Online Harley scam was too good to be true
VIDEO AT END OF ARTICLE
MILWAUKEE — With Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration weeks away, FOX6′s Contact 6 says it’s important to be aware of an online Harley scam looking to rip folks off. One man called Contact 6 after a great deal on a motorcycle left him in the dust.
People all around the world know about Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson, and many dream of owning a bike.
“Since I’m 40, I could afford a Harley-Davidson. It’s the machine, it’s the power, it’s the sound,” Mark Zielinski said.
Zielinski says he saw a 2008 police issue bike for $4,800 online and fell in love.
“Well I can’t beat it. It’s a steal. It was a 105th edition, painted black. And the guy was advertising that he did some work to it, had extra chrome put on it. I mean, that’s like a candy — a kid in a candy store,” Zielinski said.
Zielinski immediately contacted the seller — a man who said his NAME was Gustavo. They exchanged plenty of emails, and even talked on the phone. Gustavo said he worked for a cruise line and couldn’t ride the bike since it was in Italy and not registered.
Gustavo said he was selling the bike so cheap because he was going through a divorce and had to unload it.
Zielinski said he was skeptical, but Gustavo said the deal with COD cash on delivery . He even said that once the bike was shipped, Zielinski had “another two days to inspect” the bike, to see if there were “any issues with the bike.”
Somehow, during their conversations, and after Zielinski had his heart set on the bike, the deal changed — and Gustavo asked Zielinski for a down payment of $2,500.
“You know I told my wife if this turns out to be an online Harley scam, I`m going to hunt somebody down. I have his picture. I`m going,” Zielinski said.
Sure enough, despite all the great-looking paperwork from the movers, and even a receipt, the bike was a no-show on delivery day and Gustavo didn’t answer his phone or email.
“I just wanted to kill somebody,” Zielinski said.
Instead, Zielinski reached out to FOX6′s Contact 6, after finding out the shipping papers were fake. Britannia Movers International is a real company, but it’s website says it is aware of a new scam — that fraudsters have been “impersonating Britannia.”
Zielinski says he wants it exposed so what happened to him, doesn’t happen to anyone else.
Contact 6 has some tips:
- An unbelievable price is a big red flag on anything you buy
- Another warning sign: the story of being overseas and going through a hardship like divorce or illness
- Search the seller’s email address online, through scamshield.com
- ScamDigger.com shows pictures commonly used by con artists who all say they’re out of the country and need to sell quick or want a relationship
- An app called Google Goggles OPENs up a phone’s camera, and then you can take a picture of anything for it to analyze
- Contact 6 searched cruise ship logos, found Celebrity Cruises and sent them a picture — asking whether Gustavo is a real cruise line employee.
In the end, Zielinski’s money is gone — just like his dream of riding in Harley’s 110th parade.
“Now I’m here to let everybody know, that if you’re trying to buy a Harley, don’t do it online,” Zielinski said “Don’t fall for an online Harley scam”