you click through to the FAQs on Google Checkout you come to a very convincing, though false page, made on sharepoint by the scammers. Note that the URL is a Sharepoint.com page, not google.com FAQs - Return Questions

A quick google search showed that Csaba Budy has been involved in a number of other auto scams through Spain, no surprises there.
forum.419eater.com :: View topic - CAR SCAMS USING AUTOTRADER UK, YAHOO....SCAMMER IN SPAIN
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