Miscellaneous, Personal

Internet Fraud

I saw the following advertisement on AutoScout24 today.
Too good to be true - Fraud on the Internet
5300 EUR for a 2007 Audi A3 ragtop. This looked too good to be true, indeed, but still I couldn’t hesitate to contact the seller. The telephone number shown in the ad turned out to be a fax number, so I tried to get in touch by email. I received a reply about 15 minutes later.

The next first strange thing was that I saw that the AutoScout24 email was sent to a different address than the one the seller replied from. Moreover, the seller wrote that he bought the car in Germany but moved to the UK where noone was interested in a car with the steering wheel on the left side.

Hello ,
I hope you understand english because I don’t write German so well even if I lived and worked in Germany for a year. I drived the car in Germany. The car is in excellent condition,1 hand, GERMAN papers,never involde in any accidents, the engine works perfectly, it has the technical book and all papers, REAL km,and all the other options .I sell it cheap because I just moved to London, UK. Now nobody wants to buy it here in UK because it’s european,German made car with the steering wheel on the
left side. The car is allready at a shipping company in a garage and I can send it anywhere in Europe in 2-3 days to your home on my expence. If you are interested please reply me so I can give you more information.
Thank you!

I asked some detail questions, e.g. for copies of the car papers. The seller did not respond to any of my questions. Instead, he explained how the shipping process would work.

Hello there,
My final price is 5300 Euros… I would like to inform you that we will use an International Shipping Company for insurance which works hand in hand with autoscout24 ( they deliver the car to you and autoscout24 insures your money ). In United Kingdom this shipping company is very popular and trustable and all the transaction will be done through Autoscout.Is a shipping company that offers the posibility to sell cars over the internet safetly. I will pay for all charges(shipping taxes). As soon as I will send the car, they will email you all the info regarding the shipping status: delivery time,arrival time .They will deliver the car to your door step. After you will receive all shipping info, you must send a deposit of 50% from the total amount to one of
Autoscout24 agents(your money will be protected by autoscout24 ). They will email you the payment instructions once with the shipping info.After they receive the payment info from you they`ll start the shipping to you and in 3 day`s the car will arive at your home. Return policy: After you receive the car you will have 5 working days to inspect it.In this time you`ll check the car condition and all the car papers.If you`ll find any problems at the car you will have to contact autoscout24 and
they`ll return you your money back and will come to take the car back.If you like the car you have to send the rest of the money 50% from the total amount to autoscout24 . When they`ll receive all the amounth they`ll give me my money! This is the safest deal that i can offer you.Now if you agree give me your full name and address and i`ll go and send the car to you.I`am waiting news from you,so if you accept send me your details for shiping,first name, last name,zip code ,city,country ,address.
Thank you and have a nice day!

I tried again and asked nicely whether the seller could please answer my questions. I received an answer which looked like a copy and paste of the second mail.

the all papers are to autoscout agent with the car..autoscout agent will bring you the car at your home ..you will have a security from autoscout agent ..all you have do to is to make an account to autoscout agent 50% and they will secure your money untill you receive the car .after when you receive the car you send the rest of the money …..you have 5 days to inspect the car if you don’t like the car you can get your money back …
let me know with your full name and address so i can forward your details at autoscout agent and they will contact you about the payment and shipping process.

In the meantime, I put some of his sentences into Google which led me to exactly one hit: fraudwatchers.org
The last thing I could to was to inform AutoScout24 and to reply to the fraudster that I forwarded his data to the authorities.