(Topic ID: 250612)

How Do You Avoid a Scam?


By pinhead_jack

43 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 38 days ago by V4Vendetta
  • No one calls this topic a favorite

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    #1 43 days ago

    Hey Pinsiders,

    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?

    Thanks

    PS - hit me up with all those TZ project machines in the future - LOL

    #2 43 days ago

    Tough one to find as a project. Best of luck.

    #3 43 days ago

    If you’re ever in doubt and think something could be a scam- don’t do the deal. Plenty of great pinsiders that you can deal with. Work with people with positive feedback

    10
    #5 43 days ago

    Be very cautious with someone that has no established reputation. Most scammers have no reputation and no online presence, except for maybe a few meaningless posts.

    It's hard for a "cash on the glass" deal to go wrong, so try to stick to deals where you can actually get to the game.

    Scamming usually involves someone who says they have a game they can ship but then disappears once they have your money.

    Never do paypal friends & family on a deal like that. It's impossible to get your money back. Use an escrow service, or the goods & services option with a credit card. Wire transfers are also impossible to undo.

    One thing you can do is say that you have a friend/relative in the area who can check it out on your behalf. A scammer will become incredibly evasive and even change locations.

    Even if you don't actually know someone in that area, you can always ask in the community here if someone can check out a game for you. Plenty of people have done this for remote deals.

    You could also ask to do for a video chat. It's hard to fake a live video, though that doesn't discount the possibility of a cut and run scam. That just proves there's a game sitting somewhere.

    As for project games, especially WPC, they are getting harder and harder to find since everybody is restoring the ones that are still salvagable.

    #6 43 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead_jack:

    Hey Pinsiders,
    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?
    Thanks
    PS - hit me up with all those TZ project machines in the future - LOL

    Glad you did your research! The fellow on Pinside called that out and reported it on Mr. Pinball but alas, scams still make it through. If anything seems fishy then don’t do the deal, never give them info and wise choice to reverse image search. Also hop on Pinside since they love stealing our pictures so much. The scammers are usually idiots running off a script, once you can get things to deviate from their script they breakdown FAST.

    Call them and ask to speak in person. That’s the easiest way to call someone out on their bullshit! It takes a skilled thief to makeup convincing lies on the spot, and these scammers are not skilled thieves, if they were they’d be out doing a different scam that’s way more lucrative and requires less input.

    #7 43 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead_jack:

    what do YOU do to verify machines not on pinside?

    I go look at them.

    #8 43 days ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Quoted from pinhead_jack:
    what do YOU do to verify machines not on pinside?

    I go look at them.

    I have never purchased a pin in my life without going and looking at it, I worked too hard for that money.

    It goes both ways, when I sell a pin it has to be you come here and see it and play it and cash on the glass if you are happy. Selling a pin you can get ripped off just as fast as buying a pin.

    Only thing I will ever buy sight unseen is maybe a $10 dvd on Amazon.

    #9 43 days ago

    I've shipped in a bunch from other members here for nice examples or rare ones that don't show up around here.

    But I'm at the end of my rope with this shipping business, like I've rolled the dice one too many times and my luck is running out.

    #10 43 days ago

    How to avoid a scam - don't buy anything lol. Basically don't buy anything you can't physically look at first but if you choose to ignore that advice then BY GOD use a CREDIT CARD. One phone call and they will get your money back.
    ALWAYS expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed is what I've found. Some people just don't know their asses from a hole in the ground. They aren't lying - they just don't know any better which is frustrating as hell. "Yep, everything works". When you finally get it you find out everything is just worn out, missing parts - hell I had a pin show up with a missing board - but was told it was all in working order. That was pretty shocking to say the least. lol

    #11 42 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead_jack:

    But I was close to pulling the trigger and it got thinking, what do YOU do to verify machines not on pinside?

    Did you ever talk to him on the phone? Most of these scammers are as obvious as colored-GI if you just talk some pinball to them. Try it, it's fun.

    Or if you're chicken to use the phone, conflate a problem from a different game:

    How's the sanctum wear on that TZ?

    Teehee...

    #12 42 days ago

    As stated earlier, always go see the game personally before paying.

    Trust your intuition, if something feels off then back away from the deal. Its not worth all the hassle and frustration.

    One guy was selling an indy for a nice price. When I mentioned I lived only a one hour drive away and wanted to see it in person he suddenly said he indeed lived there but the pin were in another city further away at his parents and wanted to ship it. Could be true but seemed weird to me so I just called it off. Pretty sure that saved me problems.

    #13 42 days ago

    Don't buy from Choggard

    #14 42 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    Be very cautious with someone that has no established reputation. Most scammers have no reputation and no online presence, except for maybe a few meaningless posts.
    It's hard for a "cash on the glass" deal to go wrong, so try to stick to deals where you can actually get to the game.
    Scamming usually involves someone who says they have a game they can ship but then disappears once they have your money.
    Never do paypal friends & family on a deal like that. It's impossible to get your money back. Use an escrow service, or the goods & services option with a credit card. Wire transfers are also impossible to undo.
    One thing you can do is say that you have a friend/relative in the area who can check it out on your behalf. A scammer will become incredibly evasive and even change locations.
    Even if you don't actually know someone in that area, you can always ask in the community here if someone can check out a game for you. Plenty of people have done this for remote deals.
    You could also ask to do for a video chat. It's hard to fake a live video, though that doesn't discount the possibility of a cut and run scam. That just proves there's a game sitting somewhere.
    As for project games, especially WPC, they are getting harder and harder to find since everybody is restoring the ones that are still salvagable.

    sadly, even a "Good reputation" doesn't mean someone won't scam you. I dealt with a Pinsider last year with a "Good Reputation" on here and he scammed me and seemed to feel no remorse at all for being a total tool in the deal. You have to assume everyone is out to scam you and watch your back on all deals unless its someone you really know well.

    #15 42 days ago

    Mr. Pinball is plagued with scammers....by the way.....that website sucks now....

    #16 42 days ago

    The only pin I bought off a Mr. Pinball ad was local, so I saw it and paid cash. I’ve always gone to see the pin first. I even drove to Delaware and back in 24 hours from the Detroit area to see and purchase a pin. I just feel better seeing it first, as I have all the pins I've bought.

    #17 42 days ago

    By the way, I wouldn’t recommend the 24-hour trip, the last hour was tough.

    #18 42 days ago

    Nothing wrong with Mr.Pinball, just another resource for collectors. Bought my 1st pin from there, cash and carry of course!!

    #19 42 days ago
    Quoted from Jousley:

    sadly, even a "Good reputation" doesn't mean someone won't scam you. I dealt with a Pinsider last year with a "Good Reputation" on here and he scammed me and seemed to feel no remorse at all for being a total tool in the deal. You have to assume everyone is out to scam you and watch your back on all deals unless its someone you really know well.

    Its your business, but did you post about it or start a thread here to warn others? Those good reputations stay "good" when others are silent.

    #21 41 days ago

    I love that there is a vid guide for damn near everything you could want to know.

    Thank you vid for all your contributions to the community over the years!

    #22 41 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead_jack:

    Hey Pinsiders,
    I try to keep an eye out for a project TZ machine for my son... what do YOU do to verify machines not on pinside?

    Inspect all games in person, cash only, and pick the game up. Basically CASH AND CARRY.

    The same rule if your selling a game usually.

    #23 41 days ago

    Warning to everyone:

    The scammers are getting incredibly sophisticated. They have had some success in the pinball hobby (several people have lost money to scammers) so they are all over it with learning our lingo and everything else. They are almost assuredly reading this thread and every “tell” you guys mention here they will address and fix. Discussing them makes them even better.

    As forceflow says, a personal inspection and cash on the glass is the only way to trusty be safe. Doing business on the internet with faceless people is dangerous. Scammers know how to work the system to get verified, never depend on a verified account. Be careful on the internet and if a deal sounds to good to be true it probably is. Everyone deals with people at their own risk, be a sophisticated buyer and never send money friends and family to anyone who isn’t actually your friend or family member.

    #24 41 days ago

    Don't pre-order.

    #25 41 days ago
    Quoted from pinhead_jack:

    I love that there is a vid guide for damn near everything you could want to know.
    Thank you vid for all your contributions to the community over the years!

    It's too bad that he gave up on Pinside.

    #26 40 days ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    The scammers are getting incredibly sophisticated. They have had some success in the pinball hobby (several people have lost money to scammers)

    Including right here on pinside.

    Just come up with a dream theme some just have to have, and human nature takes care of the rest.

    #27 38 days ago
    Quoted from Jousley:

    sadly, even a "Good reputation" doesn't mean someone won't scam you. I dealt with a Pinsider last year with a "Good Reputation" on here and he scammed me and seemed to feel no remorse at all for being a total tool in the deal. You have to assume everyone is out to scam you and watch your back on all deals unless its someone you really know well.

    who is this pinsider whom you speak of? I would like to know so I don't ever deal with that person.

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