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eBay scammer identified
November 13, 2005 4:59 PM   Subscribe

can anyone clarify what's happening here? seems like some mefi detective work might either shed some light on things, or clear the poster's name; i'm not sure browbeating him with false dichotomies is working.
posted by andrew cooke to MetaFilter-Related at 4:59 PM (64 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

It appears that airnxtz has figured out that he can list laptops on eBay, collect thousands of dollars from naive eBayers, never send them the goods, keep the money, and get off scot free. At least, he's pretty sure he can get off scot free, but he's not 100 percent sure, so he keeps posting insincere questions to AskMe posing as the buyer in the above scenario, to find out if there are any holes in what seems like the perfect scam.
posted by bonheur at 5:05 PM on November 13, 2005


That's certainly what it appears to be, given his "$500 Sam's Club card" auction that really isn't a $500 Sam's Club card.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:11 PM on November 13, 2005


or he's some kind of deranged/lonely obsessive compulsive who got sympathy the first time he posted something like this and so keeps doing so.

(i dunno - the whole thing seems odd)
posted by andrew cooke at 5:11 PM on November 13, 2005


The chief took my Internet Detective badge after I lost my cool under pressure, but those are some pretty strange posts to be from the same guy.

Of course, I asked a question about preparing to have a kid and then followed it up with a question about how an American could fake their death, so maybe I shouldn't talk.
posted by cmonkey at 5:11 PM on November 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


Odd, creepy and hubristic.
posted by alteredcarbon at 5:20 PM on November 13, 2005


That $500 Sam's Club card auction is an outright scam; it gave me the shivers. Didn't bidders actually read the description?
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 5:23 PM on November 13, 2005


On his myspace account he claims he's a student and is making over 250k a year--which, if true, doesn't fit with most student experiences I've witnessed.

"REMEMBER YOUR GIFT CARD COULD HAVE ANY AMOUNT BETWEEN $5.00 AND $500.00 AS A GIFT FROM ME TO YOU."

Right .... not a scumbag, no sir.
posted by Tuwa at 5:30 PM on November 13, 2005


fivefreshfish took it too far. Everything else seemed fine though.
posted by fire&wings at 5:34 PM on November 13, 2005


That Sam's Club gift card auction is great. I love the way he claims that even though the headline description says "$500", you're really just bidding on the card itself and any money that might be on the card is just a free gift.

I also like this part:

I WILL ALSO GIVE A FEEDBACK FOR EVERY SINGLE BIDDER, WIN OR LOSE!

Umm...of course you can't actually do that. And this:

THESE CARDS START FROM $5, AND INCREASE IN INCREMENTS OF $50, ALL THE WAY TO $500!. (Example: $5, $50, $150, $ 250, $350, $400, $450, $500)

Loving that $50 increment between $5 and $50. And of course, the mark of a trustworthy seller:

IF YOU ARE WORRIED, DO NOT BID, YOU WILL NOT GET YOUR MONEY BACK, RULES OF EBAY.
posted by duck at 5:34 PM on November 13, 2005


Yes, quite clearly a scammer. Good work, Columbo.
posted by Justinian at 5:35 PM on November 13, 2005


Well, if it hadn't been for his myspace page, I would have never found my new .signature...


--
you have been hit by :

|^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|SEXY TRUCK | '|""";.., ___.
|_..._...______===|= _|__|..., ] |
"(@ )'(@ )""""*|(@ )(@ )*****(@

THIS IS A SEXYY TRUCK IF U RECIEVE THIS IT MEANS UR FUCKIN SEXY.... IF U GET THIS BACK UR EVEN SEXIERR...SEND THIS TO 10 PEOPLE....IF U BREAK THIS YOU AINT' SEXY FOR SHIT.

posted by cmonkey at 5:39 PM on November 13, 2005 [10 favorites]


He's a crook.
posted by LarryC at 5:39 PM on November 13, 2005


fire&wings, where's fivefreshfish's comment? I'm missing it.
posted by Tuwa at 5:41 PM on November 13, 2005


Something very fishy there, fershur.
posted by mischief at 5:43 PM on November 13, 2005


gah. other thread. I've been hit with the stupid stick lately (only lately?)
posted by Tuwa at 5:44 PM on November 13, 2005


Ease up on the grifter. Living in Bakersfield is punishment enough.
posted by JohnR at 5:47 PM on November 13, 2005


I'm glad that the Sam's Club "raffle auction" was pointed out. The preponderance of evidence is that he's a scammer. Delete all three threads, nuke his account and block his IP address.
posted by solid-one-love at 5:55 PM on November 13, 2005


somebody should notify ebay.
posted by onalark at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2005


Or, take self policing to the next level. Don't delete the threads. Leave them for google. And maybe block his IP address only after we goad him into revealing more information. Or something.

If this guy is actually the grifter it looks like he is, this is the kind of bastard that makes starting up on eBay as a legitimate, honest and sincere operator such a pain in the ass.

Hangin's too good for the likes of these.
posted by loquacious at 6:01 PM on November 13, 2005


somebody should notify ebay.

...and the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
posted by Hlewagast at 6:06 PM on November 13, 2005


His previous questions were kind of weird, but coupled with the sam's club BS auction, he certainly looks like a scammer trying to pick up tips on how to scam people.

I've pulled his posting rights.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2005


Dude. He'll totally chargeback his five bucks.
posted by cribcage at 6:23 PM on November 13, 2005


This is awesome. I love internet detectivery!
posted by jetskiaccidents at 7:01 PM on November 13, 2005


If he's a scammer, and the threads are meant to pick up tips to scam people, perhaps said threads should be deleted?
posted by Rothko at 7:32 PM on November 13, 2005


I can't see how deleting the information proves anything. How about adding a comment to the threads linking them together. Better yet, add a note to the questions (so that it appears at the top instead of the bottom) linking them to this.
posted by Chuckles at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2005


wow, looking back at those old threads, it should have been obvious. Those "laptop exchanged for rock/water" stories are virtually impossible and are a clear sign of fraud.
posted by puke & cry at 7:36 PM on November 13, 2005


Assume he's already read those threads and gathered any tips. The only remaining value of those threads might be to (productively) pollute Google; now, when would-be victims search for "airnxtz," they'll discover these discussions. If a few of them bother to invest that effort, they may save themselves some money.

On that note, it sure would be unfortunate if someone felt compelled to drop back into the AskMe thread and post "airnxtz" about fifty times...
posted by cribcage at 7:38 PM on November 13, 2005


This screams for a googlebomb. Hate to say it, but sometimes I really wish the folks here were a bit more like the SA crowd.
posted by drpynchon at 7:44 PM on November 13, 2005


I've pulled his posting rights.

But now we'll never get the confession we deserve.

Is it possible to contact the winners of his two recent (and expensive) auctions, whether to gently warn them or to ask if everything turned out alright?
posted by nobody at 7:46 PM on November 13, 2005


I didn't take it too far at all. If someone were to meet him face-to-face and come back with the impression that he really is legit, I'd feel a lot better about his questions. Maybe I'm dead naive, but I kinda trust a few of the folk around here to be capable of judging whether or not he's a scammer.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:50 PM on November 13, 2005


FWIW, if somebody is bidding hundreds of dollars on a Wal-Mart card that might contain anywhere from $5-500, I'm not sure they're the type of person who would research their trading partner. At all.

That said, a Googlebomb would still be pretty awesome, as would a couple (hundred?) e-mails of caution to eBay admin. If this guy's involved in any kind of actual fraud, he should be banned from eBay right now.
posted by SuperNova at 7:54 PM on November 13, 2005


Okay, better idea (I think)...

Why not mark posts (not comments, or at least not necessarily comments) from banned users with that information, and the Metatalk thread that established that status. mathowie shouldn't have to make potentially libelous claims about what may or may not be fraud, but if a user is banned it makes sense that the community should be told about it in a way that will reach most people.
posted by Chuckles at 8:08 PM on November 13, 2005


just ban him. Geez
posted by puke & cry at 8:15 PM on November 13, 2005


just ban him. Geez
posted by puke & cry at 8:15 PM PST on November 13

I've pulled his posting rights.
posted by mathowie at 6:18 PM PST on November 13


Wow. Thanks for reading the thread and making an insightful comment
posted by cyphill at 8:35 PM on November 13, 2005


potentially libelous claims

what the hell are you talking about? matt said he "looked like" a scammer, which is true. he didn't say he was a scammer. and matt can pull anyone's posting rights for any reason -- it's his site.
posted by spiderwire at 8:50 PM on November 13, 2005


In case there's any doubt, I just got an email from the bidder on the Sam's Club card auction and she hasn't even received the card yet.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:28 PM on November 13, 2005


Using the ebay negative search engine from mozdev, here's all negative feedback compiled (buy & sell) on his account.
-Super sub-junior member of MeFi Detective Agency.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 10:44 PM on November 13, 2005


airnxtz, if you're reading this: I need a new PowerBook, do you have one to sell me? email on profile page, thanks!
posted by matteo at 12:56 AM on November 14, 2005


We totally should have seen this on his previous question, which was even more obvious than this one. Props to LarryC and others who figured him out.

Oddly enough, he hasn't committed a crime yet, but this experience leaves me with the worst taste in my mouth. Consider this one example against providing answers to ethically/morally/legally questionable questions on the AskMe.
posted by onalark at 2:05 AM on November 14, 2005


Blimey, good work team, bonuses all round.
posted by chill at 4:39 AM on November 14, 2005


MegoSteve: Did she understand she was probably bidding on a $5 card? (or maybe the $50 if airntz has a tiny bit of good sense?)
posted by duck at 5:45 AM on November 14, 2005


Tuwa writes "On his myspace account he claims he's a student and is making over 250k a year--which, if true, doesn't fit with most student experiences I've witnessed."

Well, if you sell enough $5 cards for $225, you could eventually earn over 250k/year!
posted by clevershark at 6:32 AM on November 14, 2005


solid-one-love writes "block his IP address."

Please don't be calling for IP bannage, there is a good chance that either a) his IP will get recycled to some poor bastard on his cable loop or b) he is posting from his school (if he's actually in school) and his entire school (maybe mine) would be unable to post here.

IP banning is almost entirely uninteneded consequences.
posted by Mitheral at 7:57 AM on November 14, 2005


I should be stripped of my skeptic credentials for ever believing anything this asshole said. Well done, Larry C, et al.

P.S. Aaron, you are morally and physically repugnant and I look forward to the day when you bleed to death, alone, in a ditch.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:57 AM on November 14, 2005


I didn't take it too far at all. If someone were to meet him face-to-face and come back with the impression that he really is legit, I'd feel a lot better about his questions. Maybe I'm dead naive, but I kinda trust a few of the folk around here to be capable of judging whether or not he's a scammer.

I have a bridge to sell. Please contact five fresh fish for my character reference.
posted by timeistight at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2005


I've met timeistight, and he's of generally of good character. His one greatest flaw is that he seems to be rather delusional regarding ownership of the Lions Gate Bridge. If he tries to sell you this bridge -- or, in all likelihood, any other bridge -- please slowly back away while continuing to look him in the eye and asking him how much it would cost to ship.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on November 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else contact eBay Security + Fraud? After reading all these threads I ran to them and gave them as many details as I could. It looks like he hasn't done it yet.. but his reputation is awfully odd. All cheap seller-buy positives, his own selling feedback is negative..
posted by cavalier at 10:50 AM on November 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


That made me smile. This thread needed it. Well done for abusing our helpful nature, asshole.
posted by blag at 10:51 AM on November 14, 2005


This may have already been covered, but he sold two laptops on ebay on the 9th and 10th while this was going on.
posted by unixrat at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2005


A box of sand and a jug of water, you mean.
posted by klangklangston at 2:28 PM on November 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


But what kind of a super scam artist uses the same screen name to run the scam and to ask for scam advice?
posted by Mid at 7:51 PM on November 14, 2005


A stupid one.
posted by interrobang at 8:57 PM on November 14, 2005


One of the two folks who bought one joined MeFi to post a comment in the thread.
posted by fenriq at 9:20 PM on November 14, 2005


Guys, do not miss I Love Tacos' post in the askme thread.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:16 AM on November 15, 2005


So I decided to go ahead and email the eBay winner of the Wal-Mart card auction. Not very surprising, her reply:

About This Member
sandral907( 930)
Positive Feedback: 99.6%
Member Since: Feb-17-05
Location: AK, United States
Registered On: www.ebay.com


I have not recieved the card yet, but I am feeling that I got ripped off. I paid nearly $300 for this card. The seller contacted me that the listing was ended early and would I send a M.O. instead of using paypal. They said they were having trouble recieving payment throuh paypal. I paid because that seemed to be the thing to do to avoid bad feedback, but now I wish I hadn't. I think I have just lost a lot of money. Thanks for the heads up but since I paid with a M.O. I don't know if there is anything I can do. This is the second time this has happened to me this month and although I love buying on e bay, I think I will stop because I am now out around$500 with nothing to show. Thanks for your note. I recieved another this am from another fellow member regarding this same card. Have a great week.
Sandy


Truly, that wasn't the best of decisions to make. But that's how scammers make their fare.

It really does make me even more bitter towards this person, though.
posted by disillusioned at 6:19 AM on November 15, 2005


Hey, I'm glad my post in the AskMe thread got deleted. Sure would be a shame to offend a scam artist.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:44 AM on November 15, 2005


P.S. Fat, ugly, can't ejaculate, scammer, stalker. Kill youserself.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2005


Or yourself, whatever.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2005


So now what?

I'm actually kind of pissed off at this guy for using MeFi to help refine his scamming techniques.
posted by fenriq at 9:51 AM on November 15, 2005


Just as an update, I've talked to the Bakersfield police department and I'm awaiting a call back from a detective in the computer crime detail. He's definitely posting from a real Bakersfield Road Runner cable modem address. I'll keep everyone updated on the progress.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:03 PM on November 16, 2005


Go Captain Mathowie to the Rescue!! Wahoo!!!
posted by cavalier at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2005


Thank you, Matt.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:53 AM on November 18, 2005


Any updates yet? Anyone else contact CSUB or BPD?
posted by loquacious at 11:12 AM on November 20, 2005


The thread on AskMe is an incredible read. I am captured by how all this is going to turn out. Matt, keep us informed.
posted by sjvilla79 at 6:49 AM on November 23, 2005


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