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Got scammed, bigtime...

Hi Guys,

i have mostly been a reader here on the pelican, not so much of a poster. Mostly because i became a porsche enthusiast about two years ago and at first, there is still so much to learn rather than to teach...

Anyway, i got myself up in a situation where i thought i might start a thread over here. Maybe rather than trying to get a solution, this may prevent the scammer from making other victims who read this. Here's the deal, described very briefly.

I'm from Europe and have bought my previous Porsche through craigslist. While i had someone who wanted to buy that car from me a few weeks ago, i decided it was time for something else. Last sunday, i found this 1981 911SC on craigslist: silver over black car, sports seats, second owner since 1983, 160xxx miles, about 30k of invoices... Anyway, a very nice car at a very reasonable price, yet not as cheap as the typical scam. I got in touch with the seller who name himself Stewart Diamond, living in Round Rock, Texas. I had a 10 minute chat with him and when i came to the point that i told him i was willing to buy, he said he didn't prefer selling overseas since he didn't want to wait for the money and he would be selling it locally since there seemed to be plenty of interest. The next day, on monday, i called him again to see whether the car had been sold. It didn't so i asked him again if he wasn't interested in selling to me, saying that the money would be there by the end of the week. He agreed but seemed a bit reluctant. Immediately after having sent the payment i told him i would send him a payment confirmation the next day. Again he said he didn't like who this went, saying that i could cancel the transaction and he would sell it locally. I called again for a few minutes and he agreed again. On tuesday i emailed him the confirmation but never received a reply. From then on he didn't reply to my messages/phone calls either. Friday morning i called and the phone rang but no response. 3 hours later, the phone number is no longer reachable... I tried al kinds of stuff at that point: my bank, the police, bank of america, seemed like noone is capable of taking any counter actions...

I'm sober enough to see the money is probably gone by now. The only thing i which i haven't done yet, is to try and file a claim in America, as i was advertised to do so by a fellow pelican whom i have been in touch with. For me, it looks like the end of my particular Porsche dream but hopefully others will read this and be extra carefull when it comes to this stuff. I have been buying online for years from all over the world, never had any serious issues before. I guess that is what made me fall for this...

At this point i'm still not very sure if the scammer was a pro or someone who couldn't resist the seduction. In case of the second part he might have actually sold the car locally and scammed me. If so, the VIN of the car was WP0AA0911BS120135 and any info about this vin is more than welcome.

Best regards,
Robin

Old 05-16-2015, 08:31 AM
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I'm sorry to hear of this situation and of your apparent loss.

As I read through your post, I began to conclude the same thing as you finally stated in your last paragraph--he sold it locally and kept your money. His reluctance to sell overseas is not typical of a pro scammer as is his being "pressured" to sell to you against his will. This is just my take. Given that, the name he used is likely his true identity and it may be possible to locate him. Whether or not any resolution may come from that is another story.

The information about him and the VIN is helpful for others, sadly at your expense.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:45 AM
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Try these guys.

FBI — The Internet Crime Complaint Center
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:49 AM
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Did you get any kind of bill of sale, even an email or text message, showing that he received your payment? Do you have a signed cashier's check, wire transfer confirmation, or anything like that? Unless you mailed an envelope of cash it should not be too hard to track down this guy.

Unfortunately he may never have even had/owned the car so the VIN may be a dead-end. Same with the phone number which may have been a "burner" cell phone.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:54 AM
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I just googled "Stuart Diamond, Round Rock, Texas" and got a hit on a whitepages site. Coincidence? I don't think so. No hits for "Stewart Diamond."

Good luck
Larry
Old 05-16-2015, 09:12 AM
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How did you pay him?

Maybe look for a local private detective, it's worth a few bucks. The guy is likely still around, he left a trail of some sort.

Start with the VIN and see if the car ever belonged to the guy...and if he just sold it locally.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:00 AM
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Got scammed, bigtime...

Damn sorry this happened to you. I'd love to sell my SC overseas so I know I'd never see it around anymore. Id get melancholy for sure.

The overseas sale seems really complicated for both parties.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:52 AM
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Hey guys, thanks for being responsive. It won't bring anything back but it's just nice to see...
I answer to your questions, remarks:

ossiblue: i hope we're both right because in that case, he might actually still be traced.
GWN7: thanks for that lead, i had actually already filed a claim there, after receiving that link from the FBI which i had sent an email
campbellcj: the only correspance i have had with the 'seller' occured through phone. I have spoken with him and we exchanged text messages. That stopped after having sent the payment, or better said, he stopped responding after that. I'm not sure what you mean by that wire transfer confirmation but i do have a print screen with all the relevant data on and a copy of the payment order which i signed at my bank. Other than that, i'm afraid i have nothing...
LWJ: Yes, i found that same lead on friday but it didn't make me any wiser.
1990C4S: i used a wire transfer from my local bank account directly to his at the bank of America. Although unknown terrain to me, I might try that local private detective if i managed to find a good one.

Thanks all!
Old 05-16-2015, 10:58 AM
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Vash: to be honest, the overseas sale isn't complicated at all. I've bought through ebay.com before also and in both cases, the sale went flawless. Although the second car had many flaws which hadn't been described by the seller, i took that as the risk of buying this way. In this case i had the money sent on tuesday and by the end of thursday or friday it must have been on his account. Especially while i payed extra duties to have the payment marked as urgent. I have mentionned it here before in some thread i believe: the risk is actually at the buyer's side, which is once again confirmed... The problem i have here is that thursday and friday were holiday and so i didn't manage to get in touch with my bank on time to see if there is anything they could do. I spoke to a supervisor at the bank of america for about an hour. Gave her his account number, all my data but in the end she told me she couldn't do anything for me. I was hoping she could have the amount i transferred blocked but apparently she couldn't. It almost felt like if they support this kind of crime...
Old 05-16-2015, 11:05 AM
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Damn outlaw. Best of luck.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:17 AM
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Does anyone think there might be a correlation between Smokey Sales and the 911 which was marketed here? I have no idea myself, just tossing the idea around.

It impressed me how our members here could identify the Smokey ads, I sure couldn't.

Best of luck Robin.
Old 05-16-2015, 11:36 AM
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Too late for Outlaw, but escrow people. Pay a local lawyer if necessary. These remote transactions are high risk. For all we know the seller was a scammer in Russia...
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:40 AM
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Contact his bank that received the wire immediately and report the fraud/theft. If he used a false identity to open the bank account then that's probably another felony. I'd also ask your bank if they can help but that seems less likely.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:58 PM
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I'm on my mobile so I can't check, but someone should run Stuart Diamond through the Williamson County tax office and see if he owns a place over there. If there are no hits try Travis County since Round Rock is on the border. This could get you a physical address.

Texas does not have vehicle property tax so you can't use the tax assessor's website to see if he actually owned the car.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbellcj View Post
Contact his bank that received the wire immediately and report the fraud/theft. If he used a false identity to open the bank account then that's probably another felony. I'd also ask your bank if they can help but that seems less likely.
Yes.

Banks have all sorts of federal national identification checking procedures to open any bank account in the USA.

If that bank account was opened fraudulently, someone along that chain of command should be legally culpable.
Maybe the bank itself.
Old 05-16-2015, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba Steve View Post
I'm on my mobile so I can't check, but someone should run Stuart Diamond through the Williamson County tax office and see if he owns a place over there. If there are no hits try Travis County since Round Rock is on the border. This could get you a physical address.

Texas does not have vehicle property tax so you can't use the tax assessor's website to see if he actually owned the car.
On it.

Property Tax Search

Not Stewart Diamond but Larry Diamond and STEWART G SWERDLOW.

Hmm, Stewart claims to have been abducted by military officials posing as extra terrestrials who experimented on him due to his psychic abilities.

Stewart seems to be a bit of a nutjob.

He has some youtube videos so if you spoke to him maybe you recognize the voice.

https://www.youtube.com/user/stewartswerdlow
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:45 PM
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Did you try running the phone number through Google? Even if it's now disconnected, there may some hints.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:43 PM
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The bank is not your best friend in this situation. I have heard of banks keeping funds "frozen" for many, many months (a pal sent nearly $30K to Smokey Auto Sales months ago and still hadn't gotten the money back last I spoke with him - although he was able to stop the transfer).

These guys are sophisticated. The psychology of seeming reluctant to accept money from the buyer is a way of making the scammer seem less so. "Burner" phones with numbers they can drop after the transaction is done; that's a key part of the scam.

Chances are, no names or addresses suggested by the 'seller' are in any way related to the seller.

This seems like a big industry as there have been many many listings of '65 911s for $8000 on Craigslist in multiple locations, as well as other underpriced cars (the Smokey SWT, for another instance). Lest one thinks it's limited to Porsches, there's a guy purportedly in Colorado advertising an Audi A3 for under $3K at the moment - but only listing in in Southern California - over 1000 miles away. Wonder how many times he's "sold" that one?

One of the great benefits of this community is that you can ask for help from a local - almost anywhere in the world, and many Pelicanheads are eager to help. Just today, I had help in Texas to check out a car. Worth asking.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:24 PM
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Checking on what Scott found, there is an automotive shop near the house of the same name. It might be possible there is a relation. I know the area well as I was a sales rep for the shop, but can't recall much other than the feeling that some shady stuff goes on there. It's more or less a compound, multiple shops, with a bunch of hacked up cars everywhere.

More than likely, I'll be headed that way during the week, and will run by the shop and the house.
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:32 AM
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I might not be very responsive today since i just got home from the baby shower for my newborn son and within an hour i have to leave again for the baptism of my godchild. Only one week ago i thought i would have experienced this day with a different feeling...
I'm just saying this so that noone would think i'm not apprectiating the input given here, it's just that i have a very busy day today while my mind is going at 110%. In reply to:

Jim2: i'm not aware of the smokey sales thing yet but I have been able to see through scams before. I have 'unmasked' this scammer 'mike tammi draughn' before and if i remember correct, i had even put a thread up here on the pelican to aware people. I hate to say it but it's pretty ironic that i'm the one who got scammed now...
campbellcj: like i wrote in post 9 in this thread, that's exactly what i did on friday. I gave one of the supervisors from the bank of america all the info necessary but after about an hour on the phone i had to setlle with a polite: "i'm sorry Sir, but there's not much i can do"... Before she told me that, i had high hopes because in my eyes, they were the only ones who were actually able to do something at that point.
john70t: i'm not sure in understand this correct but if i do, i don't believe i will be accusing the bank for not seeing this scammer used a false identity. Is that really an option in the US?
Scuba Steve & stomachmonkey: this stewart guy sure looks like he's missing a nut and would be able to pull a trick like this. On the other hand, i'm not sure he sounds exactly like the guy i spoke. Could be but could be not even so. I surely don't to be blaming someone who isn't guilty. Thanks for the effort!
LeeH: i did. I ended up at 'reverse phone' who supposedly had one hit for me. Of course, i needed to register and when i did, nothing came up... I found nothing else. The number he used was 512-417-1092
He also gave me an email address but he never responded to that so i'm not sure if it is his. I didn't end up receiving a 'failure delivery notification' so it should be an existing email address. It was sdemon530@yahoo.com
I pointed out the demon part at first but he told me 'not to worry. Sdemon stands for speeddemon and there wasn't any evil intent'. It sounded plausible but afterwards it sounds ridiculous...
techweenie: true that as i've noticed so. I already would have been happy if they had actually frozen the money i had wired but even that was too much to ask. A significant price difference with market value should ring a bell immediately but this one wasn't actually. I wish i would have tried to buy that audi A3 before and got scammed. That probably wouldn't have make me fall for this and would have saved me an awful lot of money... Looking back, i should have tried to ask for help here to maybe have someone check the car out but i never had done so before and it went smooth those times. This brings us to the presumably most thought of sentence at this point: if i had only...

I'll be passing at my bank tomorrow. This will probably be more of a necessary step to follow than a step towards a real solution. If it is, i'm buying drinks... Thanks for the help guys, it's a small plaster on a larger wound but i appreciate it!

Old 05-17-2015, 05:11 AM
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