I'm selling a car--is this a scam?

I got this message from a potential buyer. Is it possible to commit fraud through a PayPal account? I would think once the money is there, it’s there, but this smells fishy.

It seems a bit off to me. Still, the information they asked for could only be used to give you money, couldn’t it? I don’t see how you could be scammed out of anything here.

Almost certainly a scam. Nobody in this situation should respond. the next thing will be to convince you to send back an “overpayment”. Think about this, if you were in G Report it.ermany, would you buy a car sight unseen?

Yeah, I had the same thing. Tried to sell a car and got three or four of basically the same thing. Make them send you a cashiers check that you’ll hold until it clears. They’ll stop writing.

Yes, it is a scam. Leave this one alone. When I sell something it is always face to face and cash only.

I think the trick with paypal is to start a dispute as soon as the car is collected. They will say - not as described or something and paypal will refund them.

I don’t know the precise mechanics but that’s the general idea.

Of course - if you hand over the car and the keys, you can’t even claim on insurance.

Scam. 100%

I am trying to sell two cars in craigslist right now and I’ve gotten dozens of these emails.

Well the obvious thing is not to release a vehicle,boat, trailer , house until you have the cash firm in your hands. At least transfer the funds to a completely seperate bank.

But also, don’t release cash either ! and western union is CASH. Its not reversible.

I don’t think the scammer is risking his own funds buying a vehicle site unseen, they aren’t even going to arrive to the get the car. They know there’s no value in getting some lemon, with gutless performance, intermittent warning lights flashing up, central locking doing random things and there’s a with dead person smell in it.
They are going to try confidence scam to get the cash back somehow…

They trick the seller into sending cash.
“sorry, my wife died, I cannot buy the car… please refund via Western Union .”
Next thing is the paypal transaction is reversed, paypal has been informed that the credit card holder that supplied the cash never authorized the payment.

The victims often seem to send good money after bad, that is even when they know that its unlikely that there is a good person at the other end, they send more money to help out, eg for the funeral in the case of the deceased wife, in the hope that the other end comes good.

Once again, only take cash. Serious buyers offer cash.

If this nice gentleman in Germany already has a “mover” on standby, conveniently located right in your local area, why doesn’t he ask his “mover” friend to drop by your house , see the car and hand you payment?

This is a scam , for sure.

Since I posted this I received two more of these. The other two had exactly the same wording. In all three cases:

The scammer contacted me via text message
The scammer requested I return the contact by email
The scammer’s email address is in the form <firstname><lastname><random 3-digit number>@gmail.com

I replied to all of them saying that the car was still available. The first two (including the “guy in Germany”) started their replies with

This appears to me to someone trying to pass the Ford test, which is an adaptation of the Turing test where the scammer attempts to simulate a human car buyer. The “guy from Germany” seems to be a little more elaborate but still the same mold.


It’s too late for you this time around, but I have learned that when you post on CraigsList, it’s a major mistake to include an email. Most scammers are too lazy to make phone calls.

I didn’t post on Craigslist, it is on Autotrader.com. Oddly enough Autotrader makes your phone number available after you click to request it, but they anonymize your email address. As I mentioned in #1, the scammers are contacting me by text. I set up a Google Voice number so I can delete it when I’m done running the ad.

This is getting comical. Here is what I got from the second guy.

I guess there’s a shitload of Army guys in Germany who want a 2008 Toyota convertible.

Yep. 100% scam. Cash on delivery, period.

ETA. Look at these…

This scam has been going on since 2014 at least.

This is the scam. Paypal has a very specific way to show you delivered the car. If you don’t use that method then even if you have video of the guy picking up and driving off in the car it doesn’t “prove” they actually got the car as far as Paypal is concerned. He gets that car and files a dispute. Paypal asks for your shipping information (which you don’t have since you didn’t ship it) and as a result they issue the chargeback.

The “calls are restricted at the moment” sets off bells for me. I’ve been stationed in Europe and there was nothing stopping me from using a phone or something like Skype to call back to the States. Of course I couldn’t use a government phone for a private call, but there are many other options.

For the love of god OP don’t listen to this advice. If you’re naive enough to think that this might be legit*, DO NOT do anything involving cashiers checks. The scam involving foreign cashiers checks that seem to clear but end up not being legit weeks later is really, really common and asking for a cashiers check is pretty much asking them to switch to running that scam on you. You’re not obligated to make a counteroffer to a scammer, and if you do it should be something that mostly precludes a scam (like ‘have the agent bring cash in person’), not something that basically asks them to use an even more common method of scamming you.

  • I’m not saying that as an insult, it’s just fact - if the original message did not set off ‘this is a scam’ warnings for you, you’re almost definitely not going to catch a legit vs scam cashiers check when they send you something that looks very official and the bank says you have funds available.

Unless you finish that sentence with ‘paper cash in hand’, the answer is yes (and even then someone could use counterfeit currency).

Pretty much form of electronic cash transfer has some kind of dispute mechanism. If someone wants to use one for what should be an in-person transaction, they’re going to abuse it. In this specific case you’ll get screwed because you won’t have shipping information to prove you shipped the car to the buyer, but it’s not really relevant - the person wouldn’t ask for weird payment arrangements if they really wanted to pay for the car. I mean, why can’t the ‘mover’ deliver you straight up cash when he comes to pick up your car?

Also, it’s 2015. No one with a few grand in US currency to toss on a present for their dad is unable to use a phone, unless they’re in prison. Especially if they’re in a Western country, but even the third world has adequate cell coverage. And no one who legitimately wants a used car as a present for their dad in another country needs to rush the transaction to completion quickly.

Yeah, and I think usually with the PayPal scam, it’s usually some variation of the old “Oops, my accountant made the (fake) check out for too much, could you send me the change back?” scam. It’s really easy to load up your PayPal account from a stolen credit card or some other fraudulent instrument and until PP catches it and reverses it, everything looks more or less legit.