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Cobra Engines in Nigeria?
Internet scams hit the automotive classifieds and auction sites.

The internet has changed the hobby of hot-rodding in countless ways. Perhaps the most noticeable is in the commerce of new and used automobiles and automobile parts. You don't need to go further than eBay to see just how big the market is for everything from a one-dollar gasket to a eighty-thousand dollar Boss 429 Mustang. In fact, at last check eBay had over a half-million listings for car and truck parts alone.
And that is just eBay. Like the stars in our galaxy, there are an equal number of unquantifiable websites with classified ads for all things automotive. For the most part, this is a great convenience for the enthusiast. You can buy rare parts you otherwise wouldn't have come across in a hundred years at your local car-swap meet. Of course you can also fund the next must-have part by selling off stuff that, in the pre-Internet day,s you also would never have sold at that same dismal local swap-meet.

It's not all good
It stands to reason then that with all this good there has to be some bad sprinkled in. When it comes to Internet classifieds and auctions the bad comes in the form of scams and frauds. Take the genuine a-holes who put up an auction for a seemingly legitimate item. Instead of being shipped the goods the auction winner receives a photograph of the part. Reexamining the original posting reveals, in fine print, that the auction was for "the picture of the part, shown here" and not the actual physical itself. Call it a "grammatical scam" but yes this has actually occurred and many people were bit.

The scams that are the most agonizing are the ones that simply can't be predicted. It's the seller that checks out ok but then knowingly sends a broken part, or one with defects not mentioned in the ad. Cracked heads or faulty electronics are popular in this category. Or worse, the scams where you send the part and the buyer never pays. You can only perform so much due diligence before getting down to an acceptable level of risk - and there is always risk when you purchase something on the net.

The Nigerian Prince
The most absurd of Internet scams to crop up over the past few years are the foreign buyer or foreign seller ads. Also dubbed the "Nigerian Prince" scams, these fraud attempts entail an ad or email solicitation whereby an individual wants to buy or sell an item but requires a money transfer to a overseas bank. Most of us give these ads a chuckle, flag them as BS and move on. Surprisingly the problem is huge and many unfortunate people have been duped into sending money or their personal banking information. The Department of Justice terms these fraud attempts as "4-1-9" attempts, after the Nigerian criminal code section for fraud. More recently however these scams not only originate from Nigeria, but countries all over the globe. In fact, many scams of this type involve a ring of individuals - perhaps a guy right next door and his accomplice with a bank account overseas.

While it might seem that most of the 4-1-9 scams deal with an exiled Prince wanting to give access your US bank account to help him clear his million dollar government payout. In fact these crooks have taken more mundane approaches, which surprisingly are right up our alley. Take a look at this actual Craigslist.org posting:

04 MUSTANG COBRA GT 4.6L COMPLETE ENGINE w/6SPD TRANS $5200
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: [email protected]
Date: 2005-03-30, 4:07AM PST

This Parts for a complete engine assembly consisting of engine, 6spd trans, engine wiring harness, clutch and brake pedal assembly & H-pipe with cats out of a 2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra with only 10k miles. This is the wicked fast 4.6 L V8 Supercharged DOHC 32V FI Engine that produces 390hp @ 6000 rpm and 390hp @ 3500 rpm that is back with the legendary tremmec T-56 6spd transmission. The engine was professionally removed and will be shipped in an enclosed container for safe shipment. If you are looking to upgrade your Mustang GT , Saleen , Steeda , Roush , or build the ultimate Street Rod or Hot Rod this is the auction for you.
And I can only accept wire transfer for the payment method, not with the other payment.
Thanks and Good Luck.


Be your own Detective
An initial read of this ad actually gives very little indication that a fraud is being attempted. However you have to understand what the B.S. triggers are. In this ad there are several clues that should immediately tell you to not even consider buying this, even if it is the last 04 Cobra drivetrain on Earth. The first trigger is that this is cleary a cut and paste job. The ad indicates "auction" and ends with "good luck". Craigslist isn't an auction site so something is up. Let's give the seller the benefit of the doubt - perhaps he is just posting his eBay ad in various classifieds. However there are still more red flags. The statement "will be shipped in an enclosed container for safe shipment" in and of itself is not bad, but is highly odd for a local market classifieds website. In any case, we are apprehensive in general about buying engines through the mail.

There are even more clues that this ad is bad news. Take note of the poor English in the first and last sentence. A sure sign he copied someone elses ad and then attempted to make it his own. It does not make sense the person writing the ad would use the phrase "wicked fast" but also start a sentence "This Parts for..."

Finally if you had missed all of those scam indicators, you have the telltale smoking gun, a demand for payment via a "wire transfer". We'll tell you right now no one, and we mean no one, but the scammers use the phrase 'wire transfer'.

We'll Play Your Game
We got such as laugh from the Cobra motor ad that we had to pursue it to see how far this jackass would try to go. Here is the email transcript. It doesn't take but the first reply back to confirm all of our suspicions of a fraud artist at work. We toyed with him for the better part of a day, and finally duped him into revealing his IP address. Tracing that back we discovered he is likely operating out of Australia. Since he gave us his bank info, we took the liberty to notify his bank. They are investigating the account.



FM wrote:
Hi,
I am interested in your cobra engine. Can you tell me more - any engine damage or problems?
thanks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 10:14 AM
To: FM
Subject: Re: cobra engine

Hello,
Thanks for your interested, My engine is not problem or damage. condition is good, and do you still interested with my engine? I will be happy to sale this engine for you.
So what do you think?

Let Me Know Soon,
Thank You

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
Yes i would like to purchase the engine. Where is it located, I can pick it up today with my truck. I have cash on hand.

Thanks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 11:34 AM
To: FM
Subject: RE: cobra engine


Hello FM,
Thanks for your reply, My location in Singapore,
And i can only accept wire transfer for the payment method.No with the other payment.
i will be happy selling this engine to you,and i can ship this engine to your adress Via UPS International Priority Service, after the payment clear.
So what do you think?
Do you still intersted with my engine?
Email Me Back Soon

Thank You

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
Ok, well I kind of need the motor by next Friday since we want to get the car running by that Saturday. We're building up a 99 GT but with the Cobra motor and nitrous for drag racing. Do you think 11's are capable? What sort of ET's did you run with the car in Singapore?

Anyway let me know where to arrange the payment, my bank doesnt charge me for wire transfers so I should save $50 or so. Also, give me your name and address so I can list that for Payee.

thanks


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 11:53 AM
To: FM
Subject: RE: cobra engine


Hello FM,
Thanks for your reply,I think 11's is capable for drag racing. and my sort of ET's can run with my car in Singapore. but i can only accept wire transfer for the payment method.
And I will ship this engine to you,but if the payment has been clear, cause i am afraid and i don't want make lose my engine.
if you accept my payment method,i will give you my bank account details.
So What Do You Think?
Let Me Know Soon,

Thank You


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
Ok I'm open to payment methods, let me know so I can do it by 4pm today, then I will be on vacation until Sunday.

thanks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 1:00 PM
To: FM
Subject: RE: cobra engine


Hello FM,

This is my bank account if details :
---------------------
Bank Name : Lippo Bank
Account number : 516.10.42321.2
Full name : Simon Herlambang
swift code : LIPBIDJA
Address : Jl. Merdeka No. 52
Bandung 40117
Telp: 062--022-4200258
Country : Singapore

I hope you can wire the money from your bank as soon as possible, and don't forget to give me a scann approved from your bank, As evidence that you sent your money to my bank.

PS : Please Give Me your adress details..!!!

Please Email Me Back Soon,If you have been wire the money to my bank account.
I am waiting your responds.

Thank You


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
hey Simon!
Ok done! My local BofA branch has transferred $5000 to the account listed below. They indicated the branch is closed right now (what time is it in your part of the world?) So the debit wont post to my account until later tonight. No big deal.
Hey so how did you get a 04 Cobra in singapore? Are you military?

thanks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 1:39 PM
To: FM
Subject: RE: cobra engine

Hello FM,

Do you have wire the money to my bank account?
Please give me, the scan of your wire transfer ....
So i can make a shippment as soon as i confirmed your payment with my bank
Several previous months was that sold engine this to me.
because I this a seller, then I carried out the sale engine this to another person.I ma not a military.
Please let me know your shipping address
With your contact phone number

Best Regards

------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:

Hey Simon,
Ok here is the confirmation page from my bank i dont know how to send you a scan, i dont have scanners.
docs.bofa.com/accts/1294229450a232/FM/payments/scan0505/

thanks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Miqdad Of Oi! [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 2:36 PM
To: FM
Subject: RE: cobra engine


Hello FM,

Could you give me a perfect link?
and please give me your adress details, so i will ship it out to your adress as soon as possible.So i will give you the tracking number as soon as possible.


Thank You
Simon Herlambang


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
Simon,
Please ship the engine properly crated to:

1965 Galaxie St.
Dearborn, MI 46230
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hello FM,
Thank you i will ship this engine as soon as possible and give you the tracking number, but when i will get the money from your bank?
please email me back soon,

Thank You
Simon Herlambang


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FM wrote:
Simon,

You're a jack ass. Thanks for clicking the false link above, we logged your IP as 202.155.114.91 and traced it. Your bank has been notified of your fraud attempt. Please send the motor as soon as possible we still want it.

thanks

In This Article:
The web has become a great place for automotive enthusiasts to buy and sell new andused parts. In fact, it's one of the largesst categories on sites like eBay. As a result the hucksters, cheats and scammers have brought a new twist to the old Nigerian Prince email scams.


 


















Buy and Sell Smart
Ten Tips on how to avoid being scammed on internet parts sales.
Pass up ads wanting payments by money transfer only. Never ever give your bank info.
Avoid buyers and sellers listing from overseas, especially if the parts are obtainable here.
Always look at the other persons referrals or ratings. No ratings means a newbie and high probability of a scammer.
Test the other party. See if they can answer questions pertaining to the part they are selling or wanting to buy.
Ask for a name, address and phone number. Unwillingness to provide this info is a bad sign. Call the person when negotiating high value items.
Look for inconsistencies. Does the ad say one thing but the email say another?
Set your risk limits. At what dollar amount do you go COD? What amount do you simply not transact with a person you don't know?
Keep looking. There aren't many parts out there for which only one exists in the world. Same goes for buyers, more will come along. A few extra bucks is worth it if the transaction seems reputable.
Use Google. Enter the email address or name of the buyer/seller. You'll be surprised to find they are a well recognized fraud.
Go with your gut. If the deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.








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