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New scam targets car sellers online

Friday 21 May 2010 6:01 p.m.

By Simon Shepherd

People selling their cars online are being warned about a new scam that appears to be based in Malaysia.

As soon as the car is listed you get an offer that is too good to refuse, but you should.

As soon as Mandy Hall listed her Mitsubishi on a TradeMe classified she got a bite.

“The next day I got a text from a random number with weird country code asking me to email them I did,” explains Ms Hall.

So started the negotiations with a "Kelly Rose" from Malaysia who said she was "presently on business trip and could not come over to check it out". But "I am please with the price".

The price was $5000 and "Kelly Rose" wanted to ship the car to Malaysia.

She said she had put the money plus $2000 in shipping fees into the secure internet payment service Paypal.

“From the beginning I was a little bit suspicious,” says Ms Hall. “I thought why would someone from Malaysia want to buy a car in New Zealand.”

This is where the scam becomes clear.

Mandy received an email supposedly from Paypal saying it has the money for her car, plus the extra shipping fees.

But it would not release it until she paid $2000 of shipping fees up front via Western Union money transfer.

TradeMe says if Ms Hall had done that, the money would be gone.

“If you are sending money over Western Union to someone that you don’t know as a result of an internet auction site, it is highly likely that it is a scam and you should not do it,” says Chris Budget of TradeMe.

However, the scammers are persistent - even threatening to report you to the authorities if you don't pay up.

“I called Paypal. They said no that’s not us and said could I send it to their fraud department, so I did that,” explains Ms Hall.

3 News tried to ring "Kelly Rose" in Malaysia. Unsurprisingly, no one answered.

Meanwhile, Ms Hall has re-listed her car. But this time, local buyers only please.

3 News

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