[RESOLVED] Does This Sound Like a Scam (via Gumtree)?

I am selling a guitar on Gumtree and receive a message from someone who joined in 2018, who asked me:

"I'm interested in the guitar, but in the CBD working 'till Friday than going home to Bali. Any chance you can deliver to my hotel in Darling Harbour?"

TBH, I'm happy to personally deliver to him if he pays the listed price in cash and we meet in the hotel lobby (so I don't get mugged). I'd imagine he is some time poor businessman and would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Is there anything else that can go wrong or that I should be aware of? Counterfeit notes? Getting followed back to the train at night from someone who knows I have the cash on me.

It's only a $500 guitar so not super expensive but I can be pretty suspicious of other people's motives.

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        • +1

          Exactly, turning it into a massive waste of OPs time. And making OP think, maybe I should just leave it with the concierge and be done with it.

  • +2

    Ask for a phone number.

    If none ask for the room number and hotel number.

    If he gives a number call it and discuss
    Ask to send a photo of the cash

    It will give you abit more confidence

    The more personal information the more likely it's real, phone number, email, copy of his licence.

    • +14

      yeah no! there's no way I'd send a copy of my license to a seller!

      • +1

        They reached out to him to arrange a non traditional sale asking the seller to come to him. Without any personal details I wouldn't go out of my way.

        Asking for many details you can cross reference to see if it's a scam.

        Caught out many scams this way.

        Would only ask for DL if it seemed aus tho

        • +6

          What about a DNA test and psychological evaluation?

          You can never be too careful!!

    • +2

      He first emailed and then texted me through Whatapps on a foreign number that originates from Indonesia.

      When I googled the number it is linked to a phone directory which lists his full name and an address in Indonesia.

      I assume he is an ex-pat, living in Indonesia, and therefore does not have an Australian GSM.

      Looks legit.

      I've asked for his room number so I can call the hotel and confirm he is indeed a guest, before I waste my time travelling 1hr each direction to get there.

      This is a reply I got from the buyer:
      ""Hi xxx, I'm ok with the price and have cash in-hand. I'm at the xxx hotel.
      I'm in the office 'till 5:30 and can meet you at 6:00pm this evening. I do have a dinner to go to at 7:00pm tonight. If you can meet me between 6:00 and 6:30 I'll take it off your hands. Don't worry, I wouldn't waste your time mate. You have my Whatsapp #. Thanks""

      • +9

        Seems to me that he is reading this Forum posting. Have we been hacked???

        • We've been compromised!! The FBI is on to us!

          No. I doubt it.

        • +1


          I was wondering why 4 middle aged dudes would be having a party in the back of a van…

        • @Scrooge McDuck: Whilst all wearing dark coloured suits and sunglasses in said van.

        • +1

          He is an Indonesian living in Australia.

          Of course he is going to be on OzBargain.

        • @No: Huh? How so? ;p

      • I thought he was here for his mother's funeral not on business?!?

      • That sounds totally fine, provided you're happy to do all the travel.

      • +1

        But he didn't give you his name or room number? Why wouldn't he give you that so you can confirm he is really a guest, unless it was a scam.

  • +9

    Sounds like a scam or at least an attempt to make you ‘over invest’ buy lugging an awkward item around the city then meeting them at a hotel to try and convince you to take a lower price. At best they will suddenly have lost the $500 and will try to lowball you like Eeples said. At worst they have bikies and Korg on hand.
    Like you said it’s only a $500 item. So don’t be in a rush to sell. Wait for a buyer that sounds legit.

    • +1

      He said he was "OK" with the price after I advised him that I was "firm on price" due to needing to go out of my way for him and factor in travel time etc.

      That sounds like a very crappy situation - I would probably just tell him to get stuffed and leave if he tried to low ball me.

      I think I can handle my own and aren't overly concerned about my personal security but the potential time wasting/low balling/renegging/change of mind concerns me. Perhaps I might give it a miss.

  • +3

    I did something similar in Melbourne. I got my buyer to meet me in the lobby of my work. I was a little concerned but all was good.

    They claimed to have just arrived in Australia from PNG and I was selling a MacBook for $500. My lobby has security and cameras, so if it was a planned robbery/scam I suspect they would have pulled out. They did not, it went smoothly.

    Some people are honest.

    • +2

      Check the notes under a UV light…

  • +5

    I can imagine the next thread already "I think I got scammed on Gumtree. Any advice?"

    • +2

      I can think of a few more ;)

      "My house got robbed, what am I entitled to?"

      "Am I able to get in quickly without private health insurance?"

      "Help determining whether these notes are genuine or not?"

      "Bikies needed for raid on XXX"

      • +5

        Watch this space!

      • "My home was robbed and I don't have home content insurance, what should i do?"

  • make sure you do cash only when using scumtree

  • +1

    My advice with Gumtree is to wait. Usually what seems like a good deal comes up or you lower your price prematurely. If you wait a while, someone may be interested that saves you all of this hassle. Or you sell/buy at a better price. If he was really interested in the guitar, he would take one or two hours out of his schedule to pick it up. If he really is a time poor executive, wouldn't he just buy a new guitar? "You have my Whatsapp number" also seems dodgy.

  • +2

    Does this sound like a scam

    Any chance you can deliver to my hotel in Darling Harbour?

    Sounds horny more than anything.

    • +1

      best check to see if selling a guitar is code word for something else.

      • For $500, you'd expect some Magic Mike level of something else.

        • Not rly, $500 is loose change for a schmoe.

          Are you muscular OP?

  • +8

    This reminds me of the time I had an ad for a brand new Iphone, still in it's original box, unopened, for sale. I initially wanted 1000$ for it, but realised the market wasn't quite ready to pay as much. I was ready to settle for 850, but all I got were low ball offers for 600 - 650. So the ad stayed.

    One day, I was at a music concert and I get a text on my phone asking for the phone. I tell him , alright, he can have it for 850. He says Ok, but that he wants it the same night. I tell him, not possible, as I am away from home. He possibly tries other sellers and gets no one who can sell him a brand new Iphone at this time, so comes back to me again. He is persistent, so I ask him why he is so badly in need of a phone in the middle of night(around 9pm then, IIRC). He says something about his phone broke and how he has to go to work early morning and needs a phone..blah blah blah..

    I still say no, but then I think - I have been sitting on this phone for a while, maybe this is my best opportunity to off-load this phone. He ups the ante and says that he is willing to pay me 900, in cash. Ok, I tell him. I need to get back home and then drive to the CBD where he said he can meet me. At the back of my mind, I'm thinking that this has all signs of a con written on it, but I still want to take the risk. I tell him that I will only meet him where there is a camera and we agree on the train station.

    I go home, get the phone and drive to the CBD. I park near the train station, spot an ATM (camera) with people around, so I switch meeting points and ask him to come to me. Which he does. He takes out 900$ in 50$ notes, I count it and handover the phone to him.

    Until this happened, I was trying to figure out where this is going to go wrong. Lucky it ended up being a genuine transaction, but I am not sure I want to do it again. Or am I ?

    • +4

      Way to risky for my liking. I would have been worried that he had someone else to mug me for the $900 by my car.

      • +1

        But I parked right next to the ATM and there were people around. Switching places at the last minute meant he couldn't have accomplices lay an ambush. He could have tried a car chase..and failed…

      • Then why not just stand near an ATM and wait for people to withdraw money? The OP's story is a very elaborate plan just to steal an iphone.

        • because you get an iPhone and $900 back.

        • +1


          Plus it's more fun stealing Apple products.

  • So tell us after you get scammed how not to do it next time.

    If it seems to good to be true, it is.

  • +4

    I would give it a go. The circumstances seem fine to me.

    Assuming you meet at the hotel lobby, the worst that could realistically happen is he changes his mind or doesn't show (this has happened to me before). So I guess it's up to you to weigh up how much of a hassle is it for you to go to the hotel with your guitar only for the deal to fall through.

  • +1

    You've got that sms reply. Just go, at worst you've wasted your time. Might as well go and enjoy the day in the city busking (might be illegal as you might need a permit).

  • +4

    Dunno why people were saying this is a scam, in fact it seems very safe to do a gumtree transaction in a hotel lobby.

  • My go to thing is if its a sob story they are probably trying to get you to do something out of your kindness & good nature so I rarley do anything due to their "Lack of Time" as harsh as that sounds. I once got close to selling my camera at the time worth $2000 but they person on the other end made a sob story about how they need to buy a camera for their niece's graduation, they then said they'd like me to ship it to them before they left the country (different State). She even offered to pay $3000 for a $2000 camera (to cover shipping expenses) which was odd. Basically what they do is they send you a fake paypal transaction email from their end that says pending until you send them the tracking information for the shipment. (The email looks like an official paypal receipt) Once you give them the tracking code for the parcel the fake transaction never goes through but you've already sent the parcel. Most of the time they want you to ship it to a place like China or something so thats another major flag lol. She told me she was in adelaide but wanted me to ship it to China? Anyway, if they said to deliver im guessing they expect you to ship it to them not drive all the way up to the hotel lobby? if you can meet face to face in a public area go for i, if they want you to ship it to china… run for the hills!

      • +5

        ok maybe 99%

  • +2

    I have a mate who looks like kerry king in sydney. take him along, he will ensure you transaction goes smoothly.

  • I sold a camera on gumtree a few weeks back. Gave the buyer an address a few doors down so that I could size them up from a distance. Completed the sale in broad daylight without the buyer learning my home address. You just gotta know what info you're willing to give away, and keep an eye out for things that don't add up.

  • Seems sus, might not be dodgy.. but why take the risk, and why go to all that extra hassle. Make listing pickup only, invite your local bikies round to oversea transaction

  • -1

    "Does this sound like a scam (via GUMTREE)". Yes. I didn't read the rest of what was written, but the 'via Gumtree' gives it away as most likely being a scam.

  • -2

    Tell us how it ends up going so we can find out what the right answer was.

  • +1

    Cash is cash.

    Although one thing to watch out for will be him deciding "it's only worth $300" once you get there.

    He has you by the balls because you've already invested so much effort into getting there that you won't want to walk away with no deal.

  • The buyer's name is Peter and he's heading back to Bali?? Check his surname, it's probably Corby, and guitars are the new boogie boards, if you get my drift. Make sure it can't be traced back to you, or am I getting swept up in all the Gumtree paranoia floating around here.

    • Buyer has surveillance cameras setup at building location, so OP can clearly be seen handing off the guitars in the lat night hand over.
      Buyer wears gloves (claims it is because of the cold weather) avoiding fingerprints, and leaving OP fingerprints.
      Buyer invites OP to Bali, if caught … then turns OP in, for a reduced sentence for himself, for giving up the kingpin.

  • gumtree=scumtree

  • Probably planning to harvest your organs. RIP

    • But op might get a cosy ice bath… Minus a kidney or two.

  • +1

    For cash TX if you're worried, meet him in a bank and deposit it there and then, the teller will certainly let you know if there's counterfeit notes.

    If you're with a bank that does ATM deposits, you can do it that way too.

    If you propose this kind of exchange and they intended to be dodgy then it's unlikely they will proceed.

    If they absolutely refuse to meet, then don't bother, it's most likely a reversal scam.

  • Make sure you bring a pimento sandwich.

  • -1

    poor english: check
    not dealing in cash: check
    is in a hurry for various reasons: check

    yes sir, you have found a the 'scammer' pokemon

  • Wait, what kind of guitar was it?

    • Too late it's gone

  • Worst scam ever

  • -2

    This is definitely a Gumtree scam. There's another similar one about working on an overseas mining rig.

    • Or not.

  • Express your concern to him. Then send him a link to this ozbargain post. If we cares enough about the guitar and you, he will offer to do the right thing.

  • -3

    Clearly a Scam. I wouldn’t even consider thinking about my options with responses or stories like these.

  • Meet in a public place, lots of people.

  • Hey Mate I'm the guy who live streamed the IRL OzBargain meetup. I'm pretty keen to live stream this exchange to see if it's shonky. Send me a pm with the dets if you need my help.

  • +2

    People obviously didn't read the update ;)
    Transaction done and done.

  • I sell on Facebook marketplace now, less dodgy.

  • i'm thinking its a honey trap.

  • Taking guitar to Bali?

  • +1

    Surely there is a security/bodyguard on Ozbargain that can advertise their services on Gumtree to accompany any buyers to dodgy hotels etc. Just take a commission or minimum flat fee.

    In any case, why don't you just meet them in the CBD if they work there? Just do the exchange in the reception of one of the police stations and get a WTF stare from the cops lol

    • +1

      Would be good to have a professional negotiator. Give them 10% and they can haggle and hand-over the items for you.

    • +2

      Why have Security Guys / Bodyguards such high hourly rates ?

  • +2

    Are people really that desperate to mug someone for $500 with an elaborate gumtree scheme

    • +1

      People have been mugged for less. It is the times we live in. Shouldn't happen but sadly it does.

  • Sorry he just sounded doggy to me.
    Sounds slimier to any gumtree scams - urgent, desperate, quick, in town for business, out of town for holiday, commit without the need inspect, test and try out.

  • 3 options:
    1: cash;
    2: Cash; or
    3: CASH
    the end.
    If you can transfer $1K from bank, why can't you draw $1K from bank at an atm? Might take a day if you have those limits but can be done.

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