These aren’t exclusive to Gumtree, they are generic scams that are in use all over the web, but do seem to crop up on Gumtree. Be sure to look out for the warning signs so you won’t be kicking yourself later…
The Old Distraction Technique
You go and meet someone from Gumtree to buy an iPhone, you check it over, it’s a brand new 4S. Nice. You ask Siri what the weather will be like tomorrow and he tells you! If you don’t know much about iPhones, trust us, that means it works well.
You part ways with your hard earned cash and boom… a pretty lady walks past and flashes you the brightest smile you’ve ever seen. Your attention is, understandably, diverted.
Meanwhile the shiny new phone is switched for an old dud, the seller makes a hasty retreat and you’re none the wiser until you sit there trying to ask an old brick of a phone what went wrong. Take a friend along next time, and meet in a public place with CCTV.
Fake Landlord Scam
Now, we’ve dealt with dodgy landlords in another article, so I won’t go over old ground. Suffice to say, this is the old “send me a deposit and bank details for you and everyone you’ve ever met”.
Oh, and here’s some nice pictures of a house that I’ve never been in, let alone own…
A fake job advert, an advance wages cheque sent to you in the post, but what’s this, they’ve paid too much and ask for you to pay the excess back into their bank via Western Union.
Suddenly you’ve paid out and they’ve cancelled their initial payment. You’re out of pocket and that job doesn’t even exist. Our advice? Don’t pay out money to ‘employers/recruitment agents’ on Gumtree or similar sites.
This could be for a babysitting job or renting a house and usually sounds reasonable.
DON’T send any personal information to these people, or money to cover these checks. No real job offer would require any of this to happen online with no personal meetings.
No really, it’s free. Yeah right. The daughter of a recently evicted tenant decided to exact comeuppance on the landlord by posting his details online and inviting his house to be stripped bare as it was ‘up for sale’.
“Free stuff” could be offloading of stolen goods, so best to check things out. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Aw, it’s so fluffy!
No this isn’t just an excuse to post a picture of a really cute dog. There are unscrupulous people in the world who will take in a rescue dog one day only to post it on Gumtree the next asking for a ‘rehoming’ fee.
The RSPCA, Battersea Dog’s Home or your local rescue centre are far better places to seek your furry companion.
The Real Horror Story
Now this really is an extreme case, of course, but we wouldn’t be doing our civic duty if we didn’t tell you that this can and does happen.
A man in London went to meet the poster of a perfectly legitimate looking car ad, with a large bag of money. He was met by two very unsavoury characters who robbed and stabbed him.
We can’t say this enough – don’t go to a meeting alone with a large amount of cash. Read more about it here.
Beautiful Lady Wants to be Your Girlfriend!
It sounds like the sort of thing no-one would fall for, but many an otherwise-rational man has fallen for the charms of an online beauty.
Now, Gumtree officially closed its ‘dating and encounters’ free ads section a while back, but they’re still lurking on other sections and other websites, like Craigslist.
Just remember … real ladies don’t ask for money.
Gumtree’s advice on using their site safely can be found here.