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Old 11-14-2014, 08:25 PM   #1
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Interstate sales scam - for what purpose??

I can pretty much guarantee that this will be the most bizarre thing you've heard all week.

My husband was image-surfing the internet today because he needed a reference photo (ANY reference photo) of the rear end of an Interstate as he was comparison-shopping for back-up camera retrofits (ours doesn't have one yet).

He stumbled across a sales listing in Pennysaver for a 2007 AI with the garnet side stripe - same as ours. The ad did not disclose mileage and the price appeared artificially low, so he forwarded the URL to the guy we bought ours from back in September with a note along the lines of "Don't know what its condition is, but you might want to think about flipping this one, too." The seller wrote back (paraphrasing), "No, you don't understand - that's a scam. Those are MY pictures. That is YOUR Interstate in the sales listing."



So someone apparently scraped the photos out of the original sales listing, duplicated part of the description, posted an artificially low price, and added name, phone, and email.

My question is, WHY?? So this poster is going to draw a bunch of phone calls with this - to what end?? Data gathering for what?? The Interstate is such an unusual vehicle - are they targeting a certain demographic? If they wanted to draw sheer volume from a listing, you'd think they would have scraped a Camaro ad or something.

Furthermore, why is this listed in Houston? It was bought and sold in Memphis but of course we (the owners) live in Houston and drove it back to Houston right after we completed the sale. Is the listing city a coincidence, or part of a larger scam plan that we don't yet understand??

I screengrabbed the ad for evidence and attached to this post - both my husband and the seller have already tried to make contact with the scammer and so I have a feeling that this URL will quickly evaporate:

RVs & Trailers for Sale in Houston, TX in Harris - PennySaverUSA

Can you believe that?? By sheer chance, we found our own Interstate for sale on the internet.

Alison and Lawrence
League City TX
THE INTERSTATE BLOG
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:29 PM   #2
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Actually that has become a very common scam, here, ebay and Craigslist. All they need is a couple of suckers and they are set. The ad has already been removed.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:31 PM   #3
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Happens all day every day. Cars, trucks, Rvs you name it the scammers will copy pictures and try to get an unsuspecting buyer's $$$.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:38 PM   #4
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Identity theft is one of the main reasons for any such scam. By establishing a dialog with potential buyers (or potential sellers if they're working the scam from the other end) they can gather enough personal information to obtain credit cards in the person's name, or even access and clear out bank accounts.

When you detect a scam such as this, report it to your local FBI office and give them as much pertinent information as you can. You can report it over the phone of by e-mail. Even the FBI website has a "contact us" page where you can e-mail them.

These scams constitute fraud in interstate commerce (pun unintended) and it's a Federal crime. The FBI doesn't come close to catching them all, but if no one reports it, the miscreants never get caught. At least if it's reported, there's a chance.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:56 PM   #5
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All the scammer wants is the deposit money. He or she is counting on your desire to own a bargain. They will say that they have had many responses and will sell to the first one to place a $2,500 deposit on the coach. You wire or Western Union the money the next day as they don't use Paypal and they have your money.

Counting on your embarrassment at being scammed, you won't contact the authorities and they will continue scamming. Successful scams play upon your greed (wanting something of value for next to nothing) and they know what buttons to push. Scammers have their play down to a science. Even if caught, you probably are from out of state and would be unwilling to travel to prosecute them.

The sad thing is, these scams are successful at scamming people out of money all the time, or they would stop. People need to know, you get what you pay for. If you paid almost nothing for something, you usually will end up with nothing.

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Old 11-14-2014, 09:38 PM   #6
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Identity theft is shocking. This story in last months AARP Magazine will make your hair stand on end.

"She Stole My Life"
http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-frau...rotection.html


- - Mike
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:54 PM   #7
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Even if caught, you probably are from out of state and would be unwilling to travel to prosecute them.
Which another reason why you should report it to the FBI. You do not prosecute them. The US Department of Justice does, using evidence collected by the FBI. The case is not "Airstream Owner vs. Scammer" it's "United States Government vs. Scammer." You wouldn't even have to travel out of state. At most, you would give a deposition at your own local US District Court in the presence of the US attorneys assigned to the case.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:48 AM   #8
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Which another reason why you should report it to the FBI. You do not prosecute them. The US Department of Justice does, using evidence collected by the FBI. The case is not "Airstream Owner vs. Scammer" it's "United States Government vs. Scammer." You wouldn't even have to travel out of state. At most, you would give a deposition at your own local US District Court in the presence of the US attorneys assigned to the case.
Thanks for all the info. I will definitely contact the FBI. I knew that the world was replete with people who would sell attic insulation or storm windows at a deep discount if only someone would give them a deposit over the phone, but an Interstate? *MY* Interstate?? This is a total new one on me.

It's a weird feeling to see something like this. First thing I did was check to ensure that the vehicle title was still where it was supposed to be because I wondered if they might be trying to sell first and then grab the vehicle to fulfill the sale.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:06 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the info. I will definitely contact the FBI. ....
As a follow-up to this, I did report it to the FBI, and we also made contact with this scammer, as have other folks (reportedly). And I did a bunch more research on the issue.

Here's a sobering thought: I don't think that ours is the first Interstate that these guys have attempted to scam. I remember seeing an ad for another one allegedly for sale in this exact area and thinking, "Ah, screw it - I might be willing to fly to BaltoWash to look at a vehicle, but I'm NOT driving out to the coast."

At any rate, here is an account of this still-unfolding situation, including a copy of the email we received from the scammer. I don't think it will do any harm to post this at this point because the scammer has already been described on social media and they have already left their tracks for the authorities to follow, supposing they decide to pursue it. With thousands of these fraud cases reported per year, who knows if they will go after this one. Sigh...

THE INTERSTATE BLOG: AN AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE SALES SCAM
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:46 AM   #10
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Interesting side note, I have driven by the spot at least twice a year on my way to the DE beaches. Always had a ramshackle collection of RV's and Boats IMHO. I never stopped.
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:57 AM   #11
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General update on this thread, as I know that there have been many new readers to the forum since the last time the topic was discussed.

Someone just "sold" a pristine-looking 2012 Interstate on eBay for $39,000 (she said, as expletives echoed around the country). I reported the listing to eBay a few days ago, but apparently before they could do anything about it, someone pressed "Buy It Now".

I wanted to mention this as an additional potential fraud route of which people should be aware. Folks tend to assume eBay is legitimate in a way that less-regulated websites are not. That's true most of the time, EXCEPT when an honest seller gets hacked. That might be what happened here. The seller had good ratings right up until the last two transactions, one of which allegedly did not complete due to an undisclosed reserve price, and the other had feedback saying "BEWARE SCAM!!!!! I OFFERED TO PICKUP THE CAR & PAY CASH. HE WANTED $$$ WIRED".

Despite that rather damning recent review, apparently someone still pressed "Buy It Now" on this Interstate.

These crooks appear to be getting more sophisticated. Unlike what had happened to my husband and I in 2014 in which a previous legitimate sales listing was fraudulently recycled (= dead giveaway of scam), I was not able to trace the location from which this possible eBay hacker may have scraped his or her Interstate photos. It's probably someone's actual Interstate, but it's not clear who that might be. Anyone know of an Interstate owner with a "Life Is Good" cover on their spare tire?


FWIW. Moral of the story for buyers is assume nothing, verify everything, and do not wire money under any circumstances.
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:28 PM   #12
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FWIW. Moral of the story for buyers is assume nothing, verify everything, and do not wire money under any circumstances.
There is another moral. Have something clearly identifiable on the outside of your vehicle or trailer (but not your name) so that you can tell at a glance— and prove— "Hey, that's mine!"

My Corps of Engineers front license plate is meant specifically for that purpose. I doubt there's another white Sprinter van conversion out there that has one. The "Life is Good" spare tire cover in your example also works. The OSU bumper sticker on the rear quarter window of my toad is also an identifying feature both because of the sticker itself and the odd placement of it.
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Old 04-27-2016, 05:37 PM   #13
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all too familiar...

I recently embarked on a journey to buy a nice interstate as it looked perfect for my desires and as a newbie to RV'ing I thought smaller is better. I followed adds from E bay, Craigslist and lots of various local "free adds" sites such as KSL.com. I found quite a few for sale but they almost all started to come up fishy in one way or another. A common thread was the "Yes it is still for sale I am in the military and recently was stationed to -------- and the motor home is stored at the ------- military base and for a cash payment I can have the motorhome shipped to your location for free" This was one of my favorites being retired Navy I got quite a kick out of the "free delivery" offer!
The bottom line for me is if it sounds too good to be true it is a scam. Ebay offers no protection from these scammers as they legitimately use Ebay to list and "sell" it Then they contact you stating that the buyer backed out and they offer it to you for a better deal but as a direct sale, not through Ebay.
I finally got a literally PERFECT 2004 for a good price after actually talking with the seller several times on the phone, using Google to research the seller, and getting a bit lucky.
Sadly scammers exist and work very hard at trying to get your money into their pockets. I often think that if they just applied their efforts at a legitimate job they would eventually do a lot better financially, and I only hope some of them get caught. Why did we ever get rid of public flogging and the pillory?
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:25 PM   #14
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Jet1, Gratz on getting the '04. I really enjoy our older Sprinter.

Replace the turbo resonator before you drive across the Rockies or Appalachians. Get your cell phone up on top of the grey water tank to check if the drain pipes have sheared off. If so, go to InterBlog's blog for our repairs.

Welcome aboard.
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