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How I was almost scammed on a set of Authentic BBS LM Wheels on VWVortex…

USED BBS LM Wheels For Sale

Buying used car parts through automotive forums can be a great way to buy parts you couldn’t afford otherwise. Case in point – the elusive BBS LM wheels, my favorite wheels of all time. The BBS LMs cost $1179.00 a piece on VividRacing, which is one of the best prices I can find anywhere. That adds up to a mind boggling $4,716.00 for the set, and then you still need tires. I’ve wanted these wheels since I was a kid, and always have an eye out for a used set at a price I can afford.

Low and behold, my dream wheels get posted on VWVortex 5×112 Classifieds the other day for $2,000. Over half off new! I’ve seen them fetch between $2,500-3000, so I thought this was going to be a great deal. And sure enough – it was too good to be true. This guy was a pure con-artist who actually came very close to nabbing my money.

Here’s how it worked:

He registers as S4U on VWvortex and posts these wheels in the classifieds section here: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4946047-BBS-LM-Wheels-19X8.5-(32mm)

He claims to prefer “local buyers” – this turns out to be a complete lie, but it makes him look like he wouldn’t be afraid to meet face to face and provides a good cover story/alibi. Several local NYCers indeed contact him that are very interested – he ignores all of their messages

I happen to see his post – I’m in Arizona but I want these wheels bad enough I contact him anyway and offer to pay shipping. He responds immediately and calls me several times throughout the day. Things start moving quickly. We settle on a price of $1850 after chatting on the phone.

He wants the money sent via WesternUnion or MoneyGram – RED ALERT! He claims he no longer has a PayPal Account & was planning on selling these local for cash, so he wasn’t sure on how to accept money otherwise. A somewhat believable story, as he did say he preferred local buyers and is going out of his way to ship to me. I read up on WesternUnion & Moneygram and it is very clear sending money through these services is a very bad idea. Hell, even WesternUnion says not to send money through WesternUnion for online purchases when you don’t know the seller…

I offer to pay half up front, and half when I get them. I ask him to send a picture proving he owns them, with him holding a card with his name and the date. I don’t want to let go of this great deal, even though I have a bad feeling about it – maybe we can still make it work?? But then the picture he sends looks off – there are BMW center caps, the wheels have a much deeper dish, and something seems fishy. I start to really get freaked out.

versus the original pic he sent of the wheels:

Looking at the “evidence” pic he sent now, it’s clear they are replicas and not real BBS LMs anyway – the valve stem is black plastic versus metal, BBS is not stamped on the face and around the lug nuts, the finish doesn’t look right and obviously the center caps missing are all signs of replicas. The lips are also way bigger in the picture he sent to me, indicating they’re probably staggered fitment for a BMW.

I then google every bit of information I have about him. His name, Rishi Bachew, turns up nothing (could have been a fake name). I google his phone number, 347-387-9658 but nothing really comes up. His email address, tntheat15@aol.com – turns up several results of other items he’s tried to sell. It also turned up this post: http://www.pandahi.com/US/1000116833.html which reads:

urgentt job wanted by 20 year old male

WHATS UP GUYS I’M LOOKING FOR A JOB I’M 20 YEARS OF AGE AND IS LOOKING FOR A JOB EITHER IN QUEENS OR AROUND THE BOROUGH I CAN TRAVEL MY WAY AROUND SO THAT WONT BE ANY PROBLEM GETTING TO WHERE EVER I’M LOOKING FOR A JOB EITHER HELPING SOMEONE I CAN WORK CONSTRUCTION, MOVING ECT!!! I’M VERY FRIENDLY/PRODUCTIVE IF YOU HAVE A JOB AVAILABLE OR KNOWS SOMEONE HELP ME OUT WILLING TO START ASAP!!!! email me @ tntheat15@aol.com if you have something or may know someone! thanks

I google the post title, “urgentt job wanted by 20 year old male” and find many duplicate postings. Many of the posts on other automotive boards are under the alias SOFLY00. I google “SOFLY00” and bingo – tons of threads about him scamming. I even find the same wheels posted elsewhere in other threads dating back 7 months ago! As far as I can tell, SOFLY00 has been accused of fraud on at least a half dozen automotive boards for trying to sell wheels. In each case, he pretends he’s only interested in local buyers, and then when the person from afar contacts him, he pretends like he was planning on accepting cash and that’s why he doesn’t have paypal and can only accept WesternUnion or Moneygram. He seems to be using new aliases now, but the threads will always be from New York City/Queens, a newly registered poster, horrible english & grammar (soldddddd), and claim to prefer local buyers.

Here is all of the evidence on SOFLY00 I could find:

I also enlisted a friend to determine if the picture he sent me with his name and today’s date was altered or photoshopped at all – and if definitely was. Check out these pictures, as well as this analysis that also indicates some form of tampering: http://www.errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/bad7a85/

But the best part of all – I found his audition profile for MTV’s NextOrNot – AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

SOFLY00

WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT BUYING USED PARTS THROUGH ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS & AUTOMOTIVE FORUMS

  1. Never, ever, EVER! pay with WesternUnion, MoneyGram, or Money Order if you do not know the person. Always insist on PayPal – they have purchase protection, and scammers will not use it.
  2. Always google the crap out of every bit of information the seller gives you – their email address, phone number, name, home address, anything they can give you.
  3. No matter how much evidence they give you, such as pictures claiming they own the wheels, willingness to meet locals, etc., always be skeptical. All of this “evidence” can be faked.
  4. If it’s a smoking deal, that’s another reason to doubt the legitimacy of it.
  5. Only buy from sellers that can provide references. Many forums like Audizine have a classifieds systems with a feedback mechanism built in, so I can see that the seller has sold other parts to other buyers and the transaction went well. For instance, here is my Audizine classifieds feedback: http://www.audizine.com/classifieds/member.php?uid=8598&ppaction=readfeed

That being said, I wont’ stop buying parts from automotive forums & online classifieds altogether, I’ll just be sure to use even more caution, only buy from trusted sellers via PayPal or in person, and always be on guard for the next scammer. In hindsight, SOFLY00 had some pretty clever moves and could have fooled anyone, I just got lucky and did my homework to uncover some nasty results on Google.

Postscript: Since writing this post, at least four others have chimed in the comments below with similiar dealings with this person, Rishi Bachew in Jamaica/Queens, New York (NYC). He is a thief and scum-bag who posts highly sought after wheels for cheap yet semi-believable prices. Thank you to everyone who has chimed in the comments, and I am so incredibly happy to have helped out a few enthusiasts along the way who may have otherwise been scammed by Rishi Bachew.

Nick Roshon

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

35 thoughts on “How I was almost scammed on a set of Authentic BBS LM Wheels on VWVortex…”

  1. I was reading your post and getting more and more frustrated. It really annoys me that people are trying to pull scams like this. How many other people have been caught out by this guy before you? Good on you for posting his details – he deserves to be as scammed himself! It just shows its always worth buying from a reputable dealer. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Hey Nick, thanks for the heads up on this guy. This guy is clearly a scumbag and needs to be stopped. I know people in NYC included a couple of detectives who can also pass the word to keep an eye out for this guy. There are people like this all over the internet so buyers beware!

  3. I am laughing soo freakin’ hard right now!!!! You just do not understand…
    1: I’m tickled you didn’t get jipped by this tool.
    2: Isn’t the power of the WWW simply Amazing?!
    3: Thanks for the great insightful information and that link to the jpeg forensic stuff…crazy!
    4: And Most Importantly….Super Big Thanks for the Video! 🙂 You so completely rock…and you just made my evening!

  4. Nice detective work. I’ve been burned for abotu $2k over the years buying used parts. It’s frustrating, but for for those amazing deals a little PITA is worth it.

  5. Thanks Derek – I totally agree…the risk comes with the territory. I wish Vortex would implement a feedback system like Audizine did as I think that helps, but I guess all I can do is be careful and call out the scammers as we seem em.

  6. Hey Nick…..you should have bought my LM’s…..LOL!!! I had the real deal for a smoking hot price. I sold them and am building a one-off staggered set for another member on the forum I sponsor….but they were for sale for a while!!! Heck….this scammer even used my pics to email people…LOL!!! Good work in exposing him Bro!!! I still have all kinds of sick wheels for sale, so check out my threads on MBWORLD!!! Here is a link the MY LM thread:

    http://www.mbworld.org/forums/wheels-tires/353586-19×8-5-bbs-lm-32mm-2300-00-a.html

    B. Gorman

  7. LOL, nice post man. This kid is at it again. He had a macbook pro posted up locally in the SF craigslist ads, I responded, seemed fishy so I googled him and found your post. So I emailed him back with the mtv picture you posted asking if that was him.

  8. @B. Gorman – I totally saw your thread when I was investigating, but I think it was too late to make an offer as you were already in the process of widening the rears to 10″ – do you have a website that lists used wheels for sale? Or just in the MBWorld forums? Either way, keep up the good work and let me know if you get another set of 19×8.5 BBS LMs in 5×112 ET32ish!

  9. Nice!! Glad to hear it helped you out, especially the shirtless pic, lol! It seems like his favorite items to sell are Apple products and high-end wheels.

  10. He did it again on the Nissan GTR Owners Club site, selling GTR wheels and tires at a very low price. He just posted his add yesterday. I responded, and he called back. I googled his cell number and found your article. Same “local pick up preferred” in NY. I outed him today and he changed his post to “solddd” to try to cover his tracks. Here’s the thread if you’re curious. The net’s a small world!

    http://www.nagtroc.org/forums/index.php?s=9364c6d081eb922b94340afc63a1869b&showtopic=43156

  11. Unreal! You are the third or fourth person who found this post and was able to use it to uncover his scams. Thanks for letting me know, and I’m stoked I’ve been able to do something to help.

  12. AWESOME! Way to go 🙂 Sucks one guy lost his $650 but at least it prevented another loss. This is the first confirmation his name is actually Rishi Bachew and that’s not just an alias, so that’s good to know.

    Writing this post and exposing this guy is my proudest moment of blogging to date. So stoked to see it effective in preventing this guy from scamming!

  13. Thank you for exposing this guy to everyone…

    honestly, after reading your article i am now afraid making online transactions such as buying… =(

  14. Same deal over on Maxima.org. No link seeing as he pulled the sale, but he posted some M45 wheels about a month ago, I came across his scams on the Nicoclub forums and called him on it. Then just yesterday I see him posting G37 wheels again, so I posted again and he pulled his ad within about 20 minutes this time. Glad his exploits have been so well documented now.

  15. Wow…ridiculous. Thanks for commenting here and letting everyone know – the more scams we expose, the better. It sucks to see such an a**hole do this, we’re all a bunch of car gals (and gals) swapping parts and enjoying our hobby, this guy is screwing things up for everyone.

  16. Sorry to hear that. I’m guessing he’ll probably keep changing his name & email and keep it up. Someone needs to hunt down this asshat and teach him a lesson.

  17. Good find & good work doing your background research 🙂 It looks like uses a variety of tools to peddle his non existant goods (forums, Craigslist, and I’m sure others), basically just anything unmoderated.

  18. This guy got me for like 900 dollars. He pulled this exact scam on me for a set of G37 wheels. He said he was in Queens/ Jamaica. I got all his e-mails. Same Tnt email or whatever. Rishi Bachew name. Western Union and all. I told him to show me a picture of the receipt from the post office before I would send him the money. He showed me a picture not showing the weight portion. Decided not to get too anal or suspicious. Got an empty spider man DVD case in the mail. So is Rishi Bachew his real name because I’m searchin for this guy. How can he pick up money on an alias. You need ID right? Anyways, I appreciate this site. Been very helpful.

  19. I’m really sorry to hear that. Yes he would need an ID to pick up the cash, but I don’t think it’s that hard to get a fake ID in New York, so we can’t be 100% certain that’s his name, but given all of the other info we’ve collected on him, I think it’s a safe bet that at least his first name is Rishi. I think we have enough cases of fraud documented here to submit a report to the FBI – I can’t report it since technically he didn’t get any of my money or fraud me (just attempted to), but you could:

    Form to report fraud to the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud

    Also report it to the IC3: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

    And here is more info from usa.gov on how to report fraud: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Internet_Fraud.shtml#Reporting_Internet_Fraud

  20. I’m happy to hear this scumbag didn’t get your money. The sad thing is he is probably still doing it. Your whole story sounds a little too familiar. I was in the market for a set BBS RS and I just like you am a member on Vortex. I found a set in the 5/112 classifieds and contacted the seller. He had pics of the wheels but only on a car which would be easy enough to get. He said that he lived in Brevard County which is a three hour drive from where I live but when I asked about looking at them in person he claimed to have moved. His join date was recent and he had very few posts. All red flags! We spoke briefly about money he claimed he wanted to get the wheels to me asap and that it would be better if he just gave me his banking info and I deposited the money directly into his account. Even with all these red flags I asked him to take a wheel off & show me pics of the BBS stamp on the inside of the wheel, this is when he just couldn’t find the time & I gave up. For all I know it’s the same person. The first red flag for me was his join date & low post count but once he even suggested that I deposit money directly into his account, I knew it was a scam. These people prey on someone wanting something so bad that they forget to use their head. I’m sure just about everyone knows by now not to send money to someone you don’t know without any recourse.

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