Monday, July 18, 2016

1969 Stingray Convertible on CL. Too Good to be True?

A couple of days ago, while looking at C3 Corvettes offered on Craigslist (CL), I came across a 1969 Stingray Convertible that definitely caught my eye.

The ad did not list a specific city, but the map alluded to a Florida address about an hour away from me. Of course the $10k asking price raised all kinds of red flags in my mind since prices for '69 Stingray convertibles powered by 427 c.i. big blocks, start at around thirty grand!

There was no phone number to contact the seller, only the cryptic CL email address. So I sent an email just to see if someone would respond.

A day later the listing was gone. Not sure if the seller took it down or if CL did.

The following day I received a text message from a phone number in Montana, saying that the car was owned by the brother, along with a Gmail email address, so I proceeded to email the alleged seller.

Within a few hours I received the following reply via email...

Hello,
I will start  by giving you more details about my 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
The car comes with a fresh 427 Big Block engine, has been extremely well maintained with a full service history, and has not been involved in any accidents. It only has 34,000 miles on new engine and the title is clear. It runs, drives, shifts, and stops very smooth.
My uncle bought the car and restore it 2 years ago, but he passed away so I inherited it from him. I don't have enough time for it, so I want to sell it and buy a new SUV for my wife and my children.
As you can see into the pictures, it's very solid and the paint is perfect. There's no rust signs outside, inside or under the carriage. Always has been stored in doors by me and my uncle, it is in great condition.
Right now the Chevrolet is located at Malmstrom AFB, MT (from where a friend of mine helps me with shipping process).
I have been deployed overseas for next couple of years and I won't be able to handle the transaction in person, according to this circumstances let me know if you are still interested and you want me to give you more details about the transaction. 
John Palmer



Hmm, the Craigslist ad states 2k miles on the "rebuilted" engine, and the email says the car has 34k miles on the new engine. And not only that, the email goes on to say that the car is not even in Florida. It is in Montana, at an Air Force base, and that a "friend" will help with the shipping process.

But wait, there's more. "There's no rust signs outside, inside or under the carriage." That's great news since—as everyone knows—these fiberglass-bodied cars tend to rust. And I guess "the carriage" means the frame. LOL.

Thanks to the little tidbits of poor English grammar and the fact that the seller described it as "the Chevrolet," you can definitely smell the fishy story behind this opportunity, and my guess is that this guy is "stationed" in Nigeria, an Eastern Bloc country or Russia.

I downloaded a couple of the photos sent by the seller, and did a quick Google Images check to see if they could be found elsewhere on the web, and I found a listing for the same car on what appeared to be a questionable site.


A Who Is search of the domain revealed the following:

Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.reg.com
Registrar URL: https://www.reg.com/
Registrar URL: https://www.reg.ru/
Registrar URL: https://www.reg.ua/
Updated Date: 2016-03-14
Creation Date: 2016-03-14T08:58:13Z

I emailed "John Palmer" back asking for more details and he replied with the following:

Like I said in my previous email, the Chevrolet is already at the Department of Logistics at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana sealed and ready to go.
The shipping will be free for you because I will transport it using the internal transport system they got there at the Department of Logistics! The DoL will deliver the car to the nearest AFB from your area from where you can pick it up or you will have it delivered at your door.
The whole shipping process will take between 6 to 10 days. I chose this method because like I said, I was deployed overseas for a 2 year period and I'm not able to handle this by myself.
The financial part will be managed by eBay, which will offer you a 5 day inspection period before committing to buy the Corvette. In this way, both you and I are 100% covered during the steps of this transaction.
If the vehicle it's not as I described it you can ask eBay a full refund without being charged. I would really like to get at least $10,000 so if you are interested in making this purchase in a timely manner email me your contact details such as full name, billing/shipping address and your phone number, so I can inform eBay that I have a buyer! 
Looking forward to hear from you, hopefully a positive response to get the ball rolling.

By now you can tell that this deal is bogus since he advertised the car on Craigslist, yet he wants to be paid via eBay. I am sure he has a way to generate something that looks official in order to get money transferred, and at that point whomever sends money is screwed.

It makes me mad since folks who are not Internet savvy can fall for these types of scams, and you have absolutely no recourse to get your money back.

So the old saying "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is," definitely applies in this case.