We’ve finally decided to sell our little Rav 4, which generally sits around in a garage (158 Euros a month) and has its battery go flat. Poor thing, we never really use it.
It even flew through its ‘revisione’, which is the Italian equivalent of the UK MOT – or the mechanical check that is required by law for cars over a certain age.
Here in Italy you need to have your car tested every two years after it has reached an age of 4 years. This is a little better than the UK where older cars need to be tested every year – which, in the case of cars over ten years old or so, is probably a good thing. Anyway, the car passed and only its rather substantial bullbar raised eyebrows a little. Useful thing though, because it discourages ‘bump parking’ and also seems to ensure that people drive a little more circumspectly when they see the dimensions of the thing which gives the impression that they may come off worse in the event of contact. Although, I’m not too sure the thing is still considered legal, due to the fact that it can potentially inflict quite a lot of damage, not so much to other vehicles, but to poor pedestrians.
So, I decided to place an ad for the car, and this being the 21st century and all that, I decided to place a couple of ads on-line. Seemed like a good idea. However, even though the on-line ad has generated a number of responses, they have not been the kind of responses you would like to have got. The replies have usually been written in rather poor English and it is not clear from where this, er, ‘potential purchaser’ hails. Some of these people come to the point fairly quickly – they state that they have a cashiers cheque for, lets say 10000 Euros, and so they will pass this to me and I will then send them the difference. 10000 Euros minus price of car, say 5000 Euros. Only you will never see any money and just find yourself out of pocket to the tune of 5000 Euros. You are probably getting the idea by now – its a scam, big time. If you are really unwary you could end up sending one of these people all your personal and bank details, only to find that the police would come knocking on your door one nice day to say that your name and bank account has been connected to a money laundering scheme. Try explaining yourself out of it. You may be able to, but you would need to spend quite some time with a few curious fraud squad officers, which may not be the best way to pass a Sunday afternoon.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Some of these ‘scamsters’ are quite clever and don’t mention the dodgy cheque routine until you have sent them some more details and stated your final price. I can be difficult to understand that it is all an act and you have to be mighty careful not to reveal too much about yourself.
I just wander how many people have been unwittingly conned by these schemes – non-internet savvy people may quite easily get themselves into quite deep water. The trouble is that not many people really know about this side of the internet. The powers that be here have been running adverts telling people how naughty it is to make copies of software, but there has been no campaign to alert people to the dangers of the world wide web and IMHO there should be, no, there must be, otherwise people may go right off the web and insist on doing business by traditional face to face means. We shall see.