I wanted to let everyone know about potential hackers and scammers on the Airstream Classifieds site. I have my Airstream listed there for sale (2010 Airstream International 27 for sale in Calgary, Alberta
) and have received some fraudulent inquiries for it. I have spent my career in software so I have seen many of these scams over the years. The shocking thing is that they are still doing these scams as they do get the odd trusting person to fall for them. There was a case near me a couple of months ago where a couple bought an AS and never got it as it did't exist, and lost their money.
So, I have received some of these inquiries from the Airstream Classified site, so these predators are combing the site looking for opportunities. Here is one example. I was contacted through the classifieds site by a person looking to buy my AS. The email looked a little off so I checked into it. The emails through the site shows the IP address of the person sending the email. They said they were from Wisconsin but their IP was in Africa and their phone number was California. So unless they are traveling a lot around the world, this should be a first red flag. After digging deeper I discovered this was a scam trying to get my Airstream without paying for it. I had 2 of these yesterday alone.
Here are some guidelines when buying / selling online:
- When getting an email from the classifieds you will get the users IP address, use a tool like this one to see where they are sending the email from: IP Address Lookup
This will give you the information about where they sent the email from, so if they say they are down the street yet their computer is around the world, this should raise some concerns.
- Check the users profile on this site. Go to the page Airstream Forums - Members List
and click on the Search Member link in the top right of the member list, then enter in the member id you got in the email they sent you. If they just joined that day and have no history this should potentially raise some more concerns for you.
- ALWAYS meet face to face, meet in a public place where there are other people around.
- Never send or wire money to sellers or buyers. This includes mailing a cheque or using payment services like PayPal, Square Transactions, Online Jumble Sales, eTradeDepot, Gizmagdepot.com, Rent Monitor, Amazon Payments, Bidpay, Google Wallet/ Checkout, Canada Post, Western Union or Money Gram. While these sites can be very useful and secure, typically scammers are only pretending to use them and will even go so far as to falsify documents from a legitimate company.
- A lot of scammers will request that they communicate only by email. Don't fall for this, always talk to them on the phone before getting in too deep.
- Never give out your personal information. I had one yesterday looking for my email address, paypal account, paypal email, home address, home phone number, etc... and they would wire me the money and would get a shipper to pick up the AS, sight unseen! They will even go as far as asking for your bank information so they can send you the money. This screams fraud and don't fall for it!
- There is often a delay in answering your emails as they are somewhere else around the world and day may be night for them, just another potential flag.
- Most of all, if it is too good to be true, it probably isn't true...
A couple of helpful links with information in addition to what I have written above:
- Tips for avoiding Cars and Vehicles Scams
- Tips for avoiding Reply Scams
Sorry for the long email on this! I have seen some very trusting people caught in these scams in the past and they have lost a lot of money. This is not their fault, all they did wrong was trust others to be good honourable people. Unfortunately, there are some people in this world who are not so honest...