Advice please all - potentially caught a scammer, do I have an obligation to warn others?

sagaris99

Well-known Member
Hi all

Moral dilemma here - keeping details vague in case I've got it wrong, sorry for the length of post, but context is needed

I'm a member of a Facebook group for a specific car enthusiasts/owners (an owner of one myself).

Person in question posted on the group this morning (after joining this morning too) advertising a road trip to France in March 21, with track day. £399, includes track day, eurotunnel and accommodation, £99 deposit now, balance in Jan. 50 places vailable, apparently 42 have gone.
Naturally this caught my attention, so I thought I'd ask for details. He provided website details (Organised events and trips) but I can't see any details/names/addresses anywhere that give any feeling of trust.

Deposit can be paid to a BACS account now, and when I pushed if there was a CC option he sent me a link to a 'swoofee' page (a bit like Paypal Go/iZettle but online). I searched high and low for any official backing/protection, as I know that you lose protection when using agents like SagePay. Phoned my CC provider who said I would be covered, but seeing as the 'service/good' wouldn't be delivered/not fulfilled for 6 months, I'm out of chargeback timeframe.

£99 is still a large value of money, and without further details (proof of bookings etc) in January I would probably bail out of paying the balance - regardless, it made me uncomfortable enough so decide against it.

Here's where it get's interesting
Searched his name + where he lives (from facebook) on Google, and a number of results show for 2018, where local papers report a man of the same name and place (same road as currently on 192) was jailed that year for fraud of £100k - convincing people to invest in trade in car buying schemes some at £5k, £10k, £60k, while working at a variety of car dealers. The images of the articles look pretty damn similar to Facebook profile images at the time, there is a noticeable gap in his Facebook posting history from early '18 until mid '19. His LinkedIn profile suggests he has worked at a variety of dealers, and has a keen interest in cycling - supported by his Facebook. Also on his LinkedIn is a post from 2016 advertising a great investment opportunity, email for details, 15% ROI.

I realise I've gone way overboard on the research/stalking side (skills I've developed from past jobs in background referencing and checks), and I'm willing to admit I've either got the wrong guy, or he may be trying to go straight - people deserve a chance to reform I suppose.

My concern is that it looks too good to be true, and it's an easy way to make £5k without much exposure.
My mind is made up that it's the same guy, and I suspect it isn't legitimate. My moral dilemma is whether I stay quiet (he may be honest, not the same guy, or it involves me in something I want no part of), or what I do about it - who I speak to....... My gut tells me I have an obligation to do something, my head says say nothing..... Thoughts?


Cheers
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
Who took him to court last time?
Local police or trading standards? No harm in contacting them to see what they think.
This isn’t stalking. This is due diligence.
 

sagaris99

Well-known Member
Who took him to court last time?
Local police or trading standards? No harm in contacting them to see what they think.
This isn’t stalking. This is due diligence.
Reading the articles I can't really tell, doesn't make it clear
Might ring trading standards in the area and make them aware
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
Just post on the group 'you wouldn't happen to be this scamming, thieving **** would you?' + links/evidence

Who do you have more loyalty to? The members of your car group or some chancer who only just joined and looks to be trying to scam said members?
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
OP - you sound like you've done enough research to establish some kind of link to the previous person and this one. Though, of course, there's no way for certain if they are one and the same.

I think your dilemma is what you do with your information, how to release it into the public domain without necessarily causing any harm towards a potentially innocent person?

Is there any way you can pass it on to an authority of some kind (like Trading Standards, as you suggested) and let them take the responsibility? I understand that you don't want to cock up, but you'd be providing a valuable public service if you're right.

Let us know how you get on.
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
OP - you sound like you've done enough research to establish some kind of link to the previous person and this one. Though, of course, there's no way for certain if they are one and the same.

I think your dilemma is what you do with your information, how to release it into the public domain without necessarily causing any harm towards a potentially innocent person?

Is there any way you can pass it on to an authority of some kind (like Trading Standards, as you suggested) and let them take the responsibility? I understand that you don't want to cock up, but you'd be providing a valuable public service if you're right.

Let us know how you get on.

Are Trading Standards likely to get involved in random Facebook marketplace activity? Is he running these track days as a business?
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Are Trading Standards likely to get involved in random Facebook marketplace activity? Is he running these track days as a business?
I don't know, I guess the OP won't know either until he asks them?

Who would you suggest? Does this fall under Action Fraud's remit or do they only act after the event?
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
I looked at the website - it does seem to be acting as a company so maybe trading standards would be interested.

I don't think joining in the morning then posting is a big deal - they are probably going around FB looking for groups of people that would be interested in their events.

I don't see there is much to lose raising this concern in the FB group - after all, he just joined it. He may deny it - he may admit it and say he's going straight with a legit business.

Or could do it in a PM.

I think if you are a member of a group you should tell the group - especially as he is an 'outsider'. No different than if some 'suspect individual' showed up in the AVF classifieds.

<Subscribed>
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
£399 seems dirt cheap. How many days / nights? Which track?

A regular non-day trip is around £180-200 for a car on Eurotunnel for starters. Plus, the cost of the track day, hotels for what 1? 2? Nights.
 

Veni Vidi Vici

Well-known Member
Just post and ask questions to him on the facebook page where others can view what you've typed, ask what protection there is when you pay your money, what's stopping him taking the money and removing his profile etc.. If he is genuine he won't have a problem answering you as they are legitimate concerns.
 

sagaris99

Well-known Member
£399 seems dirt cheap. How many days / nights? Which track?

A regular non-day trip is around £180-200 for a car on Eurotunnel for starters. Plus, the cost of the track day, hotels for what 1? 2? Nights.
Circuit de Folembray in North France, 3 days 2 nights (a twin room I would guess)

Did seem too good to be true
 

BigA1

Well-known Member
Private message him and ask him to fill in the blanks.... if he comes up with plausible answers then he wont mind being probed a little further...

If he doesnt like it up him, expose what you suspect or point others in the direction of travel in order to make up their own minds...

Maybe write a completely unrelated post about the heinous crime and allow others to join the dots themselves...

Watching with interest.
 

sagaris99

Well-known Member
@BB3Lions @pRot3us I posted on the group linking the news article, asking if he could confirm whether this was the same person - quick as a flash I got a message saying 'that was my past etc etc, this is a new business venture I'm trying and doing my best to make an honest living'

I replied that I would keep the post up until he could provide the admins of the group with enough proof to satisfy them of his intentions/trustworthyness. He responded by saying that 'what have I got to gain if I let you pay by CC, if I was trying to scam you I wouldn't limit places etc'.

In a way, if he is trying to start a new track, I have respect for him - everyone makes mistakes (ok, he stole £100k from people...... pretty bad judgement) - but if he's trying to make a go at it, he needs to make it slightly less fishy
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
He responded by saying that 'what have I got to gain if I let you pay by CC, if I was trying to scam you I wouldn't limit places etc'.
By limiting places he makes it seem like an offer you dont want to miss, so you rush to pay and then he clears off. Basically its a pressure tactic, you dont want to muss out so you pay in a hurry without thinking about it and checking properly. 50 people at £100 a pop is still £5k for chuff all effort. He then goes to another group and does same thing.

Also you wont know you've been scammed until its gone past the cc chargeback period as you have researched, when you are trying to pay final payment and get tickets etc. So he would be able to get your money string you along, then disappear.
 
Last edited:

BigA1

Well-known Member
@BB3Lions @pRot3us I posted on the group linking the news article, asking if he could confirm whether this was the same person - quick as a flash I got a message saying 'that was my past etc etc, this is a new business venture I'm trying and doing my best to make an honest living'

I replied that I would keep the post up until he could provide the admins of the group with enough proof to satisfy them of his intentions/trustworthyness. He responded by saying that 'what have I got to gain if I let you pay by CC, if I was trying to scam you I wouldn't limit places etc'.

In a way, if he is trying to start a new track, I have respect for him - everyone makes mistakes (ok, he stole £100k from people...... pretty bad judgement) - but if he's trying to make a go at it, he needs to make it slightly less fishy
Leopards - spots.....

If it smells like a rat.....

Fool me once.....

Personally I think you've done the right thing and probably saved a few people a sh*t load of grief, money and heartache.

If anyone wants to get a bargain they at least know who they are dealing with now.
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
By limiting places he makes it seem like an offer you dont want to miss, so you rush to pay and then he clears off. Basically its a pressure tactic, you dont want to muss out so you pay in a hurry without thinking about it and checking properly.
Exactly that. Only ‘8 spaces’ left

E5B5AECB-2566-4F23-AC0C-FB055823100F.jpeg


Book quickly or you’ll miss out.
Then a bit later, a few people have pulled out due to unforeseen circumstances, so I’m pleased to say there’s another 10 places available. They’ll go quick if it’s anything like before, so don’t delay!
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
I also note that all his events are in the future, none that have already happened that you can ask people who have attended about.
 

hippo99

Distinguished Member
Also on that note, where is he getting the money to fund this venture? £99 deposit isn’t going to go far in terms of holding/deposit for the track/travel/accommodation. Wouldn’t have thought he’d have a particularly good line of credit.

What about any other upcoming events he’s got on the go? How is he funding those? How is he paying for those events if they’re similarly in the fairly distant future?

What’s he doing for revenue/cash flow for the next 4-5 months until January?
 

sagaris99

Well-known Member
Also on that note, where is he getting the money to fund this venture? £99 deposit isn’t going to go far in terms of holding/deposit for the track/travel/accommodation. Wouldn’t have thought he’d have a particularly good line of credit.

What about any other upcoming events he’s got on the go? How is he funding those? How is he paying for those events if they’re similarly in the fairly distant future?

What’s he doing for revenue/cash flow for the next 4-5 months until January?
He's stopped replying to me now :laugh:
Looking at the original comment thread on his post, a number of people have clearly already paid and have now realised......... I question the thought process behind transferring £100 straight away to a person (not even a business) you've never met, with no documentation, no critical thinking or judgement at all - as @TheHighFlyingBirds said, easy money from his view if he joins a number of these groups......
 
D

Deleted member 498601

Guest
In a way, if he is trying to start a new track, I have respect for him - everyone makes mistakes (ok, he stole £100k from people...... pretty bad judgement) - but if he's trying to make a go at it, he needs to make it slightly less fishy

No, choosing your Honda Jazz in brown is 'pretty bad judgement' :laugh:. Conning innocent people out of a lot of money is a different thing altogether.

Personally, I think you should give yourself a pat on the back for trying to do the right thing by your group.
Even if this guy is 100% legit now (which I can't see really, based on questions that this thread has raised i.e. @hippo99's questions in post #21), just giving people the knowledge of his past is enough for them to make a more informed decision. :thumbsup:
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Plus, there are plenty of legitimate companies out there specialising in driving trips abroad.
 

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