August 31, 2013


Has anyone heard of this scam? Mark Cole, and buying a car from Rio De Janiero…

Miss O is selling the Mighty Mirage, and it is advertised on the local Gumtree (an ebay company) and AllClassifieds, and (today) the Canberra Times.

Here is the email exchange:

The person calling themselves Mark Cole, MC: Is your car still available for sale? what is the lowest price of it and more me pls (

Me: $4995 is the lowest price. It is the actual price, too!
Look for it on Gumtree; 12 pics there

MC (no editing, verbatim):

Thanks for mailing back,am ok with the price and the condition,am
buying it for my vacation,because i’ll be coming soon from our rig as
am a petroleum engineer on a rig offshore,i won’t be able to come for
the inspection due to the nature of my work,i would have love to call
in person but our satellite server has been down which restrict our
calls.i will be paying you through PayPal,pls get back to me with your
PayPal details so i can proceed with the payment and contact the
courier agent who will come to pick it up and deliver it in my place.

I would appreciate if you email me with more pictures (if available)
too since i won’t be be able to see this in person,what’s the PayPal
email to send funds to in order for me to pay you ASAP,And if you
dont have a paypal account, it is very easy to set up, go to and get it set up

[So, no phone contact possible, and he says he is an engineer on an offshore rig, so no visit to look at the car, and he seems to have not looked at the images, either]

Me: Mark, hello.In this case, I will only accept a direct bank deposit (it’s not you, but there are way too many payment reversals with PP).I am a photographer, so can take any extra images you want (did you see the Gumtree images HERE)? There are shots of interior, exterior, tyres; not sure what else you need.And as we are possibly selling a car to you, may I please have more details about you (work place and all relevant contact details, please). All my details are below.I cannot use Paypal for this sort of transaction; and they charge the earth, too!If you can do a direct bank deposit, we may proceed.Regards, K & OMC: All good since you dont have a paypal account i will like you to get back to me with your bsb bank account details so i can transfer the money from my paypal account into your bank account and after my payment has been made and confirm by you i have a carrier agent who will be coming for the pick up.ThanksMe: Hello Mark,Can you respond to this request:

“And as we are possibly selling a car to you, may I please have more details about you (work place and all relevant contact details, please). All my details are below.

Once I know a bit more about you, then I will send the bank detailscheers and thanks


MC:Name                Mark ColeAddress            26 Creswell Street                         Tiwi Northern Territory                          0810, AustraliaDate of Birth       May 6 1976I work on Rio De Jeniero oil rigwhat else do you need?Thanks.

[I am not too concerned about the spelling of Rio, but still… And no Mark Cole has a telephone at this address, which does appear to be an actual one. No google search finds Mark Cole, at least any that might be relevant]Me: Mark,Are you on a platform in Rio De Janiero presently? I have to ask, living in the NT, why do you want a car from Canberra? And we can’t find you on any search engine or social media, either.I am not trying to be difficult, but I can’t meet you, and can’t speak to you, and can’t find you—in my position, what would you think? Now, if I have done you a disservice, just send me some solid info. or web presence so I know who I am dealing with.KLMC: i have giving you all the info about me that is all i have on the sea that is all i can provide ATM.Thanks.

Me: Sorry Mark,We do not wish to proceed with the deal.Regards and no hard feelingsKit

And that was the last I heard! Anyone else? We believe this is a scam whereby someone hacks another’s PP account, sends money from that account, the owner complains and the payment is reversed, and the car is picked up in the meantime. Nice try. Epic fail.

UPDATE today; I received a question via text message from Zanco Albert, ostensibly in response to an ad I have on Gumtree (and

Hi, what’s your best price and the condition of your boat?

I replied: “Hello there,

I am driving at the moment, on my way back to Greenwell Point. In the meantime if you have access to a computer or maybe you can look on your phone, there is a long listing with many photographs and all the information on what’s been done to the boat on The asking price is there too. I think if you were to search for fishing boats and Greenwell Point that should find it immediately; it’s near the front. There is a listing on Gumtree as well, but only with half the photographs.

If you’re interested I could show it to you possibly tomorrow. I have Marine Rescue duty, but that usually over by 3:30 or so.

Regards Kit

The reply:

Thanks for getting back, I’m fine with the price likewise the condition as described on the advert, exactly what am looking for, I work with Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd. Beetaloo Basin, Northern Territory, Australia and the reception is terrible. We do not have access to phone at the moment, which is why I contacted you with internet messaging facility. I am already in talks with the courier that will handle the pick-up and delivery.

As regards the payment, I can pay you through direct bank deposit (EFT), using paypal instant bank wire transfer service, linked up with my ANZ bank account, I will need your bank details and I will make the payment through paypal facility to your bank account, all I will need is your acct number, BSB number and acct name.

With the issue of my details, transferring the name of ownership and signing of all paperwork will be done by the freight agent so you don’t have to worry about that.

Await your reply

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The boat in question is 8m long, and 3.5 tonnes: not too many couriers will handle this. As well, the boat is moored… how will the courier get it out of the water?

My reply:


You’re a scammer. I have written extensively about this scam on my blog. If you google Kit Laughlin blog you’ll find the article about this exact kind of scam. Please don’t contact me again.

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