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I Fell Victim to the White Van Speaker Scam

Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award-nominated author based out of Juneau, Alaska.


Me, played by Me

Long Haired Guy, played by Stephen Dorff

Short guy, played by Shaquille O Neal

Bank teller, played by Jessica Alba

Yes, it’s true, I , PDXKaraokeGuy, Mr. Frugal himself, world renowned writer (well, maybe later), fell victim to the white van speaker scam.

For those unfamiliar with the scam, here’s a rundown of how it happened.

Our victim. He's young and naïve, but strikingly handsome.

Our victim. He's young and naïve, but strikingly handsome.

Stephen Doff, our head con man

Stephen Doff, our head con man

in a  non speaking role. He drives the van

in a non speaking role. He drives the van

Jessica Alba. Shes a bank teller, but not a very good one. Hired strictly for her good looks.

Jessica Alba. Shes a bank teller, but not a very good one. Hired strictly for her good looks.

the white van, which carried the speaker

the white van, which carried the speaker


Act 1, Scene One (note, there is only one act)

It's the early 2000s and it's a bright sunny day in Portland, Oregon. The camera opens on a white van lurking in a busy parking lot in a strip mall, near a bank. The drivers of the van see their target and approach him target, the target is a young man in his early twenties. His naiveté is somewhat endearing because he is strikingly handsome and charming.

Stephen Dorff: (from the passenger seat, whispers loudly) Hey.

Me: (looks around, quizzically. Sees a white cargo van directly in front of him.) Who me?

SD: Yes. Hey. I’m in trouble. Do you think you can help me out?

Scroll to Continue

M: I dunno.

SD: I’m in deep shit, man. I work for an electronics company and I have to make this delivery. The problem is, my boss gave me two more speakers then were actually ordered by the client and if I come back to my shop with the extra speakers, he’ll fire me. He’s a real hard ass.

M: Huh? What can I do?

SD: Tell you what, man. I’ll sell them to you. Real cheap. They’re good speakers, man. They retail at like two grand. Each.

M: (looks and sees the driver of the van staring straight ahead. He seems very serious) I don’t think so. That doesn’t interest me. What brand are they?

SD: Stony.

M: Sony?

SD: NO, Stony, they’re real legit… look. (Dorff exits the van and the van parks. In his hands, Dorff is carrying a binder. He opens to a section that says Stony and points. ) See! Right there! Two grand. Retail.

M: (tries to grab the binder, but it’s snapped back.)

SD: Just look. I can’t let you touch it.

M: (looks.) They do look legit. I’ve never heard of them.

SD: Ya man, their new. Anyway, I’ll part with them, real cheap. How’s $1000 sound?

M: I don’t have that kind of money.

SD: Do you have a credit card?

M: Yes.

SD: Just go into that bank right there and get a cash advance.

M: (looks towards the bank.) Hmm. I think I can only do $400.

SD: $400? These are $2000 speakers.

M: Well, have a nice day, then. I hope you don’t get fired.

SD: Hold on. (Dorff walks back to the van and appears to be discussing something with SO. We cannot hear what they are discussing. After a short time, he comes back and shrugs.) Alright. Four hundred is fine. Let’s go.

M: Go where?

SD: To the bank.

M: I can meet you back here.

SD: No man, I’ve been in that van all day. Besides, you seem like a cool dude. We could hang out for a minute.

M: (shrugs) alright.

The pair walk to the bank and a discussion occurs. Typically small talk like what do you do for work? What music do you like? Are you sure you can’t do more, like $800? M stands firm. They reach the bank teller. She is full lipped and dark skinned. Both SD and M are enamored with her instantly.

Bank Teller/Jessica Alba: Hello. How can I help you?

M: Hi. I’d like to take out a cash advance on my Discover Card .

BT/JA: (eyes the pair suspiciously) Okay. How much?

M: My limit is $400.

SD: can you check if it’s higher than that?

M: My limit is $400.

BT/JA: Raises her eye brows but completes the task.

M: Thanks.

The pair walk back through the parking lot.

SD: Where you parked. I’ll load them for you. Can I get that money?

M: I’m parked over here. You don’t get the money until I check out the speakers.

SD: I’ll follow you in the van to your car.

M: Okay.

They approach M’s car and the speakers are quickly loaded in by SD. He then snatches the money out of M’s hand.

SD: Thanks man! (They shake hands and SD drives off.)

M gets into his car and quickly makes some phone calls. He plans to turn around and sell them for $600, but a sale never materializes. He won’t find out until the final act that the speakers are actually make from cheap wood and paper and are worth around $200. He has been scammed.

To learn more about the white van speaker scam, click this link and watch the videos.

The moral of the story is: if something seems too good to be true and somewhat odd, it probably is. Never hand your money over to a stranger, especially a stranger offering to unload for cheap something every valuable. It’s either not as valuable as they claim it is, or it’s stolen. Let Justin’s $400 lesson be enough to keep you from making the same mistake.

Don't forget about Gramma Ursula!

Thanks for Reading.


Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on December 20, 2012:

tobusiness, they are good at what they do... and they only need one person to make a big rip off and make some cash. It's a numbers game.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 07, 2012:

We all like to think that we would see them coming from a mile away, but these people are extremely good at what they do. I hope I'll never come across one. A great hub.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on June 30, 2012:

Alexander, I was in my early twenties and still living at home when this happened. I'd like to think I'm wiser, now, in the ways of the world. This scam has actually gone viral.... Nationwide :-)

Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on June 24, 2012:

Oh yeah, I was so confused by the "deal" the first time it happened to me because who the heck sells expensive speakers in a parking lot? It happened to me at a gas station, they blocked me as I tried to walk to the teller and I stood there waiting for the idiots to pass, but then they start feeding me the baloney. Feeling indignant, I didn't say a word and walked around the back. The driver started swearing at me (presumably because I disrespected HIM)! I loudly asked the teller to call the police and she looked at me as if I was I was a troll. I don't get that, but I have learned many people in Sacramento are jerks, and so until now, I figured the speaker thing was a Sacramento phenomenom, but apparently the disease spread up north. Sorry 'bout that!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 23, 2012:

SMD, thanks for sharing your story. This incident happened about ten years ago, and i was also approached by the same scam a few years later. I think people haves wised up to it now, but who knows. Thanks so much for sharing your story. That's quite amusing!

S Davies on March 22, 2012:

Wow, I can`t believe they are still doing this! Sorry that you got scammed. When I was in University (20 years ago)there were a few of these white vans that drove around campus, usually at dusk or in the evening, trying to dupe students coming out of class. It was such a big joke on campus that being pitched by "those two dudes in a van with speakers" was a rite of passage: a story you could tell your friends later on in the pub: "Hey guys, the dudes in the van just tried to sell me speakers. I laughed in their faces!"

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 21, 2012:

LOL, thanks Linda! Whatever works, I s'pose.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 21, 2012:

Dawn, sometimes you have to lose money to learn. I did here. On my blog, when I'm not ranting or writing poems, I often publish legitimate work at home opportunities. if you're interested, let me know and I'll link you to my blog!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on March 21, 2012:

This hub is one of my favorites of yours. I was just looking at my speakers and thought of you!:)

Dawn Conklin from New Jersey, USA on March 21, 2012:

Sorry to hear your loss, but you did a great job on writing it! I haven't actually fallen victim to this, but I have always been one to take caution on everything that costs money. That and I am probably too cheap :) I have been scammed with the work at home things in the past tho.

I have had many people try to sell me things in NYC, they would even stand in the middle of the road trying to sell you things. They were usually real items, but probably stolen so close to the same. Where I live now it is more or less people breaking into your house for your copper piping or asking you for a smoke as soon as you pull one out of your pocket. When they ask with the smokes in your hand, they know you have them and have a better chance at a yes answer.

Tammy from North Carolina on March 20, 2012:

That sounds like something I would fall for. Great hub. Thanks for pointing this out!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 07, 2012:

well, horseback, at least u got to be in the company of hot coeds.... that's something

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 07, 2012:

Thanks for reading, Tammy!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 07, 2012:

JS... that's an interesting story... although, maybe they were walking because you didn't stop to help them :-) It's sad that we can't just take people at their word anymore :-) Thanks for reading and commenting

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 07, 2012:

Thanks, Michael. It's interesting how often times you have to go through something like this to really understand life. I was only out a couple hundred bucks... it could have been a lot worse :-)

ahorseback on March 07, 2012:

Hey I remember back in the seventies it was beautiful college girls selling suscriptions for your favorite magazine. Except you never got one mag. So much for them hot coeds.........:-}

Tammy Winters from Oregon on March 07, 2012:

Interesting Read.

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 07, 2012:

I needed to read this for the laugh! I have been uptight lately trying to keep up with the contest and the 30/30 Challenge and this made my day! I have heard of this and I was actually approached by a couple of guys about a month ago asking me for help with their car. I told them I knew nothing about cars and that I had my kids in the car but they wouldn't stop trying to get me to "just take a look". They looked suspicious and the neighborhood I was in was not a nice one. I ended up driving away feeling that I was almost just robbed. I later saw them walking up the street so I don't think they even had a car! OK, back to work now! Thanks for the read! Up and SHARED.


Micheal from United Kingdom on March 07, 2012:

lol sorry Justin but this really made me laugh.

Waldorf Speakers lol.

These scams are so common, here too.

It has actually been cranked up to full-on auctions.

The scanners rent a warehouse for a week and sell every kind of electronic tat going.

It has been all over the TV news for many years.

People still get suckered in!?

Don't feel bad you were young and thought you could make a buck.

Thanks for sharing it is a great story and a warning to us all. Be alert!

Voted up, interesting, useful and funny. SHARING

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 04, 2012:

ts... you're welcome on the article... i also enjoyed it a lot. This taught me that you need to question everything and if something if too good to be true... it is :0)

Thanks for reading!

Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on March 04, 2012:

(Still grinning from ear to ear) Hey, these concert tickets will get you in the 9th row center. Yup, brings back memories for sure. Great hub, PDXK! I like the appoach, style, and importantly the leading lady ;) (Now I'm dreaming a bit). This is a very hub to read, packed full of creativity, opening doors to ideas, well written and very much worth a read!

That guy in the video is a poor marketer. He should have been in Fry's parking lot instead of Michael's. Then again, ppl shopping at Fry's maybe better speaker shoppers :)

Hey thanks for lead earlier today with Poetic Fools article. That meant a lot to me.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 03, 2012:

stars, glad to hear I'm not alone. sorry you've lost to thieves :-( That's not fun at all. Thanks so much for sharing and taking the time to read and comment!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on March 03, 2012:

It is easy to fall for a scam when a person is faced with something that looks like a great value. I have lost a lot of money in many different ways. Scams have come to a real science in many ways. God forgive me, I hate thieves with a purple passion. GBY. Love You My Friend, And All You Love.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on March 01, 2012:

indeed, vellur. and this was a case where I myself saw a way to get rich quick. i wasn't a total innocent.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 01, 2012:

You can never be too careful. Sometimes we are blinded by more for less money I guess. Anyway be careful we all have our stupid and most regrettable moments.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 27, 2012:

Eddy... I agree, though what they did was technically not illegal! It's akin to selling a car that's not as good as the salesman says it is

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 27, 2012:

Flash. Thanks. I have learned my lesson!

Eiddwen from Wales on February 27, 2012:

Not nice at all and me heart goes out to you.

The law system here in Wales/UK certainly need to be tightened. Maybe if there was a harsher justice system i place people would soon drop their thugging ways.

Thank for sharing.

Take Care And Enjoy your day.


flashmakeit from usa on February 26, 2012:

Oh that is not good and you be careful the next time someone holds their hands out asking for money.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

Thanks Sue. Fortunately, my frugality kicked in and I was only going to spend $400 :-)

Sueswan on February 26, 2012:

Hi Justin

Thank God it was only a $400.00 lesson. It could have cost you much more.

I hope these scammers get what is coming to them.

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good evening.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

bobbi, it's all good... the country, those guys would have likely been strung up and hung somewhere :-)

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

faithful daughter, it's interesting that stealing is my pet peeve. I feel like stealing is a bigger violation then murder! Plus, I hate to feel like I got duped. I don't like my intelligence being insulted or assaulted!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

aurelio, you're very welcome! Thanks for reading!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

missolive, in hindsight, it seems really silly that I fell victim to this, but, I suppose all scams seem silly in hindsight. Now I've learned to be careful!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

this happened all the time when i lived in Vegas, American View. Scammers in Vegas are the real deal.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

hoteltravel, I couldn't have said it better myself. It's sad that we can't trust people so readily anymore.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

rosemay, it's sad that there are people who want to take advantage of those who s]are overly trusting. it's sad that, now, i don't really want to stop and help people and I'm very skeptical when I hear anything. Wish i could be that naïve twenty something again... My mom falls for scams all the time. she never seems to learn

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

Yoga... car repairs are probly the biggest area for scams that people fall victim of. It's a shame people take advantage of our naivete. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 26, 2012:

Indeed, Daughter. Thanks again for stopping by!

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on February 26, 2012:

Well, I am sorry that happen to that handsome naïve guy, but I can tell he is not a country boy.

A big John Deer Tractor would have taken care of the white van, and I am afraid to guess what would have happen to the scammer.

This is a good reason to move to the country---people are not tempted----because country boy do not sell their items.

Just teasing you.


Evie Lopez from Sunny Florida on February 26, 2012:

I'm sorry this happened to you. I've been scammed and it's an awful feeling, more like you feel violated afterward. You really never forget the experience and makes you suspicious of everyone for a long time.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 26, 2012:

OMG, PDXKaraokeGuy, I'm sorry that happened to you. But thanks for teaching us this valuable lesson -- all of us can get scammed if we're not careful. Voting this Up and Useful.

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on February 26, 2012:

Yes, my husband thinks he made off cheap with a 'leather Armani' jacket - NOT!

CHEAP is the keyword here.

Lessons learned - funny story (ummmm sorry, not funny not funny at all...hehe). Interesting actor choices :)

American View from Plano, Texas on February 26, 2012:

Growing up in NY someone is always driving up to you and trying to sell something. I guess I am just immune to it now. Sorry it happened to you but as they say, live and learn

hoteltravel from Thailand on February 26, 2012:

Recently I read in newspapers that a top police officer fell for a similar scam. So many young people working in the IT and ITES industries are easy targets. Downside of these scams is that we lose our belief in people. When a person in need approaches us for help, we tend to question his genuineness, which is sad. Entertaining hub. Voted up and interesting.

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 25, 2012:

There will always be gullible people out there waiting to be scammed. I am sorry it happened to you but good on you for warning others. I love the way you added conversation to make it seem more real.

I once knew of someone who got into a bottling vitamins and selling them scam, were promised they'd make x amount of $. When you worked it out 3 times the population would have to take 4 times the dosage (or something like that) to make the money theat they were promised.

YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on February 25, 2012:

There are LOTs of con artists out there. I fell for a scam where a guy said he could fix the scratches/paint job on my car. I believe in karma . . . these guys will get it back in spades one day. Very entertaining and well written!

Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on February 25, 2012:

That is true, its survival of the fittest at it's worst! lol

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 25, 2012:

Daughter, thanks for sharing. It's sad, but, at the same time, despereate times call for desperate measures.

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 25, 2012:

Nell, I'm extremely skeptical now... but, it's because of situations like this. I've actually been approached about by white van speaker scam by two other times!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 25, 2012:

Thanks for sharing Marcy.... you should write a hub about that. that sounds like something people should look out for!

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 25, 2012:

well, in hindsight, it was pretty stupid linda :-)

Justin W Price (author) from Juneau, Alaska on February 25, 2012:

Audra, thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing!

Mel Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on February 25, 2012:

Wow, this is a bit sad. Sad simply because innocent people are being taken advantage of, it's just so wrong. Voted up and thanks for SHARING.

Nell Rose from England on February 25, 2012:

Hi, Oh the innocence of youth! haha! sorry, but you fell for it? the advantage with me is that I don't believe anything anybody says, well apart from my husband, but that was another story! saying that, that's probably why I don't believe a word anybody says!! lol! funny story, thanks!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on February 25, 2012:

Very well-explained scenario. I like the touches you added of the conversations - you made it sound real, and that's what it takes to make people understand this stuff really happens, to real people. When I was very young, I fell for the scam of someone suddenly changing the amount they give you for a store transaction, and the cash comes out short at the end of the day. I still remember the smooth way the guy (dressed like a businessman) pulled it off. Cons come in all forms - this is a great hub to help alert people. Voted up, useful and interesting. And shared.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on February 25, 2012:

LMAO! This is too funny! I'm sorry for laughing, but I can't believe your fell for that!!

iamaudraleigh on February 25, 2012:

I like your story. I was amused how you used Alba and Dorff to describe what the people looked like. Interesting topic choice...voted up!

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