In a world filled with electronics, fiber optics, cell phones, e-mail, dove messengers, Morse code, and countless other forms of communication, any type of transaction is possible. With today's technology, communication from a hut in the back woods of Lake Titicaca to an outhouse in Beirut is handled with just the press of a button. It's amazing, really, and when I stop to think of all the good our advanced style of communication is doing, I can't help but think of the Catch 22, because as always, with the good comes the bad.
At this moment I'm really only thinking of one key negative aspect to the 21st-century way of communication, and that's Internet fraud. Granted, there are multiple types of Internet fraud, and most of them don't have to do with the custom classic truck marketplace, but on the other hand, there is one key scandal that every automotive enthusiast, regardless of automotive denomination, should be aware of.
I first learned of this scandal about a year ago, because it happened to me when I placed some parts for sale on Craig's List. Although I have heard other accounts since, my latest encounter comes from a good friend of mine who had his car up for sale on eBay, which goes to show it can happen on any sort of Internet-based communication. The swindle goes a little like this. Let's say you put your truck, motor, parts, anything up for sale for the price of $6,500, and all of a sudden you get a bite on your item via e-mail. The e-mail says something like, "Hello jolly old sport, hope all is going well with you...yada yada...I really admire your property up for purchase and I'd like to know more about it, and would you be willing to take $6,300? I look forward to hearing from you, and God bless." Now don't laugh. I'm not kidding about that previous line I just wrote-every time I have encountered this fraud it's always some sort of supposed prim and proper Jay Gatsby-talkin' Englishman I'm dealing with. Anyway, after reading the e-mail you laugh to yourself about the wording, but figure what the heck, I'm lookin' to make a buck, and you shoot off a reply to the guy telling him what he wants to know and that you have accepted his offer. Before you know it, you've got mail. "Thanks for the response, I do appreciate your e-mail, I'm impressed and overjoyed to know you have accepted my humble offer. I can't wait to see the truck parked in my garage! Here's the deal, I have a friend in the States who owes me the grand sum of $9,500. What I'm going to have him do is make out the money order to you, then I would like you to cash the money order and take your $6,300, and also take an extra $300 for the trouble I'm putting you through. As for the rest of the money, send it to me with the truck, and as always, hope all is well, old sport."
At this point, things seem to get a little sketchy. Sure, it sounds like it could be legit, and that's why this scandal prevails all the time, and on top of that, you're going to get an extra $300 for your troubles! But don't you remember your mother telling you, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is"? Well, that's the case here.
Here's how the swindle works. Once you get the money order and cash it, all is good. Seeing that, you ship the truck off with the extra cash, and two weeks later the bank calls and tells you the money order is a fraud or stolen and they want their $9,500 back. At this point you not only have to return the money, but you also have to recover the extra money you sent off, and your truck is gone! All in all, it's a bad deal, but very real, and very common. On a side note, the guy who tried to rip my friend off went by the name of Mr. Ben Jack...as in Mr. Been Jacked. How's that for a blatant sign of a swindle!-Dakota Wentz