The gumtree/paypal con

Have you not heard of the Gumtree/Paypal scam? I hadn’t either but soon had a crash lesson. After posting an ad to sell a car in Gumtree a few days ago, I got a text message from a ‘woman’ saying her partner Michael was interested – but could only interact with me by email. Very quickly he agreed to buy the car unseen and transfer the money by Paypal. Some might have proceeded with the ‘sale’, but smelling a rat I did a google search and soon found confirmation that this was a scam (e.g. 1). It has several variations but revolves around an initial fake Paypal payment and either further transfer or loss of car without any recourse with either Paypal or Gumtree. In any case, I had some fun with ‘Michael’ – letting him go to a lot of trouble for nothing before I also let him know that I knew that he was trying to scam me. Moral of the story: With all sorts of scam artists being able to be anonymous and deceitful on the internet as well as phone, people increasingly need to be sceptical and have their wits about them in dealing with any such communications and/or transactions (and if it sounds fishy then almost certainly is) (e.g. 2).

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