I wanted to ensure you are aware of a scam listing on eBay that is bound to pop up again. I'm sure many of you by now are more adept at spotting these scams, but the listing doesn't contain many of the "scam triggers" I've become accustomed to--namely, very poor language, over excitement, strange pricing (for ex: $5,002 or $2,483), and a lack of contact information. Now looking at it with fresh eyes, it contains some--sob story, phone with area code that doesn't match locale (I spotted that immediately but brushed it off as mine doesn't either). I hope this is the right forum for this. This will be a very detailed post as I want to ensure other enthusiastic "Currently Looking" Stream Dreamers are aware of a bit more complex scams to watch out for.
The listing is for a '66 Caravel
. It has now been posted to 2 separate eBay listings, both of which have been removed. There is no reserve, but in the listing the lister states she wants $3K and provides a contact number to text with any questions.
"She" ("Stephanie") will answer your text, and will e-mail you when requested with a link to a PhotoBucket site with additional pictures (stephalaughlin's Library | Photobucket
). The PhotoBucket site matches her e-mail address and the name that comes across in the e-mail. Her ebay ID has been active since 2010 and has only positive reviews (albeit, only 12 overall, and none recently, so I suspect this might be a hack job of the original owner's account). The e-mail address has been flagged if you do a google search by someone else about this very same trailer being listed for sale on ebay (Scamdex | eBay vintage trailer scam | Scam TipOff Report
"Stephanie" will answer your questions quickly, whatever they might be. She doesn't pretend like the trailer is in perfect condition. Her language is appropriate. Red flags aren't raised until you state you want to buy the trailer. I was comfortable doing so due to its low price ($3K) and assurances from "Stephanie" that it would be completed through eBay, and I would get the eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection by default as I was quite concerned about scamming, a stolen trailer, an unclean title, etc. A physical trailer not really in the condition stated wasn't my utmost concern at the price point. I made sure to text "Stephanie" and confirm that the transaction would be handled through eBay and be linked to my eBay account, thus providing the protection. She confirmed.
"Stephanie" will ask for your ebay ID. Around 20 minutes later, she will ask for your full address. That raised the red flag for me immediately, as to close an ebay transaction for a bidder and send the payment instructions, an address is not required by the seller. I informed her of this and "she" immediately sent an angry text message informing me she was asking as she needed to know who she was dealing with. She then texted back, "why are you so suspicious? I don't get it...??!! are you serious or not about this deal...cause I'm sick of time wasters!!!" At that point, I was 99% finished, but still 1% uncertain whether "she" might be an uneducated seller unsure of why internet buyers are "so suspicious."
So I decided to take it up a notch, and I texted back saying the stated location was not far from me (not entirely true...It'd be a 6.5 hour drive, but I am a native to the area originally and still have many family members and friends there and knew I could vet if BS was thrown at me quite quickly), so I would like to meet her at 10am tomorrow to see the trailer in person and to please provide an address to where I could meet her. She provided an address with the correct city, I asked if that was the location the Airstream was stored at. She stated yes, their ranch. I then Googled the address: 1) it's a ranch style home, not a ranch, with no place to store an Airstream but the driveway. there was no Airstream in the Google Streetview picture. She stated they've owned it 25 years, it could have theoretically be out on a trip when the picture was taken. 2) from my knowledge of the area, homeowners associations don't allow trailers stored on property, despite the neighborhood's age. 3) the home is currently for sale 4) property records in this area are readily available and her last name isn't on them. Perhaps they rent, perhaps she has a different last name than her dead husband in the sob story, which is not that uncommon. At that point, it was just too many, "maybes" and I texted "her" back and told her why internet buyers are suspicious, that I tried to vet her after her outburst and couldn't, about the Scam flagging of her e-mail address and the 1, 2, 3, and 4 from above, and I wouldn't be moving forward, but that if her deal was indeed legit I was sure she'd quickly find a buyer. I received no response, and the ebay listing was removed within 2 minutes. The individual who reported her email to Scamdex (Scamdex | eBay vintage trailer scam | Scam TipOff Report
) apparently progressed further in the transaction as they can provide fraudulent details around the payment situation itself.
So, beware. Again, this may be an old news approach to the experienced Airforum members, but I (stupidly) have to admit this person had me fooled for a while. I never had plans to submit any payment without verifying by directly logging into eBay, not using the links provided in any e-mail, and verifying the "winning bid" was on my account, as that's how you are provided the VPP. And I'd never submit a payment unless the ebay item # was explicitly stated in the invoice. But I only know all of this because someone else fell victim to it first. So, I hope this post is at least a little bit helpful to other 'Stream Dreamers out there constantly searching for the perfect trailer.
(again, I did tell this scammer that his/her e-mail had been flagged, so please look out for the same scam posted under a separate e-mail address/persona within the coming days)