Was it a (poor) scam?

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JBaz

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I'm gonna tell you a story .....

Last Friday I posted a heavy-duty tube bender for sale on Gumtree and within a couple of hours I received a message from a "Melissa" saying that her auntie was looking for one and would I email her at ******@gmail.com.

Assuming that her auntie didn't have access to Gumtree for some reason, I sent an email and within an hour or so I received one back from auntie saying she was indeed looking for such an item, but wanted to make sure it was in good condition and she "wouldn't be disappointed" if she bought it. She also asked whether I had a PayPal account and what was my final price? All reasonable stuff, although in hindsight the grammar seemed a little irregular, but in these days of predictive text etc. ......

Anyway, I responded accordingly and asked whether she was intending to collect in person or would need to arrange a courier (The bender weighs 55Kg, more than a regular courier can handle). Auntie's reply ignored the courier bit, but did ask for some photos of the item and my PayPal address, which I duly sent.

Wondering why a lady might want an industrial tube roller, I sent a second email asking (as politely as I could) what she, or the person she was buying it for, intended to do with it. In my defence for being so "un-woke", I was concerned that she might be confusing it with a ring-roller used by jewellers and would be quite alarmed at receiving a 55Kg lump of industrial machinery.

Anyway, later on Friday evening I received an email making no mention of what she wanted it for, but saying that she had received the photos and wanted the item. She would pay the asking price soon, but would add £50 to cover the "pick-up agent" which she wanted me to send to the agent in the form of an Amazon gift card. At this point the alarm bells were loud and clear, but I couldn't see how a scam might develop.

Clearly I wasn't going to be sending any money to anybody until I had received her(?) payment, so I was expecting something along the lines of a fake email pretending to be from PayPal saying that my account had been credited with £XXX + £50, along with a link to a fake PayPal site that purported to show my account, but would accept any password. However, that seemed a lot of trouble that would at best gain them £50 in the unlikely event that such a poor scam succeeded.

As it turned out, I didn't respond to the last email and I haven't heard from "Auntie" since. And my PayPal account is still empty.

However, I am intrigued as to how a scam might have evolved.

Any thoughts?
 

Richard_C

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At first it does look like hard work for £50, but that's an untraceable untaxed £50 which to some people is a lot

I think there are kinds of 2 scam target. First is the big money low volume one, needing more sophistication. The second is the high volume one like this. Imagine you, or a couple of unpaid exploited people controlled by you, can respond to 50 or 100 adverts an hour with minimal care to adjust the standard email and no cost beyond an Internet connection and no need to be anywhere near the place, or country, that you are targeting.

If only 1% get a result, you only have to follow up that 1% by tailoring your lies, I bet 2 people can get to several hundred £ a day. Plus as its high volume they are not investing much time in each attempt so they can just evaporate if the questions get hard.

On top of that, it's safer. If you are scammed out of several thousand you will report it. If its "only" £50 you will feel like an silly person but not pursue it very far, and law enforcement is not likely to be interested and if its cross border it won't get anywhere.

Go back a couple of decades, low level crime included sneak thief taking cash after knocking on the door of older people and claiming to need to inspect the water, electric, gas...

This is the modern version, and no need to go out in the rain. Low value, high volume, low risk.

At least you spotted it in time and rebuffed the bent bender buyer.
 

Amateur

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I'm gonna tell you a story .....

Last Friday I posted a heavy-duty tube bender for sale on Gumtree and within a couple of hours I received a message from a "Melissa" saying that her auntie was looking for one and would I email her at ******@gmail.com.

Assuming that her auntie didn't have access to Gumtree for some reason, I sent an email and within an hour or so I received one back from auntie saying she was indeed looking for such an item, but wanted to make sure it was in good condition and she "wouldn't be disappointed" if she bought it. She also asked whether I had a PayPal account and what was my final price? All reasonable stuff, although in hindsight the grammar seemed a little irregular, but in these days of predictive text etc. ......

Anyway, I responded accordingly and asked whether she was intending to collect in person or would need to arrange a courier (The bender weighs 55Kg, more than a regular courier can handle). Auntie's reply ignored the courier bit, but did ask for some photos of the item and my PayPal address, which I duly sent.

Wondering why a lady might want an industrial tube roller, I sent a second email asking (as politely as I could) what she, or the person she was buying it for, intended to do with it. In my defence for being so "un-woke", I was concerned that she might be confusing it with a ring-roller used by jewellers and would be quite alarmed at receiving a 55Kg lump of industrial machinery.

Anyway, later on Friday evening I received an email making no mention of what she wanted it for, but saying that she had received the photos and wanted the item. She would pay the asking price soon, but would add £50 to cover the "pick-up agent" which she wanted me to send to the agent in the form of an Amazon gift card. At this point the alarm bells were loud and clear, but I couldn't see how a scam might develop.

Clearly I wasn't going to be sending any money to anybody until I had received her(?) payment, so I was expecting something along the lines of a fake email pretending to be from PayPal saying that my account had been credited with £XXX + £50, along with a link to a fake PayPal site that purported to show my account, but would accept any password. However, that seemed a lot of trouble that would at best gain them £50 in the unlikely event that such a poor scam succeeded.

As it turned out, I didn't respond to the last email and I haven't heard from "Auntie" since. And my PayPal account is still empty.

However, I am intrigued as to how a scam might have evolved.

Any thoughts?

The only things I remember about Auntie when I was little was
She had dancing teeth that tap danced.
She had bad breath.
I ran away as we left her house, till my mother dragged me back to let Auntie kiss me leaving gooey saliva all over my face.
But she had a fridge with a freezer box which no one else in our area had at the time and she made us ice lollies.
So it was a trade off
And the only benders she knew about were alcoholic benders.
 

Retired

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Hi,

My friend David has kindly just sent me a link to this thread so I'm having a nosy.

How strange; I too received such an email via Gumtree; I was advertising a very heavy Mac Allister 1,700W concrete breaker when I received an email with a message saying please contact my sister at the email address supplied she wants one of these?

My reply; sorry I don't sell to a third party and got rid of the messages; if his sister could handle one of these breakers she must be a gorrila?

You need to be on RED ALERT with anything on the computer these days;

1629885214243.png


No offence meant to this forum but I'm running an ad blocker and use TOR browser plus NORDVPN; I'm blocked out of eBay because of this so I'm using eBay as a guest only; I now receive phone calls too when I spend money online giving me a code checking it's me and not some low life; one thing I dislike with a passion is playing computer games; I'm not a robot; click on all images containing a cycle; motorcycle; car; bus; fire hydrant and crossing etc just to access something but I accept it with good grace as I do with anything looking after my online security. I even use Cyberscrub to delete files and data etc. Nothing is 100% safe online but why make it easy.

Kind regards, Colin
 

woodieallen

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Can I sell you a nice tin hat, Colin ? Guaranteed-paranoia-proof.
 

TRITON

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For gumtree i only deal with pick up cash on collection. No sending anything, no payment methods other than cash.
Recently theres been too many bad news stories about ebay and despite having had an ebay account since 2008 and a feedback of over a thousand transactions, ive very reluctant to sell anything on there now.
Ebay always sides with the buyer no matter what, and getting a hold of a human in ebay is pretty difficult and time consuming. Plus ebay have added a greedy payment system i have to use and that in itself is worrying me to the point i dont want to list anything. I dont like the fact the buyer can instantly receive a refund and due to the corona virus, the post office isnt actually making contact with you, just leaving it on the doorstep and taking a photo of the parcel box code. All in al it seems like scammers paradise, and I dont want to lose something valued at several hundred pounds due to all this extra messing about.
 

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