1966 Corvette Roadster - $16,000 - Ex. Cond. - Pics - MUST SELL

This is the photo commonly used in these ads
It's unlikely the above classified headline wouldn't trigger a click through by anyone who loves Classics or is an automotive enthusiast. We mean, who wouldn't, considering a similar Corvette in decent shape could easily fetch $35,000 to $70,000. So much for the power of words, eh? Unfortunately, it's one of the newest and most widespread forms of fraud sweeping the country.

You may recall a retired couple decided to buy a Classic Mustang after reading a similar Craigslist ad about a year ago. Their quest to own an affordable Classic ended in tragedy, both found slain in their SUV, submerged in a nearby lake.

More recently we reported the results a team of localized scammers received after getting caught. Yes they were incarcerated, but not until an unknown number of people lost nearly $150,000.  According to reliable sources, what we are reporting on today is far more widespread and equally devious.

Just Google "1966 Corvette Roadster $16,000 gmail"
The same car is being advertised across the US by one or more people using different Gmail addresses in each listing. You will also find the ad on a large group of sites. According to sources, the car does not exist. It is also unlikely it is the only Classic being exploited in a similar manner. 

Don't Kill The Messenger
Advertising companies can’t screen every ad in an attempt to detect fraud. Nor can the restrict an ad based on a hunch it's "too good to be true". They can only prohibit or remove ads that are an outright violation of the law, such as ads with offensive or discriminatory language. But, if you do come across a similar ad and have concern, there is no harm in contacting the advertising host to alert them. Many times the ad is listed using a stolen credit card, so they could also get scammed too.

Don't Yield to Temptation, It Will Bite You in the A**
The temptation lays in the opportunity to score a great buy, very quickly and profit from the exchange the same way we see it happen on popular Classic car TV shows. While we probably don't need to remind you, those shows are all staged. No one is going drive around aimlessly with a film crew hoping to find a cheap Classic just sitting on the side of the road.
Here's a quick rundown of the scam process based on the research of noted attorney Steve Lehto:
  • You can try, but these scammers will never answer the phone. But they do get to record your phone number as a "missed call".
  • They want you to communicate with them by email.
  • If the scam is run by a small group or individual, they'll use a variety of different area codes to make it seem they aren’t far away.
  • You will be told the car is within driving distance, but not too close. Another ploy to get your money, you won't be tempted to wait to pay.
  • They’ll say they have other interested parties, but if you wire a $4,000 deposit, they’ll hold it for you.
  • And they will promise if you don't like the car when you see it, you’ll get you your deposit back.
See it, Touch it, Drive it, Inspect it BEFORE You Buy it
People have become comfortable with buying online and sight unseen. That’s fine for small-ticket items. But not cars. They are something you must absolutely check out in person before paying a dime. And you should have a mechanic and/or professional appraiser look it over. It’s too much money for you not to be careful regardless if it seems like a good deal or not.

Here are a few related articles from our library of over 900 quality posts. Visit the ARCHIVE to read them all:

How To Save Time, Money & Anxiety When Buying A Classic
Growing Demand For Affordable Classics
Buyers and Sellers Beware