I try to keep an eye out for a project TZ machine for my son (13) and me to work on together. TZ just has a special place in my house from episode marathons to the tower of terror at Disney - lots of memories. So a machine pops up on Mr. Pinball classifieds and the description reads like someone with real experience and who knows the machine. I reach out for more information and pictures. He ("Mark Crawford") replies with a bunch of images. I use a couple of reverse image searches to see if I can find them on the web and I cannot. I ask a few questions about how he got the machine and why he is selling it and it all makes sense. So I tell him we have a deal and he provides paypal info.
This is where it got a little crazy as the paypal name was very bazzar. Instead of "Mark Crawford" it was "Zimasa Mati", which was an international account. I ask him about it and he says he sells auto parts international on eBay with a partner and it is his partners account. I don't buy it and go quiet for a day. He texts wanting to know if we have a deal and says that he has it all packaged and ready for shipping. I ask for photos and he sends me one. I do a generic search for pinball on pallet and I find the image. So I call him out and he says it was a mistake and that he sent that photo to his shipping guy to show him how he wanted it wrapped and then sent me another photo. I cannot find this one on the web. But I ask him to confirm where the pin is and he says Maine. But the image of the packaged item has palm trees in the distance outside the garage.
So I dig more and I find out that the whole description and the images came from a post from this site (which sadly I missed out on) https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/for-sale-project-twilight-zone. So I call the guy out on the whole mess and he of course has gone radio silent.
But I was close to pulling the trigger and it got thinking, what do YOU do to verify machines not on pinside?
PS - hit me up with all those TZ project machines in the future - LOL