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MG MGA - I got Scammed by Peter Lynch :(

It is all my fault and I wish I would have seen the thread on this BBS from Gordon Harrison back in early March. The problem is thatI am restoring a '63 MGB so my ventures into MGA land are very infrequent.

A few weeks back I placed an ad on this and other BBS' Classified section seeking NOS parts for my '63. The ad is still there by the way. And along comes this Peter Lynch guy claiming he has everything I want. Then I provide the Actual BMC Part # from my Service Parts list along with specific requirements (e.g. the oil flex line has a blue thread going through it, etc). Of course Peter says he has everything and wants me to Western Union to him 420 GBP and that upon receipt, he would send me everything UPS and provide a tracking #. So this is a pretty extensive list of parts and I am thinking that if he has the original Grill surrounds and a couple of the other parts correct, I am getting a pretty good deal. The guy writes like an Englishman and a couple of my MG friends have heard of the guy somewhere back....

So like an idiot, I take out $700 and Western Union it to this snake over in London and provide him with the MTCN #. Next thing you know I get an email with a blurb saying the guy got a call from UPS and my parts are being held in customs awaiting a "Clearance Tax receipt" later changed t a "Customs Tax Receipt" and that since the UPS Officer in Charged has traveled to Nigweria, I should send over anoth 110GBP and Peter will get things back on track.

OK now there are bells and whistles going off in my head and I have a buddy on the MGB Experience check into the phone # and address Peter provided out of London....All fictitious....I call UPS and they say they would never pull a stunt like this...

Another buddy sends me the archived article from this BBS.

Lessons Learned:
1) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Never buy anything from a person unless you can prove he is legit either through references or via having someone physically visit his "warehouse"
3) Never pay through Western Union.
4) Get an itemized quote before proceeding and make sure the guy knows something about LBCs.

This is the first time in my 47 years that I have been conned. It sucks and the more we can do to prevent others from going through this experience, the better off we all will be.


M Feig

That really sucks, but why do you say it's your fault? He's the thief, not you.

Don't have any good advice to give, unfortunately.

Darian Henderson

Marc, This is absolutely scandalous and the very least that should happen is that this guy should be named on the wanted ads. site. There's nothing, of course, to prevent him changing his name but if the disclosure is repeated he might get the message. Personally, I think the police should get involved because I cannot see that it would be very difficult to track him as the money will eventually land up in his account.
I'll make some enquiries. Mike
m.j. moore

Mike, as it's Western Union there is no way to track. More than likely in Nigeria.

Definitely should be a warning on the wanted board.

The payment method is always the biggest clue, if in doubt ask a technical or very specific question about what the person has to offer.
Neil McGurk

Neil, Do you know (or does anyone else know) who is in overall charge of these forums because a more obvious and explicit warning should be in evidence on these wanted Ad sites. There is a caution in very small print right at the very end where people might not notice. I phoned the Metropolitan Police earlier but they weren't helpful at all - they referred me to a website that was taken down some time ago! I got the impression that they didn't want to know. Mike
m.j. moore

Sorry to hear that Marc - a lesson to be learned by us all.
Cam Cunningham

I will not buy anything anymore unless the seller accepts PayPal. Even if it's eBay, I won't do a check, money order, or wire transfer. I did it once, on eBay, and the item took about a week longer than it should have, there was no tracking number, and I had paid with a money order. I was fortunate that I was not being scammed. My buddy almost got caught in a Western Union scam involving an MGB engine, but I was able to convince him not to do it. Sorry you got ripped off, but thanks for sharing so others don't have the same happen.
Mark J Michalak

I have bought parts from all over the world--here is how you protect yourself from getting scammed. If the sale is not through e-bay:
1. Require the seller to send you pictures of the part for sale.
2. Get a phone number and call the seller.
3. Have the seller send an invoice through the PayPal system and pay using only PayPal with the PayPal protection guarantee.
4. Require a tracking number on the shipment.
James Johanski

Just as a follow up:

I called Western Union today and they verified that Peter Lynch did in fact get the money from a London office. I was also told that in London, 2 forms of picture ID are required and the address and phone # Peter provided was different than what he gave me. We filed a Fraud Complaint at Western Union and I authorized anyone from Law Enforcement to have access to the records.

I called the local police and was referred to the FBI who referred me to the Internet Crimes website which is

My only hope is that there are several others out there that have filed complaints so that perhaps Law Enforecement will follow up.

Believe it or not, this jerk is still emailing me trying to get me to send money to NIgeria....
M Feig

Sorry to here about your story Marc.

BBC did a program a while ago about another scan involving western union. I think this was the one:

I didn't find the answers given by their nominated spokesman instilled any confidence in me ever using their service.

email the BBC Watchdog and you maybe able to get some UK advice.

Mark Hester

I second the advise about paypal. The only way I would not use paypal is only when I can go and pick it up for cash. Paypal is insurance for both partys.
WMR Bill

I am very sorry. The clue that got me going was this guy want several hundred pounds for a part of windshield trim that is an inch long.

As it is stated on Ebay,never ,never,never use Western Union to make a payment for anything. Gordon Harrison
Gordon Harrison


I have emailed Mike Plumstead (webmaster) to read the thread and (hopefully) give us a response about a suitable warning notice etc.

Steve Gyles

I have moved this text to the top of the classifieds page:

Important: We have no control over who views these pages, that of course would be impossible. It has come to our attention that some people selling their cars have been approached by un-scrupulous third parties (often from Africa, Turkey, Germany and the UK). Please be vigilant before accepting any offers or dealing with people especially those requesting Western Union payments. We cannot take responsibility for any outcome resulting from advertising your car or items within these pages.

Emails received by members have always had a warning in them.
Mike Plumstead

I hate to see this happen to anyone, but this is what I call a lesson to the school of hard knocks. The good news is , it only cost you $700 for this lesson. I have had many lessons from this school and I make sure I LEARN from them. It was not a lot of money to make you go broke, but enought to make you say ouch!!!! As everyone has said, DO NOT use Western Union as the money can be picked up anywhere in the world and you will never find the person. I put an ad in for a car to sell and I had 3 different people who wanted to buy it and send me a check for over the amout of my asking price and then wanted me to Western Union the difference to their car carrier to take the car from me. The scam is the check is fake and once you Western Union the money, you never hear from them again. It can take up to 3 weeks for the check to bounce. I called one of the companies who check I had and they said it was fake and this same person has done this before. I ended up getting $12,0000 more than the price of the asking price of the car in fake checks.!!!!!

I appreciate the note, Mike. Like it was just said, I took a lesson from the school of hard knocks but just want to let everyone else there to not have to share the same experience. It certainly puts a damper on the project.....Oh well, back to square one looking for correct NOS parts for my '63 MGB.
M Feig

This thread was discussed between 05/04/2009 and 06/04/2009

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