Beware of Scammers and Thieves

Beware of Scammers and Thieves

By SkaterVet

April 12, 2017

3 months ago

You may or may not realize, but there are scammers and thieves trolling pinball websites trying to steal your money. 

I have been eagerly searching for a 1990 Bally Radical pinball. I exhausted all resources on Pinside posting a want ad and contacting all listed owners and asking if they'd be interested in selling their machine.  No luck.  

I then listed a want ad on another pin web site.  A few days later I received a response from "Ben Douglas"' claiming to be from Connecticut.  I asked him to send me pictures of his machine including one with a piece of paper with my name written on it and placed on the machine.  The paper looked photo shopped and I immediately recognized the machine from the sale archives on PinSide.   So, I asked for a little history on the machine.  He claimed his dad bought it 10 years ago and it has been in  his possession for the last five years after his dad died.

I then sent him the Pinside link from the sale of the machine with the identical pictures to the ones he sent me and asked him for his thoughts on this machine that was sold 1.5 years ago out of Oregon. 

Of course, I received no response.   Since then, I have received two other offers to purchase Radical and both of these offers have been written in grammatically incorrect English. I have received no reply after asking for pictures with the glass off and a piece of paper with my name on it placed on top of the playfield. 

Long story short, buyer beware. Do not be shy about asking for additional information.  I for one, will not be placing anymore want ads on sites other than Pinside. Thank goodness for the Pinside sale archives or I might have fallen victim. 

Story photos

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3 months ago
If you're going to photoshop a rectangle sitting on another rectangle might want to match perspective! Glad you avoided disaster. Thanks for sharing
3 months ago
Good story- and I thought the exact same thing about the paper being out of perspective. Hilarious.
3 months ago
Thank you for telling your story!
It is very sad how much this is going on. The last few months we have been looking at used RVs and have ran into nothing but scams and liars. Very disheartening about the world we live in. We eventually gave up looking on websites and sites like Craigslist and bought from a dealership.
3 months ago
That was a smart move on your part. Well played, sir.
89 days ago
Keep searching for a Radical.It is a very under rated game.
I have owned two and it is the only pin , I have always hung on too.
Great game and very hard to get hold of.

Good luck with search.
88 days ago
I get scammers wanting to buy my games too with the old "I will send you the cashiers check" routine. Glad you did not bite on the game. I for one will not buy a game site unseen anymore.
88 days ago
Good Catch. It is especially easy to get conned when you are emotionally involved and want something bad enough.

A few years back I was searching for a 69 Beetle from my childhood. I hadn't said much about what I was looking for on that particular website, but someone did their homework and offered me something that sounded like exactly what I wanted.

From what I can gather he found another website where I was talking about my childhood big and was able to turn it into an ad of exactly what I was looking for. He slipped up when he mentioned a particular mod that only I and a few others had ever done and I knew he was pulled the data from one of my past posts on another website.

Keep up the faith. There are still some good people out there. Particularly on this site.

87 days ago
Great story man. Glad you caught on and didn't fall for it. My girlfriend and I came close to falling for a scam awhile back. We have been hunting for a VW bus for years now and I found an add for a decently priced bus. It wasn't a steal by any means but it was a great deal. The pictures that were sent looked legit until something caught my eye. I noticed that the mountains in the far distances didn't look to be on the east coast (which is where the ad was posted). When I asked more about the bus the guy just sent me a link for payment. The link was to an Ebay payment site which could look legit to someone who has never used Ebay. Once I saw that I realized what was going on and just messed with the guy. I feel bad for anyone who falls for these scams, they are getting more elaborate than the old "I'm a prince" email scam.
87 days ago
It's a shame that some people would fall for these scams.
Good luck in your search!
82 days ago
You asked about mine, and then you passed. The ''no luck'' was on your part. It's a stupid hard game to find nowadays, took me 8 years to find another.
82 days ago
I've had fairly good luck with WTB ads. Sorry to hear that there were scammers wasting your time.

Radical is a hard game to find. I don't think I've seen one for sale at a show in my area in a few years. You might have to pay above market price for one in order to shake it loose from someone's collection.
82 days ago
Thanks for the tip. I'm happy to pay a bit over market for a great Radical. I have come across a couple for sale, but it is very tough to find them without cracked ramps - which is a deal breaker for me unless someone starts reproducing them.
78 days ago
Google reverse image search is always a good resource if you are suspicious.
I suspect the poor grammar and photoshop is to quickly weed out switched on people.
74 days ago
That is terrible. Glad you figured that out. Did you get him kicked from Pinside?
74 days ago
He found me on a different pin site.
71 days ago
I was offered the Cashiers Check scam a while ago. I told him I'd gladly take his "check" as long as he came again IN PERSON to buy the game, and we would need to take this check to my bank, then as long as my banker said it was valid, I'd be happy to take it! He said no, he was "on a job" (ripping people off in sure) and wouldn't be able to come in person. Finally I replied maybe we should just meet at the police station near my house and we could get to whole thing sorted out!
71 days ago
That is a fantastic story. Classic!
63 days ago
Thanks for sharing your story, it might help others avoid scammers.

I purchased my wife's engagement ring...a Sopranos pinball machine in 2009 from a guy who advertised it on eBay and sold out of Mahwah, New Jersey. When I purchased it from him, he was operating with dignity and respect. I have since heard that he is now operating with less dignity, truthfulness and respect. As soon as I recall his eBay name, I will share it here to help others avoid being scammed.

I am very new here, but does this website have a page where we, the users, can report unscrupulous sellers and scammers thereby protecting our fellow collectors. Thank you for sharing your story SkaterVet, it inspired me to share my story.
62 days ago
If that individual is on Pinside, there is a feed back page where you can rate them.
57 days ago
Had a similar problem with a co-worker. Long story short he found a rental house for 600.00 a month all utilities included. I had to laugh and told him to email me the picture from the ad. I did a Google image search and that same picture showed up on over 20 other craigslist rental listings all over the US. He still wanted to send this guy the 1st month and deposit. I told him he was an idiot and we should at least drive by the location. We drive there and there is a for sale sign in the yard but the house didn't match the picture. He still was like, "maybe he just posted the wrong picture he said he had multiple properties" I said fine, you get it and I don't want to hear crap when your out 1200 bucks and still have to find a place to live. He ended up calling the realtor and found out it was a scam. I told him if he would have went through with it he deserved to be scammed. lol
55 days ago
I have a quick question, I'm looking to buy my first pin and it's been 4+ months of striking out for me here in Houston so I'm looking to maybe ship something in.
I used to buy and sell collectibles of a different kind and we always paypal friend and family, my question is how do you deal with payment long distance, and is there a feedback thread where I can find some good sellers?
53 days ago
Unfortunately, I've never bought a pin without seeing it first. I have wrapped my head around the idea that I will likely need to buy a Radical sight unseen because there are not any in my area. Certainly eBay and PayPal provide an added layer of protection, but ultimately it is going to come down to a bit of trust. Having the seller take pictures that are specific to your request can at least prove that he has the machine. Whether he ships it or not once he has your money is a different story. A picture of their driver's license also goes a long way. Good luck and buyer beware!
If they are on Pinside, you can check their feedback and sales history for any red flags.
50 days ago
The Violinman, I just recently bought my first pin (a Sega Goldeneye) and while there was a lot to choose from finding someone local saved me a ton on shipping costs. I was also able to go look at the machine first before buying (he had it set up in a local bar) - because he was a distributor of local arcade games he already had the truck and tools to move the unit and I was able to pay via credit card (in case anything went wrong I could dispute the charge with the card company but that's just a worst case scenario) even though he charged me an extra 3 percent for using the card that was good for peace of mind. And then he delivered it to my home for just $100 on top... It's safer buying locally as far as being able to not only tell the condition, but if it's a legitimate sale at all. Just my two cents... plus it was a lot lower cost without the cross-country shipping.
50 days ago
Congrats on the first pin purchase and thanks for the thoughts. Yes, that is the absolute ideal way to buy a pin. The challenge is when you are looking for a specific or rare pin and there just aren't any in your area. As a society we have become comfortable with on line and mail ordering. But, with products like pins, there are some thieves that have realized that these are fairly big ticket items, but not so big that anyone would hire an attorney to chase them down.

The search continues....
34 days ago
Wow what a story, some people are complete idiots... Glad you found out he was fake before you did business with him. I've never seen an example like this, but I have seen some people advertising "perfect" or "mint" machines that happened to be in bad shape..
32 days ago

The infamous Tom Grizzard here in Georgia has a $4200 Radical listed on Atl. Craigslist. He probably has the game in his shop, but dealing with this psycho, is as bad or worse than dealing with a scammer! LOL.

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