Scammer wants to be in your driver’s seat with Google Wallet

Looking for a car online? Beware of con artists who want to take you for a ride. Bogus vehicle sales have gone around for a while, using online classified ads to bait people with “too good to be true” prices only to steal their money. Another twist on that scam uses a false affiliation with Google to con people.

The scammers mislead people into believing their transaction is being conducted through Google Wallet – while payment is actually made by wire transfer, untraceable and gone forever.

The seller may post an unrealistically low price and claim he needs to sell the car quickly because of an upcoming move, a divorce, a call to serve in the military, etc.

The seller will send an invoice that appears to be from Google Wallet, but will instruct you to make a wire payment, through Western Union, Moneygram or bank transfer. They may also have a phone number for a fake Google employee that you can call to “verify” that the transaction is legitimate.

A real Google Wallet transaction will need you to sign into your Google account and use the Google Wallet interface to pay. Google Wallet doesn’t accept wire transfers/bank transfers or payments via Western Union/Money Gram.

Some scammers may also use Google Wallet’s previous name Google Checkout.

Below is an excerpt from a typical Google Wallet scam email.

Google Wallet Scam

BBB offers the following tips for online car shopping:

  • Check the vehicle’s price. Before buying a car, check out a similar make and model’s price on other websites. If the price is way below market value, it’s probably a scam.
  • Communicate with the seller. If a seller refuses to meet in person, this is a bad sign. Sellers should also allow the buyer to inspect the vehicle before making payment.
  • Be careful with the transaction. Be cautious of transactions in which the seller and the vehicle are in different locations. The seller may claim they are not able to take the car along because of military deployment, moving because of family circumstances, or job relocation. Scammers also try to push for quick payments via wire payment systems, so never send money using this payment method.
  • Check the vehicle identification number. When you check out the car, make sure the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) matches with the number on the paperwork. The VIN can be found on the car’s dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Make sure the VIN number on the card matches the number on the insurance card, insurance policy and vehicle title and registration.
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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Scammer wants to be in your driver’s seat with Google Wallet

  1. Mark Burrows

    I really can not imagine where the simplicity of purchasing a used vehicle became a situation where the buyer didn’t use common sense.
    If you are not mechanically inclined about vehicles, I am sure that you have friends that are. Myself, I have an ex-brother in law, well I guess he is just my friend or uncle to my children who is a top mechanic.
    Point being here I find cars, we go together and check them out, I keep the seller busy with small talk as my friend checks out the car. Then we either haggle or walk away.
    One thing we never do is ask why a person is selling a car. If we agree to purchase the car, I stay while my friend goes and gets funds from the bank, but what he does is check out the VIN to make sure we are not dealing with stolen merchandise. If my friend returns with cash, the deal is done, if he returns and apologizes because he was delayed getting to the bank before it closed, and we could come back the next day if the seller has not sold the vehicle. That is the signal to me that there is something quite not right.
    If it is a case of an illegal sale, we contact the authorities.
    My ex brother in law, is a mechanic who works now on government military aircraft, but he was putting cars and motorcycles together at the tender age of 14. His skills are second nature to him and buying cars cheap, fixing them up with a little extra get up and go is how he winds down on his time off. Then reselling them for a handsome profit of which I get a small taste for my efforts of finding the vehicle, analyzing the behavior of the seller and keeping him/her occupied as my friend checks out the stability of the vehicle. He does the rest, and it’s his money that makes the purchase. If I need a vehicle, I buy it from him.
    The point of my story is this. You must see the vehicle first, there is no other option, it is a good idea to take someone with you. One of the oldest cons is they could meet you anywhere, allow you to take a test drive with the con and then pull a weapon and have you pull over as the relieve you of your cash and valuables and then dump you in an area far from car, no phones, the con took your cell, your change. So your in for a hike. By the time you have contacted authorities the con artist is long gone.
    Don’t ask why they are selling the car, this will make them nervous because they have rehearsed their scam so many times. If they start to explain it anyway, Act as if it does not interest you. Get the vehicle information and leave. Have the VIN checked out and inform the authorities if necessary.
    No matter what the price is, even if it is too good to be true, haggle. Try to bring it down. If a lower price is accepted, then something is without a doubt wrong if the first selling price was too good to be true.
    Also, never take cash with you. If the buyer only wants cash, it only takes moments to find a bank and withdraw cash. Make sure you document on your cash withdrawal receipt that it is for a car purchase and attach it all purchase documents if you do actually buy a owner sold car.
    Look, it is simple, if a person is in a different location trying to sell their car back home, someone must be caring for it and has the keys. Family or friend. That person can accept payment and forward it to the seller.
    Sometimes people sell cars cheap because they have been left on their property by their children who never bothered to come back and remove them and they need repairs. Not knowing the extent of repairs, and having all the documents and keys, folks just want these vehicles off their property. Some of these are real deals and after you fix them up, are a hot commodity. Most important. Do not purchase without knowledge. Stick to car lots and extended warranties if you have no knowledge and no family or friends with knowledge. Those who pretend to know something about vehicles are the target of these scams. Little or no knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Mark Burrows

  2. I have personally gotten involved with four scams this week and decided ENOUGH. I have posted a blog that will help car buyers recognize the scam ads by exposing their method, with examples of active scam ads and the email responses from the scammers. Please read the article at
    http://www.theclassiccarfactory.blogspot.com and tell your friends. This or these individuals need to be locked up tight.

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