Ivana and The Gumtree PayPal Scam

Ivana and her husband had a car to sell.

They thought they would try Gumtree.  After all, Gumtree is British and it works for local people and especially for large items that the buyer collects.

In the case of a car – no point advertising for more than a short distance from home and it definitely needs to be collected. You can’t put a car in the post box.

The car went on sale but attracted little attention.

Then this arrived

“Great! please consider it sold and remove the adverts online as i am willing to pay your asking price? because i need to buy it for my cousin asap as a surprise gift, i have read through the advert and i’m totally satisfied with it,sadly i would not be able to come personally to collect due to my hearing loss and I’m just recovering from heart surgery so I’m home-bound. can i earn your trust, hope i wont be disappointed? I have a courier agent that would help me to pick it up at your preferred location after you have received your money and cleared to your account and i’ll pay you via PayPal today once you get back to me with your PayPal email and full name. Where is the pick up location so that i can inform the courier agent about it now? Await your response”.

Ivana recognised this is as a well-known scam.

  1. The buyer contacts you via email rather than a phone call
  2. The buyer offers to buy the item immediately, at full price, doesn’t ask any questions and is extremely keen.
  3. The buyer cannot visit to view the item and has a sob story to explain this.
  4. The buyer wants to send a courier ASAP to collect the item
  5. The buyer tries to circumvent paying by Gumtree by offering another method (this means that if you are scammed, Gumtree cannot help)

Quite often these scammers say they will pay by PayPal and you might wonder how someone can scam you if they’ve sent you money on PayPal.

The most common ways are

  1. They don’t pay but instead send fake emails that look like PayPal emails telling you that the money has been paid. Always check your PayPal account rather than accepting an email as proof and never click on links I an email to access your PayPal account.
  2. They pay using a stolen PayPal account. When PayPal find out it’s stolen – you don’t get to keep the money.

With Gumtree, cash payment on collection may be the safest approach.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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