The most common scam starts out when you are contacted by somone that seems interested in buying your collector car. Generally speaking, the first red flag is when the buyer is outside the United States, commonly from Africa or Eastern Europe. Another red flag is when a buyer attempts to send you a check for more than your selling price. Usually when this happens they ask you to send the extra money to a third party. The check itself is usually fake.
The following is the story of how one of the very first "419" scams happened on a competitor's website many years ago:
The advertiser was contacted by some people from Nigeria who stated that they wanted to buy their collector car and sent them a fake cashier's check. The crooks sent more money than the price of the car stating that the extra money was to be sent to someone in the US to ship the car to Africa. The amount of money to be used for shipping was even close to what the actual shipping cost would be. Once the American seller sent the money to the person who was supposed to ship the car they discovered that the original cashier's check was a fake.
These individuals lost $8000 of their own money in the scam. Apparently the scam has been tried on others. According to the people who lost their money it can take over three weeks for a bank to realize that a check is fake. They also suggest that you contact the issuing bank and get any verification in writing. The money you save may be your own!
This type of scam is called "419" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code that addresses such schemes. You can find out more about it on the Secret Service Web site. If you have copies of emails from -- or accounts of -- similar encounters, it may be useful to forward them to the Secret Service Financial Crimes Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who has lost money can contact the FBI and they will assist directly or put you in touch with other federal agencies dealing with African banking scams. Anyone who has been contacted should report to FBI Tips and Public Leads, which will then report the scammers to African authorities.
If you have been contacted by anyone wanting to buy your car with a plan that fits the description above, the folks who were scammed would like to hear from you. They have started a Yahoo group about this matter to discuss it with others who may have encountered these crooks. The more leads they have the better the chances of catching them. To sign up for their Yahoo group click here.