News Culture

Scammers Love Using Fake Toyota Supra Barn Finds To Lure Enthusiasts

If the listing looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Man looking at suspicious ad on computer.
Andrew P. Collins (Adobe Stock, Toyota assets)

The internet is full of scams and stupid shit that’s meant to be funny, that’s always been the case and probably always will be. A few weeks ago, while perusing online classifieds for yet another broken-down car I do not need, I stumbled on a new one. A new scam, that is, not a new car, because nobody’s actually selling a classic Supra for a few grand.

Check this out:

Supra listing on facebook marketplace, with fake and stolen images

Lord. The “I think it’s a Mitsubishi?” description is super coy, like a thirteen-year-old kid on their first date trying to impress everyone by saying that their mom dropped them off at the mall alone. They know full well she’s been waiting in front of the Nespresso and Great American Cookie store this entire time, ready to take you home when your little date with that person you like and all of your friends is over with.

Anyways, it looks like the “seller” thinks we’re dumb. That obviously is not a Mitsubishi, it’s a MKIV Toyota Supra, one of the most currently coveted cars from the 1990s. That Supra has European plates, yet is listed in southern Michigan. The car is coated in dust, and the copy of the ad suggests that the owner wants to believe the lie that somehow they’ve just got an A30 Supra just dusty in a barn, that they don’t want. Yeah, I wasn’t born last night—that ad is clearly fake, the pictures in the ad are from a barn find of a Supra in Ireland that was blogged about a few years back.

Funny enough, that Irish Supra appeared again this week. Its likeness is still making the rounds on phony Facebook Marketplace ads. And now I’m guessing this won’t be the last time we see it, either.

But at first, I thought that was a one-off scam or somebody’s joke, until a few days later, I saw this:

Facebook marketplace ad of a likely fake Supra posting

Yep, another Supra, for an outrageously low price, listed with nonsensical copy, and images that are clearly stolen. I posted my images on Twitter, and one of my followers said they had seen a similar scam, with a similar enthusiast car.

At least from what I can tell, this looks to be a somewhat textbook phishing scam. In theory, the FB marketplace should be harder to implement scams, since each listing has to be connected to a Facebook profile. Still, Facebook profiles are hacked all the time—so any good scam artist can easily acquire a longstanding Facebook account to create bogus listings.

This new scam seems to be targeting people who have a modicum of auto enthusiasm. Us car geeks are always looking for the next undiscovered deal that nobody has access to. For a regular joe, a dusty Supra might look like any other coupe out there. But to a car person, this would seem like some huge, unbelievable deal.

Toyota Supra listed for sale near Cleveland
This car is supposedly near Cleveland, and yet all of the cars in this photo have EU-sized license plates? Kevin Williams

I did send messages to both vehicle owners, I figured maybe I could play along and see what their goal was there. Neither one replied though.

Commonly in a phishing scam, the seller will start out chatting about the vehicle, sometimes they may actually be knowledgeable about the car. Other times it’ll be painfully obvious that you’re talking to a robot. At some point in the transaction, the scammer will attempt to get payment from you, usually through very sketchy means. When they’ve got your money, then they disappear, without ever sending you the car.

These scams can be a bit more sophisticated and targeted. So watch your back, y’all!