Internet Scams: A Blow By Blow Account of a Truck Selling Scam

January 24, 2011

Ron Kelley aka Ron Edwards "Truck for Sale" Scam

At Trucker to Trucker we hate liars and thieves, but unfortunately we run across one every now again. Recently we had a scammer trying to use the T2T board to run a con on our unsuspecting customers. We want to share this with you so you know what to look for and to protect yourself whenever you are online, and not just on Trucker to Trucker.

The scam works like this:

Step 1 - The grafter will register an ad for a truck or piece of equipment – either on T2T or some other "for sale" site. You come along and express an interest in it - the following is an email we sent to a suspected scammer found on our site – "Ron Kelley" is the fake identity used by this particular piece of c$@p:

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2010 10:08:48 -0500 > From: > To: ron.kelley@hotmail.com > Subject: TruckerToTrucker.com - Listing# 113487 2003 Ford F350 > > > The following person has chosen to contact you in regard to an equipment listing you placed on TruckerToTrucker.com! > > TruckerToTrucker.com - Listing# 113487 2003 Ford F350 > > Name: Tom > Email: > Phone: > > Listing: http://www.truckertotrucker.com/listings/113487.cfm > > Message: I want to buy this truck, is it still for sale?

Step 2 of the scam will be to tell you the item is still for sale and how simple it is for you to pay for it plus how do you want it shipped:

On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 7:34 PM, Ron Kelley <ron.kelley@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hello, Thank you for your E-mail ! The truck is still for sale.It has a clean title,159,200 miles,very well maintained,no exterior damages and no mechanical problems,i don't smoke,no leaks,brakes are 80% left,oil was changed 500miles ago.The A/C blow ice cold, and the heat works fine.I'm asking $5500 for it,not negotiable.I have to sell this truck as fast as I can because in three weeks I will be in Afghanistan and I think I'll stay there for a while that's why I'm selling it so cheap.Currently I'm in Naval Air Station Pensacola,FL and the truck is here with me.I can ship for free within US if you want to buy it.Let me know what you decide ASAP. You'll love this truck, I can guarantee you that! Thank you.

Step 3 is to get you to pay for the item:

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM, Ron Kelley <ron.kelley@hotmail.com> wrote:

Payment in cash for local pick up or I can ship the truck to you.The shipping isn't a problem. I can do it for a low cost which is included in the price($5500) because I will use military transport for shipping. You will receive the truck along with all the documents. As for the payment I can start a transaction through AutoTrader. All I need is your full name and address so i can contact them and after that they will contact you regarding this purchase. I am waiting your e-mail. Thank you.

Now at this point, if you continue with the deal and wire the money there is one thing we can guarantee you:

Your money is gone and there ain't no truck!

So how do you protect yourself against this type of fraud?

A lot of this is really common sense. If it sounds too good to be true – it is.

We have a complete section on the Trucker to Trucker site dealing with fraud so check it out, but you can also use this anti-fraud checklist too:

  1. Is the item listed way below market value? If so, take extra precautionary steps to verify the seller's claims;

  2. Establish where the buyer is – US laws rarely applies to buyers overseas and is almost impossible to use overseas – do not part with items until the money is secured;

  3. Always use an escrow service wherever possible and always when you suspect the seller – fraudsters will almost always say "No" to this;

  4. Verify the payment has been made, and that means making sure money orders, wire transfers and cashier checks are all good before you release the item;

  5. Check the bona fides of the seller – this means making sure the seller's name, address and contact information is correct and truthful – fraudsters will usually come up with some excuse about not using their own telephone number or address or a "friend" is handling the cash part of the deal;

  6. Use credit cards whenever possible because you will get fraud protection built-in and can dispute the charge (this does not apply to debit cards so be clear which one you are using first);

  7. Verify the seller has proper title and documentation to evidence ownership of the item, such as title documents, VIN number and registration;

  8. Verify the seller actually has physical possession of the item – get them to send you photographs with today's newspaper in the picture or some other information which could only be provided by someone with physical possession of the item; and

  9. Finally – if in doubt, bail out and contact us with the information you have so we can take our own action to protect other customers.

A scammer which appears to be associated with our Ron Kelley is Ronald Edwards and he sends a business identity card to would-be marks to gain their trust that he is who he says he is:

We did several things with our "Ron" - we asked him for a telephone number and this is the reply we got:

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 6:13 PM, Ron Kelley <ron.kelley@hotmail.com> wrote:

Im in a special program and Im not allowed to use the phone.The best way to contact me is via E-mail .

Remember our "Ron" is supposed to be in the military at Pensacola AFB in Florida!

We also checked the spelling and syntax of "Ron's" email:

"I don`t know how Cars.com work.", and "Are you still interested to buy the truck ?? "

By now we're questioning whether English really is Ron's first language, and remember this is "Ron Kelley" who would have to be the most Anglicized-sounding Hispanic in the country if "Ron" was then to claim he was Spanish-speaking.

Using a secure payment service, which includes an escrow service will provide you with a degree of protection. Under no circumstances should you pay using Western Union or similar service – a WU payment can be encashed anywhere in the world as long as the other person has the Money Control Number and id. By anywhere, we mean places like Nigeria, Russia or India. Plus you have absolutely NO recourse.

The Autotrader Thread we used to Smoke Out our Scammer

Ad Title: 2003 Ford F-350 XLT 4X4 Ad number: 3288330 Miles: 159,000

Seller: Ron Kelley (ron.kelley@hotmail.com) Buyer:

Ad price: US$ 5.500.00 Shipping Fee: Shipping is included in the price Amount insured: US$ 5.500.00


Total amount: US$ 5.500.00 Payment: Pending... Inspection period: 5 days

Complete your AutoTrader.com transaction in 5 easy steps


-Buyer and seller agree on the transaction terms and a selling price. -Seller contacts AutoTrader.com with the transaction details, AutoTrader.com accepts the transaction and offers purchase protection to the buyer. -The buyer sends payment and the seller receives it. After the payment was received, the seller must notify AutoTrader.com. -Buyer will send the payment details directly to the seller . The seller has three business days to send the buyer and AutoTrader.com the tracking number of the shipment. If no tracking number is provided, a full refund is immediately sent to the buyer. Buyer receives the vehicle and has five days to inspect it. If it is complete and as described, the buyer should accept the vehicle. If he refuses the vehicle, the buyer must ship the vehicle back to the seller within three business days. -After the inspection period is over, the buyer must contact AutoTrader.com with the result of the inspection. If the buyer refuses the vehicle, the refund will be sent to the buyer after the tracking number for the returned shipment is verified.

Take Away...

"Don't Use Western Union For Vehicle Transactions" "Auto Trader Does Not Clear Transactions" "Yahoo Finance Does Not Clear Transactions"

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