Scams and scammers using these names: William R. Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org, Helena, Montana, 2004 Nissan Murano SL,
“I have the car sealed at DAS terminal ready to be shipped out”
Are you looking to buy a used car? Did you respond to an ad from “William R. Butler” claiming to be from Helena, Montana? Note that he says: “I have the car sealed at DAS terminal ready to be shipped out”. That’s a clue to a scam right there, but this scam is more elaborate than most; with a website with photos of the car, his family, etc.
Notice that the scammer says he wants to use “eBay motors vehicle purchase protection”. Will that protect you from a scam? EBay, they, say:
“Please understand that the VPP program is not an insurance policy, a solution for buyer’s remorse, or a substitute for buyer diligence (i.e. pre-purchase research and inspection). Therefore, we encourage you to perform appropriate research and exercise proper care and judgment in the purchase of any vehicle. “
And notice the exclusion for:
“Transactions occurring directly between the parties (i.e. phone, email, mail, in person, by overnight messenger, etc…) and/or on another website rather than through the eBay website. Note that all transactions occurring through the eBay website (motors.ebay.com) will be confirmed by a message from eBay in your My Messages inbox in My eBay.” So as long as you do everything through eBay, and you check the car out, you’ll be pretty much covered. BUT… notice in the second email that “William” backs out of the agreement to use the program, saying the price is only good for “sight unseen”. Who in their right mind would buy a used car, sight unseen, from a complete stranger?
Here are the clues that this is a scam:
- First, you will notice the syntax and grammar. Often, is it not pathetically bad, it’s just plain strange. It looks like it was written by someone who is not a native English-speaker, and writes very rarely in English. This is very typical of scammers, who largely are in Nigeria and have little formal education and probably none in English.
- Next, he wants to write a check in excess of the required amount. Why? That makes no sense at all. If he hasn’t got a bank account, he could always pay in cash or get a money order.
- Then, he wants the “excess” from the check sent BACK to him or to other individuals, often in many different locations, and always by Western Union or Money Gram! Alarm bells should be going off by now. Western Union wires and Moneygrams are not only untraceable, they’re irretrievable. Once the recipient picks them up (which can be done at ANY Western Union office in the world), the money is gone, gone, gone!
- And then there are the little clues; signs like the strange name and location changes. Maybe, first he’s “David Rapheal”, then he’s suddenly Shawn Nickolas, supposedly in England, yet the first name has an American spelling and the last name is spelled more like an Eastern European or Germanic origin.
- The scammers NEVER can meet in person. They may have a $50,000 boat to sell to you or want to buy a $45,000 car from you, but somehow they are always “out of the country” on business, in in the army, whatever. In the real world, anyone buying or selling something for more than a few hundred dollars wants to see it first. And especially when renting a house or apartment!
- The scammers typically ramble on about issues (“I have the car sealed at DAS terminal ready to be shipped out”) that are irrelevant to such a sale or rental; such as, how they are doing this for charity, or recently moved to the UK, or are traveling in Africa right now. You as a seller / landlord don’t and shouldn’t care about these issues: you are trying to find a legitimate buyer or renter for your item at a fair market price. The scammer knows this and is merely trying to cloud the issue and provide excuses for not complying with the basic requirements of a sale. He’s also trying to engender trust; one of the key elements of any con game.
- Scammers frequently refer to “trust”, “faith” and God; in ways that no rational person in western Society would ever do in a business transaction, as in, “I know I can trust you”, or “my faith in God tells me to enter this agreement with you”.
- Look at the huge number of misspellings, weird use of capital letters, poor punctuation and made-up words. Again, this is typical of the scammer filth that lives and operates in Nigeria.
An actual email that illustrate this type of CraigsList scam:
Any highlighted passages below are to draw your attention to typical scam clues:
Email 1 from the scammer:
Sorry for the late response but I work in the US Air Force and it’s very hard for me to reply faster. I wanted to let you know that the 2004 Nissan Murano SL is still available, i had a buyer but his loan did not get approved. The final price is $5,800 ,so if you are still interested please let me know ASAP. Here is a link with more photos:
At this time the truck is in Helena, Montana with me and we can use the eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection service to handle this deal if you’re not able to come pick this up. Let me know if you have any questions, for some reasons your previous email did not load on my screen.
William R. Butler , TSgt, USAF
373rd TRS/Det. 11
Second email from the scammer:
Hi there again, Sorry but I cant use a phone being in a dgt mission, this Nissan Murano SL is a perfect car and it will make you proud, it is in excellent
condition, never been involved in accidents, only 75k miles, vin # is JN8AZ08T64W212370, clean and clear title, no mechanical problems, no smells and odors, no rust, no leaks, power options all functional and it will need nothing in the near future. I inherited it from my uncle who had health issues and took great care of this car, always garaged and never off road. I wouldn’t hesitate to jump in and drive it to China any time of the day. We are in a training mission here until 25th of May but if you’re not able to pick this up I have some great news for you.
The shipping will take 4-5 days thru DAS and it will be free, my previous buyer already paid for it and DAS didn’t want to refund him so I have the car sealed at DAS terminal ready to be shipped out. If we cannot meet face2face I would like to use eBay motors vehicle purchase protection to take care of this deal, smooth and safe.
I want to sell it because I don’t have much use for it and I could use some quick cash right now, rather than waiting for a better offer (selling takes a lot of time too… and time is money). So I’m willing to let it go for $5,800 and since I only have one car, First come, First served.
Let me know if you have any other questions, hope i didn’t miss anything, if we use eBay program this is not a sight unseen deal anymore
William R. Butler , TSgt, USAF
373rd TRS/Det. 11
THE S/N CAR WAS SOLD ON E-BAY FROM A DEALER IN TEXAS FOR $16,000.