I guess this may not be news to everyone, however, I think its still worth posting to those who may not be aware of this scam...
I advertised my brand new Toyota RAV4 for sale on Gumtree a few days ago - unfortunately we are having to sell this car after our house sale fell thru at the last minute (that'll teach me to jump the gun assuming the house would be sold, even tho the contracts were due to exchanged the following day!!) - anyway I received a reponse by email from someone saying:-
That they were working on the ship overseas as an oceanographer and that they were very interested in buying the car as a surprise pressie for their Dad (yeah, lucky Dad). The guy wanted to pay by Paypal as this was secure for both him and me. He would organise an agent to come and inspect/pick up the car on his behalf and sort out its delivery.
It was a bit of an odd story but having used Paypal alot thru Ebay in the UK then I thought it was safe. We exchanged a few emails and I was about to proceed on the sale when I received an email from someone else with a spookily similar story ie.
They were working overseas as a hydropgrapher, wanted to buy the car for their son, would arrange an agent to pick up the car and wished to pay by Paypal...
Hmmmm.... this didn't smell right at all!! I phoned Paypal who after not being completely helpful, did then admit that there have been scams like this where once the sale is agreed the "purchaser" sends a spoof email from paypal that $x,000 dollars have been transferred into their account. If you actually checked your paypal account then the funds would not be there but this scam relies on you believing the email you've been sent & not checking your paypal account. The agent would then pick the car up even tho no actual payment has been made & hey presto you've been seriously scammed!!
I like to think I would have checked my paypal account but I don't really know... which is quite scarey as I haven't been able to find a job yet and we certainly could not afford to lose this sort of money.
The email below is an exerpt from the Gumtree moderator:-
"My advice is be very cautious of replies from people who state they are overseas, request payment via PayPal or Western Union. Please conduct all Gumtree transactions face to face in person using cash only. Remember Gumtree should be used for local, face-to-face buying and selling."
As you can imagine I was extremely angry about this scam and I hope this helps anyone reading this from recognising straight away this sort of scam (please also tell friends and family as well).