Part 2: Scammers on Gumtree (and other selling platforms of course)

The scammers go to considerable lengths to separate you from your money.

I'm selling a car on Gumtree at the moment and a second more complex scam has come through my in-box.

You may recall my earlier post about this where I pointed out that the scammers try to get you/us outside of the selling platform so they can rip us off (unobserved by the platform's protection mechanisms).

Well in this scam they work within the system but try to "pay" through Paypal.

As you can see they've gone to quite a bit of trouble to give this request some tangible background.

I Googled the person and the name, job and location seemed legitimate if not strangley distant (I mean, who really travels 5 hours and nearly 400klms for a fairly generic Subaru? A: No-one.).

The problem with this may not seem obvious to the average PayPal user but for those of us who've had a transaction disputed on PayPal (legitimately or otherwise) you'll probably have already spotted the problem.

You see, PayPal has very strong buyer protection.

Which means the moment a buyer disputes a transaction the seller is stuffed (to put it technically).

When this happens PayPal instantly takes the money back and you go into a dispute resolution process which seems to generally never actually resolve (if you are the seller).

My personal experience of this occured when I was paid around $33 by a customer via PayPal linked to their credit card. All seemed and was fine.

Except that some time later the card was cancelled due to a personal dispute (nothing to do with me, the daughter had been using mummy's card without permission) and as a result all transactions on it, including the PayPal ones, got "disputed".

The way it worked was that I was accused, by the automated system, of having fraudulently taken money from this person. They'd sent the money to me, so the truth was far from that, but that didn't matter.

Trying to explain this to PayPal and get my money back fell on deaf ears and PayPal even charged me a $15 dispute fee. So I was out of pocket by $48 now.

According to my customer, PayPal had told them I would get my money back. I never did. NEVER. STILL HAVEN'T.

So imagine selling a car and getting paid by PayPal.

The buyer drives away and some days, weeks later they "dispute" the transactions.

They're gone. You're car is gone and PayPal will take your money away too...and charge you a fee for the priviledge.

So I replied to this inquiry accordingly...

I expected this reply to get to the truth fairly quickly, and it did.

I haven't heard back and then checked the user profile.

The usual red flags appeared as soon as I did; a brand new account with no details and no transactions whatsoever.

PayPal is great, especially if you are the buyer.

But if you are selling anything of value I suggest you don't use PayPal.

If you must, double and triple check the veracity and identity of the person and endeavour to reduce the size of the PayPal transaction as much as possible.

Only accept amounts smaller than the size of monetary risk you are prepared and can afford to take.


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