(Topic ID: 210578)

Watch out for scammers!


By TigerLaw

1 year ago



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  • 84 posts
  • 46 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by tamoore
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    37
    #1 1 year ago

    Just a friendly public service reminder, be careful with your money. Watch out for scammers. Do not use PayPal friends and family for people you do not know.

    There was reportedly another victim of a scammer on Facebook. This one allegedly sent $5,100 via PayPal friends and family and has lost it. The person who allegedly scammed them had a US phone number, reportedly fake Facebook account, and photos of the machine they baited their alleged victim with.

    Be careful everyone, the scammers smell blood in the water in our hobby and they believe we pinheads are good targets. They will only increase their efforts and focus to try and deprive you of your money. They will start sounding more and more sophisticated as they learn the ins and outs of our hobby more. Do not trust people you meet online. Be a prudent steward of your money.

    #2 1 year ago

    Also be sure to take a look at this thread:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/how-to-not-get-ripped-off-in-pinball-vids-guide/

    There's a lot of good info there to help explain how some of the scams work and how to detect/avoid them.

    Buying (or selling) a game remotely is always going to carry some amount of risk.

    Part of the reason that these scams have been working so well is that there is some pressure to act fast to avoid missing out on a deal. Unfortunately, that sometimes leads to rash decisions. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is--so be cautious.

    Since there are Pinsiders everywhere, some members have been checking for anyone who might be nearby to where the game is being sold and asking them if they would be willing to do a spot inspection to make sure the game exists and the condition is about what is actually described.

    Mr Pinball maintains a blacklist, so be sure to check there for known scammers or aliases:
    http://user.xmission.com/~daina/known_scammers.html

    #3 1 year ago

    Unless you absolutely know for certain that the person is a legitimate seller, always make sure your payment is backed by a credit card. PayPal with a credit card is the safest, since you are doubly protected. Ideally, have the seller send you a PayPal invoice with the specifics of the transaction listed. Another thing you can do is offer to go through an escrow service. If they refuse, then they are probably not legit.

    14
    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    always make sure your payment is backed by a credit card. PayPal with a credit card is the safest

    download (resized).jpg

    #5 1 year ago

    Like Odin said cash on the glass.

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from Gunnut40:

    Like Odin said, cash on the glass.

    Obviously, buying the game in person is always the best option, but some people don't live in areas where a wide variety of titles are readily available. My point was simply that there is a safe way, and a not so safe way to purchase a game sight unseen.

    #7 1 year ago

    I'll use "friends and family" to send money to someone I actually know. It's free if you use your bank account. Not a member of Facebook. No interest.

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    Obviously, buying the game in person is always the best option, but some people don't live in areas where a wide variety of titles are readily available. My point was simply that there is a safe way, and a not so safe way to purchase a game sight unseen.

    One thing I recommend is if you are buying a game across the country, ask a Pinsider who lives in the area where the game is being sold to go check it out for you. It helps you learn more about the condition and you know the seller actually has the game. If the Pinsider gets weird vibes from him he can let you know.

    Of course, nothing is perfect and you could always get scooped by the guy who goes and looks at the game for you. That would suck...

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    There was reportedly another victim of a scammer on Facebook. This one allegedly sent $5,100 via PayPal friends and family and has lost it. The person who allegedly scammed them had a US phone number, reportedly fake Facebook account, and photos of the machine they baited their alleged victim with.

    Ugh. That story made my stomach churn.

    Escrow.com, baby.

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from gweempose:

    Obviously, buying the game in person is always the best option, but some people don't live in areas where a wide variety of titles are readily available. My point was simply that there is a safe way, and a not so safe way to purchase a game sight unseen.

    I'd rather not purchase anything sight unseen. Cash on the glass, road trip(to place the cash on the glass), or patience. And if you live in Pinball Siberia in the USA, maybe just VP.

    #11 1 year ago

    Wasn't the same person that scammed the $5100 for the MET mentioned here in a thread? Went by two different names. Can't find either the FB thread or the one here.

    #12 1 year ago

    One thing I'll add is that a pattern I'm noticing lately is the scammers will say they are with the military in some way shape or form. Like they will say they are stationed somewhere on duty, with the reserves, ex military, etc, they try and make some association with military service. Almost every scammer that has contacted me has played this angle lately. Not sure why this is suddenly a thing, but it's yet another red flag to add to the mix.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    One thing I'll add is that a pattern I'm noticing lately is the scammers will say they are with the military in some way shape or form. Like they will say they are stationed somewhere on duty, with the reserves, ex military, etc, they try and make some association with military service. Almost every scammer that has contacted me has played this angle lately. Not sure why this is suddenly a thing, but it's yet another red flag to add to the mix.

    That sucks...

    #14 1 year ago

    Sounds like Pinside should start an escrow service specifically for buying pins.

    #15 1 year ago

    Sounds like we need Kowalski to deliver the pins to us. Do the deal, load it up, get there in 24 hours.

    #16 1 year ago

    You have to assume everyone is a thief these days, Scammers are thieves so lets call them that.

    #17 1 year ago

    why doesn't someone start up a "buying service" where they are paid per mile to go see the game (regardless of the outcome) and can be trusted to deliver it to the buyer as well? Right now you have to trust the shipper AND the seller, but could be handled by one trusted service if done properly it seems.

    #18 1 year ago

    Of course, cash is person is best in an ideal world. However, for us folks in small markets, buying machines through PayPal and shipping is often the realty. I typically only look on Pinside, will only contact people that have had accounts for over a year (and check their posting history). Once a potential deal is lined up, usually through PMs or text, I like to Facetime (or atleast call) the person to see their game live. I always use my Amex through PayPal, and don't use the friends/family option (I pay the fee for the seller). I also notate in PayPal exactly what I am purchasing, and that once the machine is picked up for shipping (which I arrange) the seller is no longer responsible and the machine is sold as-is.

    It's probably not a perfect system, but it's the best I can usually do without driving 5-10 hours one way. The games I have bought from Pinside typically end up in better condition than even described.

    #19 1 year ago

    Had 3 attempts here on pinside in the last few months. Last one did not know what a postal money order was. Lol.

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from zh2oson:

    Ugh. That story made my stomach churn.
    Escrow.com, baby.

    Wire transfer works.

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from chad:

    Wire transfer works.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/how-to-not-get-ripped-off-in-pinball-vids-guide. Even a wire transfer has me leery after reading vids guide.

    Quoted from Parzival:

    I typically only look on Pinside, will only contact people that have had accounts for over a year (and check their posting history).

    Reputation factors pretty heavily for me also.

    #22 1 year ago

    If I'm not willing to drive there... or you're not willing to meet me halfway then the game is not for me.

    I drove 14hrs to get my Williams IJ.

    That being said I did have one game shipped but it was from a highly trusted person whom I've met in person.

    #23 1 year ago
    Quoted from davjoszie:

    I'd rather not purchase anything sight unseen. Cash on the glass, road trip (to place the cash on the glass), or patience. And if you live in Pinball Siberia in the USA, maybe just VP.

    I live in a big market where there are machines aplenty, and yet I've still had a few games shipped to me. I would never do it with a common game like TZ or MET, but some games are just hard to find. It's not like there are a ton of HUO Airbornes or Safe Crackers floating around locally.

    Quoted from Parzival:

    Once a potential deal is lined up, usually through PMs or text, I like to Facetime (or atleast call) the person to see their game live.

    This is key! You should always talk to the person on the phone before agreeing to purchase the game. You can tell right away if they are a true pinhead, or if they are just feeding you a bunch of bullshit.

    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    One thing I'll add is that a pattern I'm noticing lately is the scammers will say they are with the military in some way shape or form. Like they will say they are stationed somewhere on duty, with the reserves, ex military, etc, they try and make some association with military service. Almost every scammer that has contacted me has played this angle lately. Not sure why this is suddenly a thing, but it's yet another red flag to add to the mix.

    I'm pretty sure they use this as an excuse so that you can't come look at the game or send someone to look at it for you. "Sorry, it's in storage, and I'm currently stationed in Guam". Obviously, this makes no sense, and you should immediately stop dealing with the person. In fact, if a seller ever refuses to let you or someone else come and see the actual game for any reason, you should immediately call off the deal.

    #24 1 year ago

    I hope everyone is aware how easy it is to do an image search on Google in order to ascertain whether a "seller" is actually a scammer using stolen pics.

    #25 1 year ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    I hope everyone is aware how easy it is to do an image search on Google in order to ascertain whether a "seller" is actually a scammer using stolen pics.

    While hits in a reverse image search do usually indicate a scammer, the lack of hits doesn't automatically mean they are legit. Sometimes scammers use images that haven't been posted in a public space that google indexes/crawls.

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    I hope everyone is aware how easy it is to do an image search on Google in order to ascertain whether a "seller" is actually a scammer using stolen pics.

    How do you do it?

    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    While hits in a reverse image search do usually indicate a scammer, the lack of hits doesn't automatically mean they are legit. Sometimes scammers use images that haven't been posted in a public space that google indexes/crawls.

    This. I remember one thread here someone mentioned that a scammer asked them for high res pictures of their machine that later got used in a craigslist scam attempt or something like that. It isn’t that hard to get unique images. So while reverse search is a great tool it isn’t the end all either.

    I hate to say this and sound like a know it all because I’m not - but every scamming story I’ve heard so far had at least ONE major red flag and two or three things the person scammed did wrong to put themselves in danger. KLOV is full of threads with people who paid friends and family to strangers and got ripped off and I assume for every thread we read there are 4-5 more where people were too embarrassed to talk about what happened.

    You can lead a horse to water and talk about escrow services or diligence or PayPal protection etc but some people just need to learn the hard way in life. It is too bad and I feel for them but you can’t save everyone from themselves.

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    How do you do it?

    In chrome, just right click the image and click "search google for images".

    There is also a firefox plugin that adds that same feature.

    You can also go to https://images.google.com, click the camera icon to "search for images", and either upload the image or paste the link.

    #29 1 year ago

    Thanks for responding before I could, saved me some time! Good job too.

    Yep, just one piece of the puzzle. Not hard to crop a pic to make it "different" but these lowlifes rarely bother. Seems like the obvious ones usually have easily found swiped pics. If they don't even realize when they post or send pics of obviously different examples all purporting to be the one for sale...

    #30 1 year ago

    Spring is here the weasels are coming out of their proverbial holes! lol

    #31 1 year ago

    If anyone has a pin they would like me to go take a look at for them in the Pittsburgh area, I'd be more than happy to. No fee, just pay it forward!

    #32 1 year ago

    I have an idea -

    Have the person who is selling the game make a short video of the game and video some of his (the seller's) personal information.

    Suppose the seller put a piece of paper with your name on it on the game, and then made a video of it and then walked outside and verified his street address.

    How could anyone fake that?

    A scammer is going to post photos of a game he doesn't own, and use a fake address. There's no way to make the scam work with a real game at a real house with a verified address.

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    While hits in a reverse image search do usually indicate a scammer, the lack of hits doesn't automatically mean they are legit. Sometimes scammers use images that haven't been posted in a public space that google indexes/crawls.

    A guy could run a scam with a machine he actually owns.

    So he can get all the pictures he needs.

    You could set up a fake account, say that the game is in Hawaii when it's really in Michigan.

    Take the money and then disappear.

    You could even buy an expensive game, scam someone and then sell the game legitimately.

    The key to avoiding a scam is to establish that both the game and the person selling it are "real".

    Obviously, if you pick the game up in person and pay face to face, then you have nothing to worry about.

    If you can't do that, then you need to use some other verification method. Like having the seller make a quick video.

    #34 1 year ago

    Sometimes there will be a thread like this on various collector forums, some guy will say, "I aint using no escrow service, blah blah blah."

    That's fine. Don't do it if you don't want to.

    But if I cannot verify that the seller and the item are legitimate, then I will absolutely not send money.

    If you send money to some stranger 1000 miles away on the basis of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, then don't cry when you get burned.

    Because scamming is a big thing now and you will get zero point zero help from the police.

    One time I bought a $3500 item off of the internet, sent the money, no response from the seller.

    Months went by. No response. Nobody would do a thing. Post office could not have cared less.

    Finally, the item arrives out of the blue. Turns out the seller was in a massive car wreck and was laid up in the hospital the whole time.

    That experience taught me that when you get burned, there is NOBODY to help you. You are simply screwed.

    Sure it ended up OK, but if it hadn't, I would have kissed that money goodbye.

    #35 1 year ago

    I had a scammer contact me during a recent search for Big Game. Initial email sounded educated and reasonable... had a video of gameplay and bunch of photos attached.

    I responded but didn’t hear back for 2 days (which raised a red flag). So, I requested additional pictures, which, upon inspection, were obviously from different machines.

    So, I decided to have some fun and see how far the scammer would push it: I asked some totally outlandish questions using fake part names... and the guy responded by answering using the fake part names and bragging about how he installed them.

    Kind of funny/sad... pretty sure it was a response to a Pinball Classifieds Post.

    The person’s email IP was somewhere in Kansas... but was claiming he lives in northern North Carolina. I’m sure it’s possible they were outside of the US.

    #36 1 year ago

    I do not deal with paypal, only wire transfer and bank cashier's check. I always talk to the person on the phone and ask for up to date photos. I once bought a machine from a guy who just bought a home and the machine came with it. He knew nothing and could not even take off the glass. The deal felt like it was too good to be true , so I had him take pictures of himself with the machine and a current newspaper . I then did a background check on him and knew everything about him. It freaked him out when I told him where his wife works, I explained to him that I wanted to make sure it was not a scam, he understood. Do your own due diligence, talk to people in person, get up to date photos, don't deal with Paypal, try and have someone local look at it first. Scammers suck!

    #37 1 year ago

    I know this thread is more about money transfer scams, and I know Pinside has done (some) measures to eliminate spam postings on here, but holy hell, how have we not made a minimum post # required before you can place a FS ad?

    Say 25 posts. Then when they go to post the ad, anyone can see what their 25 posts were and if they trying to circumvent the rules with junk posts or whatnot. Some spammers won’t even want to go through the effort. Two ways from one solution to weed these out.

    There are still FS ads from new members with 1-2 posts, quite a few seem too good to be true, and then they disappear. How we still allow that in 2018 makes exactly 0.0% sense to me.

    #38 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    I know this thread is more about money transfer scams, and I know Pinside has done (some) measures to eliminate spam postings on here, but holy hell, how have we not made a minimum post # required before you can place a FS ad?
    Say 25 posts. Then when they go to post the ad, anyone can see what their 25 posts were and if they trying to circumvent the rules with junk posts or whatnot. Some spammers won’t even want to go through the effort. Two ways from one solution to weed these out.
    There are still FS ads from new members with 1-2 posts, quite a few seem too good to be true, and then they disappear. How we still allow that in 2018 makes exactly 0.0% sense to me.

    While I think your point is valid - people who send PayPal gift for items aren’t the type of people who would read through 25 posts and check how legitimate a buyer is. People who do that tend to fall for the “send money quick on this killer deal before someone else gets it”. People often just don’t think (or admit later they ignored a lot of warning signs).

    #39 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    I know this thread is more about money transfer scams, and I know Pinside has done (some) measures to eliminate spam postings on here, but holy hell, how have we not made a minimum post # required before you can place a FS ad?
    Say 25 posts. Then when they go to post the ad, anyone can see what their 25 posts were and if they trying to circumvent the rules with junk posts or whatnot. Some spammers won’t even want to go through the effort. Two ways from one solution to weed these out.
    There are still FS ads from new members with 1-2 posts, quite a few seem too good to be true, and then they disappear. How we still allow that in 2018 makes exactly 0.0% sense to me.

    I can recall several legitimate sellers who only joined the site for the purpose of unloading a game they somehow acquired. Some of those sellers never came back after a sale, and a few ended up returning later at some point.

    It's impossible to protect every single person from every single scam. Each person still has to use their head, apply common sense, be aware that scamming does happen, and be familiar with some of the methods/techniques that are typically used during the course of a scam.

    We do try our best to keep an eye on ads that go up in our regions, investigate reports when submitted by members, and try to educate members to the possibilities of scams. Robin has implemented several features on the site to help with detection, warnings, and prevention. But, it's a perpetual cat-and-mouse game. Scammers are fairly determined when they find out they can make some fast cash by just sending a few messages and posting a few photos.

    #40 1 year ago

    Escrow.com is best out of town option.
    Even good people can sometimes go bad when tempted.

    #41 1 year ago

    So I just got this in response to my email about a Dialed In LE on Mr. Pinball.

    Thanks for contacting me, this is a HUO Dialed In LE
    Looks and plays brand new, low plays and perfect condition. It has the latest software and the full Cliffy protectors installed on the phone scoop hole, SIM card hole and inlanes.

    I added a new Chrome Candy shooter rod to match the beautiful blue powder coated armor. LE has Invisiglass, shaker, blue powder coat armor and ramp lighting. Comes with the limited edition Dialed In Comic Book and the printed manual once available.

    What makes this game so special is you never get tired passing the ball around from flipper to flipper non-stop flow. Left Ramp, Right Ramp, Left Loop, Side Ramp the whirlwind combo. Simultaneously one of the funnest and most challenging pinball machines ever built. Designed by legendary designer Pat Lawlor. Pat's other smash hits include Earthshaker, Whirlwind, Fun House, Road Show, Twilight Zone and the most successful pinball machine of all time The Adams Family. Many Lawlor trademarks are included in this game like the light trails first seen in the Wizard Blocks whitewoods, the ubiquitous Pat Lawlor scoop, animated robot, a hidden trap door and subway system.

    Dialed In is loaded with Pinball firsts including a camera, facial recognition software, holographic theater, bluetooth connectivity (you can play with your smart phone), 3 drones (the props actually spin), 5 magnets, 3 flippers, external volume control, numbered plaque. This game is absolutely stunning. The light show alone makes this game one of a kind.

    The integration of the theme, graphics, audio, video, RGB LEDs throughout and game play combine to make this game stand out among its peers. Quality made in the USA by american craftsmen at Jersey Jack Pinball this game will stand the test of time and continue to be a sought after machine long after many other popular franchise theme games are forgotten. This is the ultimate players game. Simple to learn and a lifetime to master. The Twilight Zone for today.

    I have a guy who works with a truck company here. Email your zip code and I'll get a price to ship.

    Thanks

    #42 1 year ago

    The ad I responded to was in Kansas City. Looks like he copied an ad posted on Pinside in January by pinsider fnosm in California. All the pictures in the email are direct copies from that ad.

    Darn.

    #43 1 year ago
    Quoted from cheshirefilms:

    Even good people can sometimes go bad when tempted.

    Then they really weren't so good then, were they?

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    One thing I'll add is that a pattern I'm noticing lately is the scammers will say they are with the military in some way shape or form. Like they will say they are stationed somewhere on duty, with the reserves, ex military, etc, they try and make some association with military service. Almost every scammer that has contacted me has played this angle lately. Not sure why this is suddenly a thing, but it's yet another red flag to add to the mix.

    Big red flag right there. Ppl in military normally can't afford expensive pinball machines LMFAO!

    #45 1 year ago
    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    One thing I'll add is that a pattern I'm noticing lately is the scammers will say they are with the military in some way shape or form. Like they will say they are stationed somewhere on duty, with the reserves, ex military, etc, they try and make some association with military service. Almost every scammer that has contacted me has played this angle lately. Not sure why this is suddenly a thing, but it's yet another red flag to add to the mix.

    Simply the excuse of why they can't be local... yet still interested in your machine.

    The filter is really easy... always say "the game is available for you to come and inspect" - that usually flushes out the "oh I can't be there myself" lines..

    #46 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    I know this thread is more about money transfer scams, and I know Pinside has done (some) measures to eliminate spam postings on here, but holy hell, how have we not made a minimum post # required before you can place a FS ad?
    Say 25 posts. Then when they go to post the ad, anyone can see what their 25 posts were and if they trying to circumvent the rules with junk posts or whatnot. Some spammers won’t even want to go through the effort. Two ways from one solution to weed these out.
    There are still FS ads from new members with 1-2 posts, quite a few seem too good to be true, and then they disappear. How we still allow that in 2018 makes exactly 0.0% sense to me.

    As a forum/BBS admin for decades... these types of filters generally hurt more than they help. They help to reduce the drive-by link scammers - but tend to block legit posters more than they help prevent scammer type posts.

    #47 1 year ago

    It’s so hard to protect your self these days. It’s one of the reasons we don’t buy games that are not local. But selling games you run into the same risk. We have a flat no PayPal policy because the scammers all like it. When something dosnt feel right. I ask more questions and if I can’t get past it I let the deal go.

    JJ

    #48 1 year ago

    I just wanted to make some people aware of a new scam I just experienced from Craigslist:

    I’m selling a game, and I receive this string of texts:

    027D2D6D-4AFA-4592-8642-90E72EA204E9 (resized).png

    Between the first set of question marks and the second set of question marks, I receive this message from Craigslist’s legitimate texting service:

    E0E02966-96D4-4FD8-AFD9-390D49514BC7 (resized).jpeg

    So this guy wants a security code of some sort that’s been sent to me. After some research, I’ve found that releasing the code to the scammer guy would allow him to post fraudulent ads on MY behalf.

    #49 1 year ago

    Is this a scam? You just posted your phone number and your super secret code number.

    They never stop. It's easier to steal than work.

    #50 1 year ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    Is this a scam? You just posted your phone number and your super secret code number.

    They never stop. It's easier to steal than work.

    Good thing the guy didn’t ask for pictures of his social security card and driver’s license...

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