Scams in Argentina (but not limited to)

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  • In lights of recent events, I have been reflecting on how many scams we have suffered (and some missed!) over the last decade.


    A recollection:

    -The dealership scam

    -The fake expat scam

    -The fake check scam



    Today's entry is The fake dollars scam (the ambush), of which I think I have never told you about

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    The fake dollars scam (the ambush)

    I was barely using my iPad mini, so I decided to put it up for sale. As usual, my husband took care of it and published it on Facebook and Alamaula (it still existed!). He was getting inquiries on Alamaula, but they all seemed dodgy. Then he got contacted over Facebook by a girl. They moved the conversation over whatsapp. She asked if he would accept dollar bills because she had just arrived from Cuba. Her Spanish was not the local variant, my husband recalled later. She wanted to meet him at the subway stop Palermo, which is very crowded and not a nice area (lots of lowlivers hanging there). My husband offered to meet at the McDonald's across the street. She tried to decline claiming she was a young girl in a new town and wouldn't feel safe going somewhere she didn't know. My husband said that it would have been safer for both to meet in an indoor public place. She reluctantly agreed too meet at the McDonald's.


    However, my husband had already noticed some red flags: she wanted to meet on the street in a crowded place, where he had to take out an expensive piece of electronics in exchange for USD bills from a Cuban girl who had just moved to Buenos Aires.

    So, last second he changed the meeting place to the Starbucks in Alto Palermo. I suggested that place because I knew there was a security guard by the door. We sat there for a hour waiting for the girl. She never showed up. My husband tried to call her over whatsapp, but it was disconnected.

    So we went home. Later that night, she said her battery phone had died while she was out and she wanted to reschedule. At the same time, my husband got contacted over Alamaula by another person who knew the iPad was still available...


    I don't know if we missed getting fake bills or a robbery.

    That time, I learned that bringing in expensive electronics for resale is a very dumb idea in this country, regardless of the potential markup.


    The wrong-amount wire transfer scam

    This came up in my feed last night.


    A girl from Venezuela who lives in the US has a nice colonial home in her native Venezuela, that she rents out to tourists. She found a prospect tenant and they agreed on a price ($790/month). He sent a wire transfer for $4900 'by mistake'. He said his bank couldn't cancel the transfer, and asked to please help him and to send back the incorrect amount. He got confused with another business expenses - he explained.


    The girl saw the $4900 wire transfer, and her balance had gone up of $4900, as well.

    She proceeded to wire back $4900. However, she failed to noticed that the transaction was shown as "pending". On the next day, we transaction was gone... but so her $4900.

    And the worst hasn't come yet - then she was blackmailed. They wanted her naked picture to return the monye (not gonna happen). She was brave to denounce this.


    Asking for help to her bank, they said there wasn't nothing they could do because she did initiate the wire transfer.

    On the various comments to the video, someone suggested to contact the FBI and someone else said that this way, they were able to get the scammers arrested and their money returned.


    I can't find again the original video, but this girls speaks about the original video and explains in detail how it works.


    https://fb.watch/rKuJAx_m1y/

  • My missus looks after all the business stuff as I'd be totally useless at it here. In the UK it was the other way around. She's very astute at sussing out those who might be up to no good so always stays well clear.

  • I think in any moment, no matter what you know or how smart you are you can make a bad judgment and that happens in an instant. I find I just shut down and not get involved with anyone to keep safe. And that means losing some wholesome opportunities at times I think

  • 2 remax agents tried robbing me of my 400$ deposit, they told me they would give me bhakc my deposit and tried through different tactics and threats to keep it. In the end, they handed it back to me, but they're suing me with criminal charges Código Penal Nacional - Artículo 142.

    I will go to trial with them as they're suing me but they tried robbing me, I just don't understand this logic from an ethical perspective but can understand it form a legal strategy perspective.

    I'm looking for advice on how would you guys solve this case or how you'd go about it.?
    also if it's something common in Argentina that people sue you like this, especially as a foreigner, they're somehow all trying to take advantage of our lack of understanding which I understand in businessm but this is not business, this is a theft.

  • Our last STR tenant had to hire a lawyer to get her deposit back from Remax.

    Remax has a terrible reputation in Argentina, at least among expats. Provided that it is a franchise, so each branch should be assessed individually, when you are an expat and the only recurring name that is mentioned negatively, it sticks!


    I can ask my former tenant her lawyer’s contact, if you are interested. She paid usd 100 to the lawyer to get her deposit back. I have no idea how much the deposit was, but from the bits here and there in her account, I believe around usd 1500.

    She was being charged a 20% commission, then she realized it was not normal, tried to overcome this, and got burned.


    I am not sure about the current rental legal framework since Miles took office, but our former tenant was fluent in Spanish and she was frustrated by what she was told at the brokerage was not what it was written in the contract. She said that finding another STR was much more challenging than in Mexico, and she didn’t expect it.

  • I was there on a tourist Visa, and I got my money back by myself the next day. I closed the door on both agents and left with the keys, hence the lawsuit. They tried robbing me, I mean, they tried once they couldn't, then trust is lost, the next day I just bluntly asked for my money, no "hola" and left them inside, this is insane, I was scared for my life, almost questionning if they were real ReMax agents because the company has good reputation in other parts of the world. I guess they finally met one that stood up, they were shitting their pants thinking dramatically that something would happen to them, as if a tourist would waste his time for 400$, I just lost my patience, it's too many scams in the country, I'm sure they did it to others, otherwise they wouldn't have tried with me.

    It's great to hear their reputation amongst expats, gives me hope, can't believe I have to face this non sense, hopefully it'll be fine with the law, unless they're so big and the judge might have a cousin in the business, just speculating here.

    I have a lawyer now which should be fine although i have had costs ranging from 400$ to 3000$. Obviously an outlier here. Current lawyer is asking for 500$ to take on the case, does it actually make sense to pay that much for criminal lawyers in Argentina.?

    Thank you guys for the answers, it's absolutely helpful.
    We'll see what happens and will keep you guys posted. They probably built the case with extra BS, maybe they broke some stuff in the apartment saying I did it or whatever...god knows... + it's 2 lawyers so I'm guessing they thought it through.


    Yes I did pay 20% as well, actually she asked for 25% --- should've been travelling with a 3rd world country passport, probably wouldn't have tried that 25% on me.

    I actually deposited the commission to her personal account at the bank, not remax's.
    And back then, last year, the law allowed the deal for short term rentals to be negociated between usually 10% and 20%. Although, btw, lots of illegal, random made up real estate agents with no liscence have been operating this way renting to expats for say 1 months commission on 3 months term.
    If that can help. That market was already kind of a self regulated one in its obscurity, I wouldn't think it changed with Milei, although if I undertand well, Inventory has increaed lately and prices dropped.


  • I'm looking for advice on how would you guys solve this case or how you'd go about it.?
    also if it's something common in Argentina that people sue you like this, especially as a foreigner, they're somehow all trying to take advantage of our lack of understanding which I understand in businessm but this is not business, this is a theft.

    I have no advice, but Remax is terrible here in Argentina. After bad rental (ten years ago) and house buying (5 years ago) experiences, I now ignore all listings or contact from them. I also now reject their calls when the USA offices call to propose service with my realtor needs there.