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Thread: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

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    Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    MOD EDIT The first twelve posts originally appeared in an intro turned blog thread. I ran across them when I was doing site organization and tagged them for extraction because this issue definitely deserves its own thread.

    There are people out there ready to take advantage of our collective desire (even desperation) to keep our vans running, and so we're all vulnerable to being scammed by fake parts dealers, craigslist scammers who post some nice-looking photos but don't actually have the vehicle, and fake mechanics (who can be especially successful in duping us because few actual mechanics are willing to take on our oddball 20-30+ year old vehicles).


    So, I think I have a line on a radiator, however I can't see it first. $200 shipped. Worst case I get it re-cored, and that still keeps me below what a full custom build would cost. Best case it doesn't leak and I use it until in needs re-coring. (Well worst case, I have another doorstop on my hands... but let's think positive here...)

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Can anyone positively identify this vehicle as a 4WD from the photo? I'm trying to get the guy to send me the serial number. YR36W means 4WD, right?

    I asked him to send me a photo of the radiator and he sent me a photo of the A/C condenser.

    K wait, I think I'm being scammed.... stay tuned! I'm gonna make this fun for the guy...

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Is there a picture?

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    Is there a picture?
    Oh yes, there are photos. He sent me these photos, saying "the engine and transmission are bad, so I decided to sell the parts."
    Attachment 2361Attachment 2362

    I said thank you, but well actually that's the a/c condenser. Then I sent him a photo of where the radiator is and I asked him for the VIN so I can make sure it's a 4WD. But.... then I took that photo of the white van, right clicked on it, and did "Search Google for this image." Lo and behold, he's sending me photos snagged from this site:

    http://www.toyotavans.org/community/...al_manual.html (scroll down a tad to see these exact photos)

    He sends me a non-sensical VIN - maybe some part number, and I asked if he could get the actual VIN off the body of the vehicle.

    "I have given you what you asked for.It will fit into your van i am so stressed out in the past days if you are not sure you can go through with this you can as well look elsewhere."



    Maybe he so stressed out because there's an angry mob of people he's been ripping off drawing nearer and nearer.

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    I replied this:

    "Well actually I asked for a photo of the radiator and the VIN. You gave me a photo of a van, an a/c condenser, and some part number that I can't lookup. But I totally understand. Selling parts is kinda hard sometimes. All these parts and pieces.

    Okay, what do you need from me? Actually what city are you in, maybe I could pick it up. Thanks!

    Sometimes when I'm stressed out, I just stand right in front of the mirror and stare into my eyeballs. And I don't say anything. Just like 15-20 minutes and try not to blink. It works! But that's enough about me. How do you require payment. If I pick it up, I can bring cash."

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    I was going to post this craigslist ad http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/pts/4995749288.html in hopes of helping you out but now I'm wondering if this is who you are already corresponding with. Well just in case here it is anyway. Says he's parting 4WD vans.

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Quote Originally Posted by originalkwyjibo View Post
    I was going to post this craigslist ad http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/pts/4995749288.html in hopes of helping you out but now I'm wondering if this is who you are already corresponding with. Well just in case here it is anyway. Says he's parting 4WD vans.
    No the guy trying to rip people off isn't this craigslist ad.

    But I did talk to the craigslist guy a bit ago - he's checking to see what exactly he has. Sounds like he has two more or less complete 2WD vans he's parting out, plus the driveshafts and transfer case and diffs from a 4wd but not the vehicle itself. No manual transmission for 4WD.

    Thanks for the heads up!

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Man, what a scammer. Sounds like he's using a language translator app. If he's going to rip-off pictures, he'd be better off stealing new ones. The real owners manual and those pics have been posted on-line for almost 15 years now. I've had my run-ins with these type scammers. Good call on saying you'll pick-up in person. That's what I always do and it usually scares them off. Tim

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Well that's a dead end. He told me I could pick it up in Round Rock, TX or send him a Western Union something-or-other and he'll ship it. When I told him I could have a friend nearby pick it up, he got angry and told me he's sick of my distrust.

    FYI, this is a scammer on Row52 the online site that puts people in touch with parts pullers around the country. I've never used it before, so I can't say one way or another if it's a good thing. But anyway, his user name is "Sah1" - don't do business with him.

    I though I could toy with him a little, but he's turned sour.

    "You want me to trust you? You're a scam artist. Try staring in the mirror and asking yourself why you try to rip people off. Maybe you'll come up with a good enough answer and you won't be so "stressed out," I told him.

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Speaking of these type frauds, there's a scammer out there who goes by the names "Todd Twersky", "Todd Towers", and/or "Todd Lewis". He's in the New York/New Jersey area and associates himself with the "donate cars for charity" organizations. Claims to be involved in philanthropy on other levels as well (helping unfortunate children etc). I had a run-in with him years ago while purchasing Previa parts on eBay. Took my money but never shipped parts. I got him banned from eBay but he came back under other user names. I posted a warning on TVP at the time and got flooded with emails from other people he'd scammed. Most were involving fraudulent sales of Toyota Previas and/or Previa parts.

    PS: He's also involved in many other scams, here's some links:

    https://www.scambook.com/report/view...-for-$2,000.00

    https://www.scambook.com/report/view...57-for-$850.00

    https://www.scambook.com/report/view...01-for-$395.00

    https://www.scambook.com/report/view...-for-$1,500.00

    http://incomplaint.com/internet-web/...d-twersky.html

    https://www.scamguard.com/other-complaints_1/?page=10

    Google search results of this guy are many pages long. These are just a few that came up on page 1. I think he's since moved to Scottsdale AZ, so you van & Previa owners in AZ be careful!

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Beware of the individual mentioned in other comments in this forum who goes by the names Todd Towers, Tversky, Twersky, Lewis, Lillienthal and Annand. At least, those are the ones known about so far. He is now in Arizona pulling scams on people, trying to pass himself off as an automotive expert. He also claims to be an attorney and doctor. He is not a mechanic, but is a savvy scam artist. If you see the name and he tries to sell you a product or service, it's a scam!

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    Todd Towers

    Yes, Todd Towers or whatever his name is has been scamming people in Scottsdale for awhile. If you ever see him or meet him, he is about 5-4, and just looking at the guy you can tell he has many screws loose. He tries to act crazy until you threaten to whip his ass. Then he tells you he is an attorney and a Doctor. He is now on LinkedIn claiming he is both. He is 100% psychopath. Best to call the police if he shows up at your home. Total piece of roflroflroflrofl.

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    A common scam (not specific to Vans and Previas) is alignment; search by tag for "alignment scam". Here are three threads currently so tagged:

    Gwen
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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    Re: Parts, vehicle, and / or maintenance ripoffs beware of scams and scammers!

    Another technique to avoid being scammed is to use a reverse image search. Google "reverse image search" to see what will work best for your browser and device.

    Gwen
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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    Re: Todd Towers

    Quote Originally Posted by azdude23 View Post
    Beware of the individual mentioned in other comments in this forum who goes by the names Todd Towers, Tversky, Twersky, Lewis, Lillienthal and Annand. At least, those are the ones known about so far. He is now in Arizona pulling scams on people, trying to pass himself off as an automotive expert. He also claims to be an attorney and doctor.
    Quote Originally Posted by California60 View Post
    Yes, Todd Towers or whatever his name is has been scamming people in Scottsdale for awhile. [...] he tells you he is an attorney and a Doctor. He is now on LinkedIn claiming he is both.
    In a case like this, Google is your friend.

    Indeed, "Todd Towers" is on LinkedIn, and in the publicly visible portion of his profile, he uses the initials JD and MD. He also displays the logo for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). His location is listed as Scottsdale, AZ.

    However, a search of individuals who have passed the AZ bar (thus are licensed to practice law in the state of AZ) does not list a Todd Towers anywhere I can find. Further, THIS PAGE informs me that this LinkedIn listing might fall under the AZ definition of "Unauthorized Practice of Law":


    What is the "unauthorized practice of law"?

    The unauthorized practice of law is defined by Arizona Supreme Court Rule. Rule 31(a)(2)(B) states:

    Unauthorized practice of law includes but is not limited to:

    Engaging in the practice of law by persons or entities not authorized to practice pursuant to paragraphs (b) or (c) or specifically admitted to practice pursuant to Rule 38(a);
    Using the designations, lawyer, attorney at law, counselor at law, law, law office, J.D., Esq., or other equivalent words by any person or entity not authorized to practice law in this state pursuant to paragraphs (b) or (c) or specifically admitted to practice pursuant to Rule 38(a), the use of which is reasonably likely to induce others to believe that the person or entity is authorized to engage in the practice of law in this state.

    So right away there's two red flags for me.

    Google can also help you find whether someone is licensed to practice medicine, and in what area(s):
    https://gls.azmd.gov/glsuiteweb/clie...ionSearch.aspx

    I can't get the name Todd Towers (or even someone with the surname Towers) to come up under any type of medical license in the state of Arizona.

    Google can also get you the phone number of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and you can ask them to verify certification. (I didn't bother; it's after hours now and considering the above results, certification wouldn't give me adequate confidence to take my vehicle to someone like this.)
    EDIT: ASE requires you to complete and submit a form to find out if an individual holds current ASE certification, and in what areas. The forms are found HERE. Unless you are (1) the individual or (2) an employer, you will use the Third Part Certification Status Request Form. Ideally you will ask for and receive the individual's ASE Certificate number for most rapid and accurate response. Obviously this process isn't going to be fast enough if you're broken down somewhere and need to verify a mechanic's credentials, but it makes sense to confirm certification before any non-emergency repairs.
    EDIT #2: ASE can't find any proof of certification for a Todd Towers in Arizona.

    For kicks, I continued scrolling down the LinkedIn profile for Todd Towers, and there's a list of publications with impressive-sounding titles:

    TT_fake_articles_12.11.2018.jpg

    Some of those titles are hotlinks. Clicking them, I discover that the articles most definitely DO exist, and they are ALL written by other people ...

    Suffice it to say, all this tells me this is the kind of individual I would NOT feel comfortable doing business with, and it also lends a LOT of credibility to the above quoted posts despite their anonymity.

    Gwen

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    EDIT: In an interesting twist, the section of the LinkedIn profile (screenshot, above) was changed shortly after this post was made. The articles with hotlinked titles (and ONLY those four) now include the following disclaimer:

    * Please note LinkedIn by default lists all publications as authored by the listing profile, without an option to further qualify the extent of participation (authorship) in the study. Where "Contributor" is listed, contribution to the publication occurred by way of bench top research ie) immunohistochemistry, tissue processing, study subject recruitment and marketing, or prior authorship or contribution which formed a basis thereof.

    "Contribution" can't be verified via the internet (for free) because research articles typically only give title, author, date, source and an abstract. Because a large number of tangential contributors are not credited in the footnotes of typical published research, a statement of contribution likely cannot be verified by purchasing the complete versions of the above research papers, either. I do not claim to have knowledge of whether "contribution" was or was not made in this case. My points are only that:
    1. statements of possessing credentials are not the same thing as actually having those credentials; all of us as consumers are responsible for requesting documentation and (where appropriate) verifying that the documentation is genuine, and
    2. all kinds of people DO watch the public areas of this forum and/or end up here after their own Google searches, so use caution when posting personal or identifying information about yourself, and be extra-cautious when cold-contacted by nonmembers and new members, especially if you have posted that you NEED a particular part for your Van or Previa.
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 410K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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