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OT: Machinery Fraud on Internet

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  • OT: Machinery Fraud on Internet

    Recently, an Idaho firm with what appears to be a high end web site may have been exposed as a complete fraud. Selling construction and agricultural machinery.

    Some highlights of the situation:
    High end web site with many machines pictured. In every respect, appears to be a thriving full service business including parts and technical staff.
    Could easily be a broker as many listings are in other than Idaho locations (palm trees etc.).
    Nice "staff" photos including mechanics working on big machines.
    Really cheap prices for good machines, including tax, and until recently, delivery.

    Some Red Flags:
    Phone is not always answered. When answered, little information is forthcoming. Call backs often slow, they encourage text or email only communications.
    Evasive when trying to set up equipment inspection in person or by an agent.
    Details of shipment, pick up location, or about the machine only upon wire transfer payment.
    Payment is exclusively via wire transfers, no checks, no ACH, only wire transfers.
    Staff on web site cannot be located in area where business is located. These are fakes.
    Pay the low price before it's gone.
    Some get fake documents to authorize pick up of machine.
    Google Maps inquiry on business address does not match the business. Often rural areas or a farm.

    At least one member of a tractor forum was taken for $19,200, reported to local police who have no idea who business is.
    A variation of this is a foreign bank claiming to be selling repossessed machine for their balance due (justifies super low price).
    All they need is for you to wire directly to the bank providing bank account numbers to do so.
    Sale documents are even sent after the payment
    The equipment actually belongs to someone else trying to sell it.
    Once a wire transfer has been accepted, there is no cancellation or returns.

    Has this type of scam been seen in the metal working machinery business yet?


    S E Michigan

  • #2
    What’s new.... google Al Babin.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sending money by wire transfer is about as secure as throwing it out of an airplane.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well.......link to the website ??

        JL.....

        Comment


        • #5
          This past summer, I wanted to buy a CNC lathe, and had settled on finding an Omniturn GT-75. I didn't find too many on the usual dealer sites, and posted a want-to-buy over on Practical Machinist.

          Over the next couple of weeks, I got no less than three scammers offering me machines, for decent, though not 'suspiciously low' prices. None would provide a website, phone number or company name, none gave a location more precise than "West Virginia" or "Texas", each gave me a description that was basically cut-and-paste right off the manufacturer's website, when asked if any tooling was included one simply replied something like "oh yeah, it's all there", and all of them pushed me to make the payment, 'well get the rest sorted out afterwards'.

          All of them were generic names on Gmail accounts. Other PM members have been offered 10EEs, Pacemakers, chucks, you name it. Same MO.

          I have since been told that this sort of thing is prevalent on hot-rod and musclecar boards (offering cars, engines, axles, etc.) boat, snowmachine and ATV boards, and even the paintball boards. The paintball guys will email somebody with a WTB ad, say their friend has one, you email the address provided, they send you a photo, you send a PayPal payment, and they ghost. Might only be $50 or $100, but if they get 5-6 suckers a day, that's good money.

          It used to be that if you just stayed away from the obvious Nigerian Princes, you were okay. But today? There are literal scammers everywhere. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, any online classified section.

          Do your homework. If they don't have pretty much impeccable bona-fides, pass. I don't care how good a deal it is, how hard to find that thing is, or how perfect it might be for you- if they refuse PayPal, can't provide legit bank info, won't give a legit phone number, profess to be a dealer or a business but won't provide a website or even company name, pass.

          Doc.
          Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

          Comment


          • #6
            Recently I have seen a lot of ads on Facebook marketplace for things a long ways away and advertised as "ships to you". They show some 500 pound piece shipping USPS for $4. Obviously they are not going to ship something like that for $4 and USPS will certainly not ship a 500# piece. I am not sure what is going on. Obviously something does not add up.

            Comment


            • #7
              For a while FB marketplace was flooded with ads for small Kubota and John Deere tractors for absurd prices, $1900 for a $20K tractor, etc. Lots of "my husband passed away and I'm moving and need this gone now..." or similar nonsense. Had a friend come pretty darn close to getting taken by one of them.

              It obviously fools enough people to keep the scams up and running.

              Comment


              • #8
                Good grief! What a mess, but I suppose the call of the "good deal" is sometimes so loud as to deafen the ears to the ringing alarms.



                S E Michigan

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is where Bented steps in with a comment about how "Home shop Harry" loves a "deal".... and won't pay a reasonable price for anything
                  4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Everything not impossible is compulsory

                  "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The secondary market for pinball machines is full of scammer-ass sites promising impossible deals on machines which haven't been manufactured in decades. Multiple hits in the top ten on google searches return fake sites which are obviously aggregating pictures of machines from personal owners posting on forums.

                    I don't understand how people who are this brazen aren't hunted down and prosecuted or put out of business by other means...
                    -paul

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                    • #11
                      The clumsiness of most of these attempts baffle me. Who is gullible enough to fall for them? Why haven’t the scammers starved to death yet?

                      The old con man’s motto “You can’t cheat an honest man.” has a bit of application to the methodology of some of these scam attempts.

                      I’m less surprised at success rate of scams targeting the elderly. A friends elderly mother fell for the “Hi grandma, it’s———-, and I need bail money to get out of a Caribbean jail” call. Twice. 🤷‍♂️

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SVS View Post
                        The clumsiness of most of these attempts baffle me. Who is gullible enough to fall for them? Why haven’t the scammers starved to death yet?

                        The old con man’s motto “You can’t cheat an honest man.” has a bit of application to the methodology of some of these scam attempts.

                        I’m less surprised at success rate of scams targeting the elderly. A friends elderly mother fell for the “Hi grandma, it’s———-, and I need bail money to get out of a Caribbean jail” call. Twice. 🤷‍♂️
                        I have read that the improbable nature of some of the stories in these scams is generally not a mistake. What that does is that it sorts out potential targets to being people who are more likely to be either gullible, uneducated, or unsophisticated enough to fall for the whole thing as the scam progresses. If the scam is so well hidden as not not be at least somewhat unlikely up front, the scammer will have to waste time on people who will soon get wise to the scam and then not follow through. So if you will fall for the opening line that some random widow of a prince someplace in Africa is contacting you to help shelter their fortune, you are much more likely to swallow the rest of the scam.

                        My father in law very nearly fell for the "bail scam" you mentioned just a few months back. This is not a stupid man, he was an actual "rocket scientist" engineer who spent a career doing stuff like deriving tracking algorithms for intercepting missiles and stuff like that. He is simply elderly and was worried that his grandson was in jail someplace. He asked my wife to drive him to the bank and would not tell her why, etc. Smelling a rat, she pretty much pried the story out of him. She told him that from now on if one of his grandkids is in jail, they can just spend the night there until he calls her or her sister to help sort things out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The clumsiness of most of these attempts baffle me. Who is gullible enough to fall for them? Why haven’t the scammers starved to death yet?
                          -There's considerable speculation it's intentional, at least in some cases. It basically self-selects out people who aren't going to fall for the scam (and thus the scammer doesn't have to waste the time to woo him) and aims at the "shut up and take my money!" crowd.

                          For a while FB marketplace was flooded with ads for small Kubota and John Deere tractors for absurd prices, $1900 for a $20K tractor, etc.
                          -Yep. I don't do the Facebook thing, but locally, Craigslist always had at least one ad, often more, for a small tractor, food trailer, Winnebago, golf cart, "gaming PC" and a few other things- always out of state numbers, always text-only, often have the number printed on the photo rather than in the text.

                          I don't know about FB, but CL has a "flag" option- if enough people 'flag' a posting (I'd bet the number is less than 10) it's taken down. (Not the 'trash can' symbol on the thumbnail or listing pages- you have to open up the ad and click the 'flag' icon.)

                          Doc.
                          Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post

                            -There's considerable speculation it's intentional, at least in some cases. It basically self-selects out people who aren't going to fall for the scam (and thus the scammer doesn't have to waste the time to woo him) and aims at the "shut up and take my money!" crowd.



                            -Yep. I don't do the Facebook thing, but locally, Craigslist always had at least one ad, often more, for a small tractor, food trailer, Winnebago, golf cart, "gaming PC" and a few other things- always out of state numbers, always text-only, often have the number printed on the photo rather than in the text.

                            I don't know about FB, but CL has a "flag" option- if enough people 'flag' a posting (I'd bet the number is less than 10) it's taken down. (Not the 'trash can' symbol on the thumbnail or listing pages- you have to open up the ad and click the 'flag' icon.)

                            Doc.
                            OK, so we pretty much posted the same thing at the same time. Great minds, etc.

                            FB has a flag thing as well but it seems to be largely a waste of time. I don't think FB cares to deal with it, may just be due to sheer volume.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SVS View Post
                              The clumsiness of most of these attempts baffle me. Who is gullible enough to fall for them? Why haven’t the scammers starved to death yet?

                              The old con man’s motto “You can’t cheat an honest man.” has a bit of application to the methodology of some of these scam attempts.

                              I’m less surprised at success rate of scams targeting the elderly. A friends elderly mother fell for the “Hi grandma, it’s———-, and I need bail money to get out of a Caribbean jail” call. Twice. 🤷‍♂️
                              Some people must go for it, otherwise they'd stop doing all these obviously phony scams. There's some /dumb/ people out there I guess...
                              -paul

                              Comment

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