Friday, December 29, 2017

Scam Alert – Kingman Arizona (but it could happen anywhere…)

Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix Arizona

Scam Alert

Drove from Coalinga California all the way to Kingman Arizona Wednesday…just under 500 miles.  Not an easy drive since the traffic was still very heavy from Christmas, especially from Coalinga to Barstow…less traffic as we got closer to Needles and Kingman.  We stayed the night in a Passport America park in Kingman, Sunrise RV Park, a very nice little park, good for a stay-over, that’s for sure.  Only small complaint…the sewer is way to the back in the pull through, so I just didn’t hook sewer up.  We left the park around 9 am, and headed just across the highway for Flying J…and that is where the scam started.  And I want to say right up-front, Flying J had NOTHING to do with the scam, it just so happened that the scam artist followed us onto their property to do the scam.

Kingman Arizona Flying J

Above is a google map of the Flying J from the street.  We took this right turn, just like the white van (black arrow) is doing…and yes, I did run over the curb with my back right tire…then it was a sharp left into the RV gas pump area where the white arrow is pointing.  I got out, and I see a white van (more like a family van than the business van above) pull up behind me on the side street.  As I started to run my card at the pumbs, a guy walks up to me…my first thought was that he was going to ask me for money or for gas.  But no, he starts his little scam…

“Did you not see me trying to pull you over?  There are sparks coming out all over the place as you were driving down the road.  Especially as you ran over that curb over there…I work for AAA, saw those sparks and tried to flag you down…did you not see me?”

“From the car of the motorhome?” I ask.

“From the motorhome right here”

He quickly walks to the back right of the motorhome…of course, I am at the back left…but I quickly follow him.  Before I get around the corner, he is already on the ground looking and reaching up to the axle. 

“Hey, get out from under my motorhome!” I yell.  I see his finger up over the axle which he rubs hard and shows me a greasy finger.

“See, you are leaking grease real bad…you have a broken strut under here, it is hitting causing the sparks…”, and he goes on and on.

“I said, get out from under my motorhome…”

He starts getting out, but continues with his scam…kept saying that we had a broken strut, and that he could fix it real quick.  He gives me his card, says he drives for AAA, but also has a mobile repair, and he could fix me up in less than a hour, all I needed to do was pull over to this large lot just down the street.

“I will get a second opinion in Phoenix, thanks for letting me know” I said.

“Oh sir, you will never get to Phoenix, there were sparks coming out all over down there…Just look at the grease dripping down...Here is my card, you are going to need this work now…”

“Regardless, I am getting gas, then we will decide if we want do something here, or wait until Phoenix.  But thank you for your concern.”


NO, we did not fall for the scam!  But believe me, it was tempting.  But as Marcia and I discussed it, these are the signs that made me believe it was a scam all along.

  • The van was not the typically AAA van, like the one that jumped my HHR battery outside Walmart when I took mom and dad shopping a few weeks before Christmas.  Yes, there was a sign on the side of the car, but it was one of those magnet type of signs, and the sign did not have the AAA logo, but clearly said AAA on it.

  • The guy was one of those fast, smooth talkers who anticipated what I was going to say and had a quick answer for it.

  • The grease on his finger was that dark, “been there on the axle” type of grease which one could easily find on an engine or an axle.   He rubbed real hard and deep to get it.  It was black, but not shinny like new grease.  But he said there was dripping…but the grease did not come from dripping. 

  • As I came back from inside Flying J, I did see a small wet area right under where he was…but when he came out from under there, there was not fluid on the ground.  A large Class A pulled in just as I was walking back to the motorhome with my coffee…so I gave them to Marcia and went back to ask the man to watch me as I pulled out to see if there was any sparks.  (Of course, I had to tell him a bit of the story…he agreed to watch…I told him I would pull in along the street behind him and get out to talk to him)

  • I talked to the Class A driver (from Provo Utah, nice couple headed to Mesa for the winter) after pulling out and along the side street.  He sais he saw nothing.  We talked for a few minutes, and both agreed that if the sparks had come from electrical (which is NOT what the scammer said), it would have popped a breaker…if it was metal hitting metal, I would hear it, and we heard nothing, not even when I hit the curb.  As I went back to the motorhome, I looked to see if there was any signs of grease on the ground since I had stopped a few minutes ago…there was none.

  • Non-contact Instant-Read Infrared Digital Temperature Thermometer Gun Laser PointMarcia wanted me to call Arny, I wanted to get out of Kingman…so I drove about 5 miles east on I-40 to a Love’s Gas Station, pulled in and called Arny.  He agreed that it was most likely a scam, but said to drive part way to Phoenix, stop and check to see if the area around the hub was real hot.  Well, I carry a Non-contact Instant-Read Infrared Digital Temperature Thermometer Gun Laser Point.  So I took lots of temperature readings from both sides of the motorhome, and saw very little difference in temperature readings between both sides.

  • One thing that puzzled me was the liquid under the axle that showed up after I came out of Flying J with my coffee.  After I pulled over to check the temps, I started contemplating this, and then it hit me as we were driving down the road.  You see, I have seen that type of grease on pavement before…power steering or break fluid type of leak.  This guy is so smooth, that he actually went under the motorhome to squirt fluid up on the springs…but when I got there faster than he thought…before he could wait for it to drip onto his finger because I demanded he get out from under my motorhome, he rubbed into the top of the axle and came out with that old, dirty grease.  That is why he said more than once to “look under and see it drip” even though I had already gotten down along side of him to begin with as I yelled for him to stop.  (I was afraid he was going to cut a brake line and say that this was our problem.)  I saw no drips then, saw no puddle of fluid then, but did see it coming out of Flying J…but by then the Class A was behind me, and I did not want to make him wait, and I wanted to enlist his help.

Scamming Mechanics

Every time a mechanic does any work to my car or motorhome, I ALWAYS wonder if we are going to get ripped off.  One time in Sacramento I took the HHR to a oil changing place that my dad use to use.  When I got back to Florida and took it to my oil changing place, they informed me that whoever did the last oil change (they could tell my oil had been changed since the last time I had been there six months earlier along with the high mileage) that they did not change my filter.  I asked how he knew that, and he responded that they put a mark on all their filters…this filter had that mark still.  Dad found a different place to get his oil changed after that.  I don’t like Jiffy Lube because they ALWAYS come up with a long list of other things they want to do…even if you say, “Just change my oil please.”  I think the ultimate time I got scammed was when my manual clutch for my Malibu went out in Battle Mountain Nevada back in 1975.  A Chevron Gas Station (way back when most gas stations did automotive work instead of selling groceries) did the work, and the guy said he had the shop down the street turn the flywheel (also known as resurface the flywheel).  Well, about 15 months later I needed another clutch job.  My friend Jay and I did it over at his house…and the flywheel still had the original factory grooves in it…it had not been resurfaced…which is why it needed to be done again 15 months later.


So it came to no surprise that when we got to Phoenix, that when I did a good search on the information on the business card that I found the following:

  • No company in Kingman by the name on the card.

  • The phone number on the card is a cell phone.  Tonight I called it (*67 so he doesn’t have my phone number) and told him he is a scammer, and that I was going to call the Kingman police tomorrow morning.  He hung up.  Doubt the police will do anything, so I won’t call them.  But I will be calling AAA and giving them anything they wish to have on the guy…which isn’t going to be much but a working cell phone number and an address which may or may not be good.

  • The address, according to Google Maps, is a residential area.  Not a business area at all…but he did say it was a “mobil unit” (that is how he misspelled it on the business card).

I found no searches of anyone else saying they had been scammed.  But I am 100% sure he is a scam, and we were not expecting it, but we were prepared to not fall for it.  So keep it in mind the next time someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, you got a problem, and I can solve it for you….”


  1. Glad the Scammer didn't pull one over on you and Thanks for the Heads-Up.
    It is amazing how much thought goes into ripping people off, too bad they don't use that towards doing good for others.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. He was a smooth and quick talker who talked like he knew what he was talking about...just have to use your logic because he put doubt in our minds for a bit, but things just did not make sense. Not sure how it would have gone had he been able to squirt the fluid up there faster and have me see it leak onto his hand.

  2. We were just scammed for 600 dollars in kingman arizona in that gas station where chinese tourists buses come. Two guys. They followed us n said they saw sparks n then have to remove careful.

    1. So sorry to hear...IF they still used the AAA logo, please report this to AAA. Since you were scammed, reporting to the police would help put an end to this madness....


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