Rip off Email Red Flags

My Brother Darren is shopping for a Motorcycle. Outside of the fact that it scares me to think of him on a crotch rocket I am helping him look. We found a bike last night that he emailed someone about. Below is the Message that Darren sent and the response that he got back. The response set off all of my “This dude it trying to rip me off senses” And I figured that I would post it as an example of what to look out for in Emails when shopping online. I highlighted all of the areas that are red flags to me in different colours and I will explain why these are red flags to me below the message. As you can see there is not much that is did not setup my rip-off senses

From: David Hudson <[email protected]>
Date: February 24, 2009 8:35:48 AM PST
To: Darren Miller
Subject: Re: #2006# Suzuki GSX-R 600)


The bike is still for sale, never been dropped or abused and I have a clear title on my name. The price I’m asking for the bike is $3,000.00. I already have tons of emails so I hope you understand that I need to sort them out.
I will take in consideration only those buyers who are really interested in buying the bike, to be sure that I don’t waste my time with endless discussions.

For more pictures see the link below:

If you decide to buy it I can make a private auction just for you on eBay so you can purchase it there. That way you will receive assistance for the purchase, paperwork, title transfer and an extended warranty. They also are guaranteeing purchases up to 50.000 so we will both be protected.

Thank you for your time,

From: Darren Miller
To: “[email protected]” <sale[email protected]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:48:05 AM
Subject: #2006# Suzuki GSX-R 600 – Title In Hand – $3000 (Thurston)

Interested what’s a number to call to set up a time to look at it

Darren Miller

I order from top to bottom here are the things that stood out to me:

  • The message subject changed   The sender removed – Title in Had – $3000 (Thurston from the subject and he removed the Craigslist address in the TO line. Alone this is not a bad thing, but when you add it all up makes me feel more uneasy with this message
  • Clean Title   Maybe this guy was burned before and he is overly cautious, but what this tells me is that something is wrong here. You normally don’t add in so many comments to “protect” or “make you feel safe” unless you need too for some reason because you are hiding something. If you count the subject line this seller has mentioned Twice the he has “clear title in hand” without being asked. – it’s great that you say that have the title, can you prove that you do?
  • I have tons of emails   This is a common sales tactic to make people feel like they need to fight for the item. It is meant to make my brother feel that if he does not act quickly that he will not be able to buy this. Most internet sellers from private party are not going to use pushy sales tactics.
  • Only looking for interested buys, don’t waste my time   Again this is a great sales tactic to make my brother feel a need to buy this bike and prove that he has the money for this guy to steal from him. In dating this called playing hard to get..
  • Pictures are great   Pictures of the bike for sale are great but there are a few things missing and odd about how they are posted. 1. They are in a photobucket with the guys name in it and they are the only photos posted. I guess this could be true, but if you use your name as your account why don’t you have any personal pictures. 2. The one picture of the bike that shows the plate has an out of state license. I guess he could have moved, but that makes me wonder even more about the bike; especially with the next item in the list.
  • Private Ebay Auction   This bike is for sale on craigslist, why would we want to involve Ebay? Why would this guy not want me to come get the bike with cash? Ebay charges for auctions, most craigslist people don’t want to have to pay money for anything. This was a huge red flag for me. Nowhere in his email does he mention coming to look at the bike he heads right to making my brother feel compelled to buy it now, and send him money.
  • Assistance with paperwork etc   It is news to me that Ebay does Title transfer and paper work. If I come to your house I can see the title we can change it over there if you have it in hand as you say. It is very simple to change title. It is only one piece of paper and about 5 lines to fill out. Why do I need a warrantee? Why are you trying to make me feel safe again the more you make me feel safe the more I want to hunt you down and beat you for trying to rip me off.
  • Ebay Guarantees purchases   While Ebay does do this, it still sets off my sense because the seller is again trying to make me feel save and protected. It even mentions that is somehow protects him when It does not protect him at all.

The bottom line, be careful when buying anything on the internet from a private party and read between the lines. I wonder how much money the average guy who tries to rip people off like this makes.


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