The latest CL scam: "VIN Reports"....

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ZappBranigan, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    I assume others are getting these too. I saw them for 4 wheeled vehicles as long ago as 2013 but only recently have I seen them pop up for motorcycles as well.

    For those not familiar, it works like this: You post your bike for sale and you get a response. If they're stupid or lazy, they'll hit you with the pitch in the first reply, something like this:

    "Hi, I saw your bike for sale on Craigslist. It looks exactly like what I am looking for. One thing, though, I really need to make sure the bike has a clean history and has never been wrecked. I recommend you run a report at [insert no-name VIN history web site here]. It only costs $20 which is half the cost of the more popular VIN history reports (they mean Carfax but probably don't want to say it because they don't want to attract the attention of the Carfax legal team.)

    Most people delete these right away, so now they get a little crafty: They try to lead you on first so you'll believe it's actually a legit reply to your ad. Here's the one I just got from someone who purports to be an "Adam Tallent:"


    "Hello,
    I saw the ad about the bike, it looks really nice, and I’m interested in it. Could I maybe come to see the bike in person? Also, do you have a history report that you could send to me? Is there maybe some wiggle room on the price?

    Hope to hear from you soon! Adam."

    The part about seeing the bike in person and asking if there is "wiggle room" on the price are cleverly intended to let me believe this is a real response (since that's what a real person might ask.) The part about the "vehicle history report" is buried in between the two other comments. Slick!

    I knew right away that it was a scam but I was intrigued to see this level of persistence and wondered when he would hit me with the sales pitch, so I responded:

    "I have the service records from the previous owner but no vehicle history report but I'm not going to get a vehicle history report on a 15 year old motorcycle. It is what it is, if you're serious, then send me an email and I'll let you know when you can come look at it. "

    Numbnuts hit me with the sales pitch on the SECOND response:

    "Thanks for the additional info. The thing is I have a really long drive to you so i want to make sure everything is fine with the bike, before I come. That's why I asked for the report..Would it be possible to send me bike history report from (actual address removed).com because my mechanic told me to ask for that one"

    Ah, but this one has a hint of desperation:

    "and since I asked for it, I will repay you money for it when i come to look at the bike. If you send me the report and if everything is ok, I could come on Saturday so we can discuss about the price and get everything done. "

    So this dirtbag is even offering to pay for my VIN inspection - AFTER I get it, of course!

    MMM hmmmm.....yeah, I'll get right on that, "Adam." :csm

    I would hope most people are smart enough not to fall for this. And I assume that the web site they direct you to either straight up steals your credit card info or gives you publicly available information and socks you for $20 (and then probably sells your CC information to a 3rd party to rip you off.)

    Still, wanted to put it out there - in this case we need to modify the old saying and say "Let the SELLER beware!" :beer

    EDIT: After thinking it over I sent "adam" another email: I said "Why don't I just email you the VIN number and then you can run as many reports as you want?"
    #1
  2. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    It never stops
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  3. khager

    khager Long timer

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    Usually I can spot a scammer by either thier grammar or choice of words.

    Although English may be the native language in Nigeria, they still don't have it down. Much better than Asians though.
    #3
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  4. D R

    D R Been here awhile

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    How does the Nigerian Prince figure into this?

    :scratch
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  5. IndigoSouthpaw

    IndigoSouthpaw Adventurer

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    I've always wanted to find a way to figure out what template those fake vehicle report sites use for their reports and then make my own copy of it just to send to the scam artists.
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  6. JBSmith

    JBSmith Ink-stained wretch

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    I had a guy nosing around a bike I'm selling. A couple of emails asking about history, condition, but nothing definite enough to show he'd read the ad or was at all familiar with the bike I was selling. I wrote back and said, "If you have any actual questions, send them. If you're one of those scammers who's going to ask me to get a VIN report from some bogus website, don't bother answering this."

    Never heard back after that.
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  7. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Never pay to make money.
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  8. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Or one could just tell them to order their own VIN report if it's that important to them.
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  9. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    Ha! That's exactly what I did. Here's the response I got:

    "I am sorry but i can not get report for someones else bike because you know the condition of your bike better then i do, if something is not fine, we wont make the deal and then i do not have any use from that report. If everything is as good as you say it is i will refund you money for it once i come to see the bike and make a deal with you. Hope you understand that."

    So I responded:

    "That doesn't make sense at all to me. You're the one who wants the report, not me, so I'm happy to send you the VIN and you can run the report if you want it. You've already offered to reimburse me for the cost of running the report, so how is this different?

    I'll give you another option though: You can just send me the $20 via PayPal and I'll run the report and forward it to you. " :D
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  10. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    I have to admit, I admire numbnuts Adam Tallent's persistence. He must really need this sale. :jack

    OTOH he doesn't come across as being too bright. I think any other similar scammer would have been able to determine from my responses that I was already on to him.
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  11. khager

    khager Long timer

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    When I am looking for a used car, I typically buy the unlimited checks for 30 days used to be $50 vs. $20 for a single report thru autocheck a carfax competitor, but I see that has doubled now and it is $100 and you are limited to 300 reports in 21 days or a 25 report package for $50 in 21 days, which should still be plenty for somebody shopping for a used vehicle.

    Then if i am really interested in a vehicle, i ask for the V.I.N. At that time a lot of people will either give me a run around, or fess up and say well it does have a salvage title BUT all the damage was cosmetic (read bent frame) and I had it professionally repaired (read my brother in law Billy Bob fixed it in his back yard) this being after they previously told me in a prior email or conversation that it had a clean title.

    Or they are professing to be an individual that has owned the car and they are actually a dealer or an individual with a dealer license and they just bought it at a dealer auction.

    So needless to say I run a V I N check before i leave the house, eliminates over 90% of wasted trips looking at vehicles, that are misrepresented, I have even found a couple of flood damaged cars this way, but mostly wrecked salvage vehicles. Saved way more time and money than the service cost me.

    I will also run my own vehicles, at that time, and if I sell one of them within a few years, I can offer somebody a history up till that point.
    #11
  12. runpet

    runpet Been here awhile

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  13. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Nope....probably a dealer /salesman. Fishing for leads
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  14. statsman

    statsman Long timer

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    I have the VIN report from the state DMV. It covers all owners since the motorcycle was new.
    When you come to inspect the motorcycle, I will show it to you.
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  15. sloryder

    sloryder Been here awhile

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  16. patmo

    patmo Long timer

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    Last thing I heard on that was that it was done intentionally........the thought process is that if someone is willing to overlook the broken English, then they know they have a real live one on the hook and will use all of their efforts to real that one in.
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  17. JCool

    JCool Long timer

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    Spelling too. :imaposer
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  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    Single photo, short description with little useful detail - Of course it's not right.

    The thing that amazes me is the number of people who will continue to pursue a purchase or sale, with all the warning signs there, "just in case its' not a scam." If it looks in any way suspicious, click "prohibited" to report it and then forget about it. Don't engage with the other person AT ALL.
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  19. khager

    khager Long timer

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  20. JCool

    JCool Long timer

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    :fpalm Do you guys always wear your tinfoil hats or do you take them off when hiding under your bed ? :loco
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