I Got Scammed on Gumtree, and Was Wondering if There's a Solution?

Hello
My name is Harrison and am now 17 years old with little experience and would love to know if there is something i can do to get my money back.

We placed an add on Gum-tree, and this person named Charlotte Oliver wanted to buy my phone for $1,000. she said she had paid $1000 (with proof of a fake Pay-Pal notice, but the payment never came through and never will). At this time i was feeling like i had a good deal and stupid me didn't want to think it was a scam.

she then told us to send the phone to Texas, so we did, quite confidently. she then imitated pay-pal again and said that she was overcharged an additional $1,000 (in total "$2,000 out of her bank account into ours"). (that's when it got strange) we couldn't find any trace of the money, she then said that it was because we had to pay her back $1,000 for us to receive our payment of $1,000. we told her that we had no money to give, but there was no answer to that question. we did our research and found out other people had been done by the same trick. by the time we found out she was a scammer, and we had just posted the phone. so if all went well for her she would have a phone and an additional $1,000 to go with it. but we think she sold a phone like mine and was sending her customer my phone over in Texas

As soon as we sent my phone we found out the transaction was a fake and that we needed to get the phone back. we rang AusPost
straight away and told them about the incident and what we wanted to happen, they then told us that they were going to let it reach Chicago and then turn it around then, from one thing after the other it got closer to it destination and then it said it was delivered. we warned the Usps about what was happening and it still went straight through there fingers. ive been to so many places trying to find out how i could try get my hard earned cash back but no one can help, what do you think i can do

thanks for your time

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Comments

  • +165

    Take it as a life lesson. Nothing you can do.

    • -23

      This is a lesson for the boy - women are expensive

      • +7

        it might be a man underneath

  • +45

    Member Since
    16/07/2020

    Welcome to OzBargain

    what do you think i can do

    This scam has been around for years and still people fall for it.

    You can report it to https://www.scamwatch.gov.au

    Other than that wave your money goodbye and learn from the experience.

    • +14

      Ok, thanks for your time

      • +24

        If you know the phone's imei, get it blocked in as many countries as possible. Makes it a lot less valuable to sell it onwards.

        • +2

          thought you can only block it in Australia? how would you go about about it overseas?

        • How exactly is the OP going to go about blocking the IMEI in the US? Please do tell.

          • @DoctorCalculon: Can't even block it in Austraia if it's outright…. (afaik? Police maybe?).

            • +1

              @hypie: Correct.
              If you have a SIM only plan, then good luck getting the IMEI blocked by any provider here once you find your device stolen. Your telco will only block the SIM card from further misuse until you transfer the number out to another SIM card. They will not help you with IMEI blocking as you did not buy the device from them.

              Police maybe

              Nope.

              If you have an iOS device (which supports activation lock), then you are in luck as long you didn't forget to setup "Find My iPhone" correctly. You don't even need to worry about IMEI blocking as the thief will be carrying a brick once they attempt to re-setup the device.

              • +1

                @DoctorCalculon: That's not an IMEI block though. But yes, there are ways to block the phones via software.

      • -3

        Do you have AppleCare - you can say it was lost and get a new one?
        Ask your parents if they have home contents insurance that covers lost mobiles? (probably not)

        Finally - walk into apple with your old devices receipt / IMEI / serial # etc and see if they can block it so no one can use it regardless of country
        Its an expensive mistake and lesson to learn but you'll never make it again

  • +46

    Gumtree is for face to face cash transactions only

    For future ads just say no paypal and no posting.

    (In before)

    • +3

      Could he not have just done a PayPal invoice and opted in for buyer protection?

      • +22

        …or just checked the paypal account to see that no money had been transferred…

        • +6

          Yes but can't the buyer reverse a paypal transfer or dispute it

          • +4

            @funnysht: yes, very easy to dispute and win, cash only for gumtree. it is a scammers haven, using paypal is basically Russian Roulette except 5 chambers are loaded instead of 1.

            • -7

              @gromit: Russian roulette? No it's not. It's 100% safe even for idiots as it is an instant transfer, but for the last time, there was never any paypal transaction involved.

              The person "buying" the phone said they sent the money to the OPs paypal and showed a photoshopped image. Paypal is instant trasfer and always shows in your own account instantly. Yet for some reason, the OP just believed the scammer even though no money had arrived in their Paypal and posted the item to the other side of the world thinking they had been paid double what the phone is worth.
              The OP got scammed in the dumbest of way because they were greedy and stupid. The end..

              • +2

                @Freezies: There was a paypal/evmbay scam going around a while back was scammer buying something expensive on ebay with paylal, claiming it was faulty when they received it, then returning it. They would then send back a parcel with something else in it, but provide valid tracking info. As soon as it was received a refund would automatically be issued and seller would be out of pocket. Can be disputed but no idea what the success rate was

                • -1

                  @wozz: Yeah, there are variants of every type of scam that have always been around which grow and change as technology develops. Things like this happened long before ebay and Paypal came about. They happen every day, everywhere with every possible payment method. Some people just suck. It's a fact of life which is why buyers and sellers should always protect themselves just incase. The one time I had a return, I filmed myself opening the package. Even today, I always take a photo before and after opening any parcel. People need to take some precautions and responsibility for themselves too rather than relying on third party companies to step in and solve everything.

                  The seller shouldn't accept or sign for a return without inspecting it first. Then always keep proof for yourself. It's not difficult to outsmart the scammers especially when it comes to well known scams. You can always dispute it and things will always fall in your favour.

              • +3

                @Freezies: It is NOT 100% safe at all. There are multiple ways of being scammed even if money arrives with PayPal. Yes in this instance it was a facepalm easy scam due to him not checking, but even if he had the money there are multiple ways he could have lost out.

                • -3

                  @gromit: Nothing is ever 100% safe in that regard as you can get robbed carrying cash, bank transfers and credit card payments can all be disputed too. Why people jump on Paypal like it's some unsafe method is just such an old mentality and usually due to ignorance of how it works and what it's different uses are. It is at least equal to bank transfers, credit cards and cash as it can do the same as all three yet is instant and has better scam protection. You don't use the same paypal method in person as you would for an online transactions and you don't use the same method for personal and consumer transactions either. Like all things, you have to stay within the protection guidelines and use your brains and judgement.

                  There are multiple ways of getting scammed with everything no matter what payment method you use, but you can only get scammed if you don't cover yourself. Banks, digital payments and credit card companies can't cover you if you stray outside of protection laws either and they can't protect you from your own mistakes. People who get scammed like this will get scammed no matter what payment method they use. In this case, the OP was incredibly stupid. In other cases, people ignore the advised ways of doing things and wander outside of the range of protection.

                  People seem to be completely unaware of the fact that in person to person Paypal transactions, most of the time you are doing a straight transfer without buyer/seller protection which is the same as using cash. It is considered a gift and is a one time instant transaction that can't be disputed or charged back. It's cash without having to carry cash and you get a receipt. It's 2020. People really need to get out of this 2005 digital payment mentality.

                  • +2

                    @Freezies: Has, as a victim of a PayPal scam I laugh at your suggestion that it's just like a credit card/bank account transfer.

                    If you sell on eBay, you have to be prepared to potentially lose your item. PayPal is dodgy as shit.

                  • +1

                    @Freezies:

                    Nothing is ever 100% safe in that regard as you can get robbed carrying cash, bank transfers and credit card payments can all be disputed too.

                    Gumtree is filled to the brim with scammers looking for people to rip off, PayPal is one of their favourite mechanisms to enable this. It is why everyone says Gumtree is CASH ONLY.

                    People seem to be completely unaware of the fact that in person to person Paypal transactions, most of the time you are doing a straight transfer without buyer/seller protection which is the same as using cash.

                    No it isn't the same as just using cash at all. Paypal or the credit provider can reverse the transaction if it is claimed as fraud or using a stolen account, a very common tactic of scammers. You seem awfully naive, I suggest before telling people how safe something is you go educate yourself.

                    • -3

                      @gromit:

                      Gumtree is filled to the brim with scammers looking for people to rip off, PayPal is one of their favourite mechanisms to enable this. It is why everyone says Gumtree is CASH ONLY.

                      Like every other place on earth that people buy or sell. Almost half the people I've deal with on Gumtree and Facebook market use P2P paypal. More so since covid started. Only an idiot would pay/be paid with buyers protection for a face to face transactions that can be reversed. Inspect the goods, then pay with straight transfers as a gift. Like sending money to family/friends. There are no reversals or chargebacks. Someone can only gift the money back. You can't initiate chargebacks on gift transactions. Use your common sense. Do you know how many people get robbed of their cash on gumtree and Facebook market etc? There are scammers and pricks everywhere. There always have been, there always will be. Sites like Gumtree advise using a linked Paypal account for this very reason as it DOES protect you, it just can't protect people from doing stupid shit or being reckless and careless or being naive about the common scam methods of today.

                      Paypal or the credit provider can reverse the transaction if it is claimed as fraud or using a stolen account

                      Like with a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay/Google pay or any other form of payment or an ebay account or Amazon account or any other online account. What's your point? That Paypal is somehow the only one that could be hacked or stolen? They all are, but like all things, the only way this happens is when someone gets a hold of someone elses password, or pin or CC number etc. You can't just hack or steal a paypal account. It's digital and even logging in from a different phone or PC sets off triggers. The ony way is if someone got their password and then associated email and password to verify it and this can only happen if someone is stupid enough to fall for phishing tactics. It's easier stealing credit card details or a debit card and pin yet requires just as much if not more proof that it was stolen as digital wallets also have a digital trail including log ins and IPs.

                      You can't just claim a stolen account either, you need to prove it and when it's digital it's actually very difficult. The proof needed needs to just as strong if not stronger than claiming for everything else. Most of time the people that claim this happened to them have done something stupid and have altered their story like leaving their keys in an unlocked parked car but leaving that part out when telling the story. When a scammer claims their account got stolen, they need to prove it and it's very difficult.
                      Banks and Credit card companies can't just reverse something unless the other person has more proof than you. It's like your head is frozen in time many years ago with very simple understanding of how it works. Paypal isn't a credit card company and It's not a bank account. Paypals entire business is transactions. That's what they specialise in, and they know all the scams and have the regulations in place. It's not so simple to simple reverse a transaction and practically impossible when you haven't done something stupid or naive. They have much better protection against this stuff than banks do. It's their entire business model, and they deal in all forms of transactions for individual consumers and large corporations.

                      I buy and sell online and in person all the time for personal transactions and an online business and have for many years. Many people do. You're the one who sounds incredibly naive. Like you have never even used what you are talking about and are basing all your information on third party information from the people who got scammed. Most people don't get scammed and if someone has attempted to scam them, it is easily dismissed if you are aware of how things work. I've had people initiate chargebacks and also trying to scam me in other ways They can be very clever but when you stick to the methods and way of doing things, they can't succeed. Most of the methods are well known and constantly talked about. All these things can be prevented yet there are people who still fall victim to the common tactics then cry foul and blame paypal. Chargebacks using Paypal is a common one and one that can be easily prevented and protected against. People who get scammed will get scammed no matter what the method but usually only fall for it once then they learn. Most people don't need that lesson. Nine times out of ten, when someone get scammed, they then turn around and blame something else and everyone mobs together with the same stories as they have all fallen for the most common scam tactics. The fact is, scams are everywhere and in every method from both the buyers and sellers sides. People need to educate themselves. Nothing is scam proof, but when you use your brains and do things the way they are meant to be done, you are protected from them. It's easy to read all the stories of the people saying they got scammed but people don't tell their stories when things go fine, yet that is the overwhelming vast majority of all transactions.

                      It sucks for all the people who get scammed, but that's just the thing. They got scammed and almost always via known and obvious methods too. People can blame companies like Paypal, but at the end of the day if you didn't cover yourself and fell for known scams then the blame is on you, like it is with the OP and hopefully the lesson is learned.

                      Have a good day.

                      • +1

                        @Freezies:

                        Inspect the goods, then pay with straight transfers as a gift. Like sending money to family/friends. There are no reversals or chargebacks.

                        This is completely FALSE. a claim of a fraudulent transaction will still result in a chargeback/reversal and requires far less proof than a bank. what they can't do is use buyers protection. This is the high risk approach to purchases in person, you get all the negatives of paypal without any of the positives, why would any sane seller adopt an unnecessary risk for a transaction that can easily be done with cash without all the possible downsides of paypal.

              • +2

                @Freezies: If you think PayPal is 100% safe (or even 95% safe), you are waiting in the queue to be scammed. PayPal chargebacks are rife and a seller's worst enemy.

            • @gromit: Stalingrad roulette

          • +2

            @funnysht: Same is true for ebay transactions too. It is becoming difficult to sell stuff now.

    • -2

      If I bought a car on Gumtree did you want me to bring you a bucket of cash?

      • +1

        personally if I sold a car on gumtree yes I would. Either cash or a bank cheque that we go to the bank together to deposit or alternatively you can transfer the money while we are at the branch together. regardless unless you are selling something that is incredibly expensive it hardly requires a bucket of cash. $5-$10k is only a little more than a very thick wallets worth.

        • I just bring bikies and take your car.

    • Even cash can be counterfeit and the person turning can be fake. I would not bother with gumtree

      • Not sure why you are getting negged. Counterfeit cash is a real problem. Someone on /r/Melbourne was scammed on Gumtree with counterfeit cash last week.

        • it is a problem, but incredibly rare compared to the much more common paypal scams. Most scammers would not want to deal with Counterfeit cash as that is something the police really will follow up.

          • @gromit: The ADF even. I agree cash is safer but if you’re selling something for a large amount (eg >$200) I would learn a few easy ways to spot counterfeit cash.

  • +26

    “Much to learn you still have my old padawan. This is just the beginning.”

    • wow.

      Loses $1,000 and we get a star wars reference and 18 upvotes.

      • Upvote to "66"

  • +2

    How about PayPal friend to friend if it hits your account are you safe ?

    • +6

      Not 100% as they can say to the credit card provider it was fraudulent transaction (or use a stolen credit card). PayPal just reverses it then.

      No point with PayPal face to face.

      • +2

        Yeah, cash is king. Its safest to have the money in your hand.

      • PayPal Friends & Family is direct debit with bank account only. No credit card transactions. I believe it is fairly safe.

        • +1

          This is just showing how many people are unaware and ripe for scamming. PayPal Friends and Family is easily reversed. If you are the seller, you are at the mercy of the buyer disputing the transaction (whether paid through bank or card). And since there is no seller protection, the seller automatically loses the case.

    • +2

      If you send it as a friend, then no you are not covered as it's considered the same as a gift.

      If it's as a sale transaction though, yes. You are still covered afterwards if something goes wrong which you're not if you pay cash.

      • It's paypal, you are 50-50 screwed no matter how you do it with them if you come across a scammer.

    • +1

      Actually no, I got paid with a stolen account once this way. Once the account was reported as hacked by the actual owner the payment was promptly reversed by PayPal who immediately set debt collectors on me! Ruthless.

      • +7

        I got done by this as well. I always withdraw money from paypal straight away for this reason. And in my case when I did, the buyer claimed they were hacked and paypal put my account in negative as though it was my fault. Debt collectors came calling and I quite bluntly told them hell would freeze over before I put that money back in.

        The way I see it if a buyers paypal account was "hacked", that is paypal's problem and lack of control, they absorb the cost of their refund scheme. Unfair to pass that on to the seller who had nothing to do with the breach.

        • That is a shame. I agree with your statement. How is it seller's fault if buyer account was hacked. Are they indirectly claiming seller did that?
          What happened to debt collector? Did it affect your credit ratings ?

  • +61

    Gumtree, paying via paypal, money not received and shipping overseas!? OMG How many alarm bells do you need?

    Sorry for your loss, nothing you can do now.

    • +4

      yes i fully agree, now i can see the offer was a bit to good to be true so much so that its a little funny and humiliating

      • +9

        now i can see the offer was a bit to good to be true

        Not to worry, At least you can take a good life lesson to learn away from this. At this least time it only cost your $1k, Not chicken feed, but could have been worse!

        Basically if the offer sounds 'too good to be true' then it most likely is applies for each and every day you're alive.

        • +6

          yes, i have found many scammers out before but for some reason this time it didn't click.

          o'well at least i have something to help me remember the big loss to prevent me doing it again.
          thanks for your help

        • And you didn't catch any STDs, which with 1'000 spend in other ways, could be quite easy.

        • -2

          How could it be worse?

          He flies to the US and someone shoots him?

          Well I guess that is worse.

          • @Other:

            How could it be worse?

            Errr did you not read the entire sentence

            At this least time it only cost your $1k, Not chicken feed, but could have been worse!

            means it could have been 'worse' as in they could have lost more than $1k…..

            He flies to the US and someone shoots him?

            Go get help, you need to talk to someone

            • -2

              @JimmyF: "means it could have been 'worse' as in they could have lost more than $1k….."

              Yes he could of lost $10k. Which apparently would of been much worse for a 17 year.

              "Go get help, you need to talk to someone"

              Sorry I thought guns were a thing in the US. Obviously wrong.

      • +1

        Don't feel bad, almost everyone on earth has been conned before. These people are adept at preying on your vulnerabilities.

        • This.

          Also do research - google is your friend.

      • At least you have a good attitude about it. Hopefully you will be more suspicious of person-to-person online transactions in future. Safest way before shipping anything is direct deposit. And that's direct to BSB and account number, as Payee ID (mobile number) can still be reversed (if within 24 hours).

  • if we have proof could you get the uspis to pursue the case?

    • +2

      Their term and condition would have covered them, they are doing goodwill to intercept the parcel but it may not always successful.

      An expensive lesson learn.

      There are multiple points that you should see that there is an issue,

      Paypal payment - it should be instant except it is a cheque.
      A buyer from US - US seller phone cheaper than Australia even with the secondhand phone, why would someone from US want to pay more + shipping from AU?

      Gumtree is face to face in the public place cash only

      • +1

        yes, but i think Charlotte actually lives in Australia somewhere and was selling my phone to her customer in Texas so that the address she gave me would have only lead to her customer. thats my belief anyway

        • +20

          No need to be so polite and call her Charlotte. It's probably not even a she and no way in hell that's the real name. Sorry for your loss buddy, you rather lose 1k now rather than 10k later trying to sell your car to a soldier stationed in Afghanistan and need your car to be transferred to another state (yes another common scam).

          • @asun88: I always wonder if they do things like that (transferring car to another state), why can't cops just manufacture stint like that and catch the crooks on the spot? If it is really that common…..

            • +6

              @burningrage: Cops firstly couldn't care less, secondly the story is the same that they have paid you extra to cover the transit cost. Then they will ask you to transfer the excess to a bank account which you will never get your money back. Different story, same trick in the end.

        • Perhaps you can forward this to the australian cyber crime department- they are getting tough i heard, and also advise 'Charlotte'- they may be worried enough to do something

          • @funnysht: i have thought of that,
            but what if the phone isn't in her possession anymore to give to me.

        • So back to my point, why would someone from the US buy a phone from Australia? Not to say how much to ship it to us with insurance. I think the US has the cheapest iPhone selling price.

          I know this can happen but very rare, this itself enough to raise an alarming bell.

          • @SnoozeAndLose: that was the thing,
            i saw everyone as a buyer/customer and i didn't take into account that it just could be a scammer.

            but now this has happened if i ever sell on Gumtree again ill only do cash on pickup, and if its out of state ill make sure the cash has come through Pay-pal before i post anything.

            ive learnt a lot from everyone and would like to thank you all for helping me understand what needs to happen to prevent anything like this happening again

            • +6

              @HarrisonA: In my opinion I would just avoid selling anything interstate and keep it local.

    • +11

      Honestly, if this is all true then no, there's nothing you can do. You literally fell for every obvious trick in the book while also avoiding all common sense.

      I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but sending a $1000 item overseas before your parents paypal account even showed money was received is just insane. I'm finding it hard to believe it's true as there are just so many basic things that don't make any sense. if it is true, then you have learned a basic lesson. The USPS won't do a thing. Australia Post won't do a thing. Paypal have nothing to do with it.

      You do however have the receivers address as that is where you posted it to. You may find further information if you can contact them somehow but at the end of the day, I don't like your chances but you can try.

  • get the uspis to pursue the case

    A snowflakes chance in hell.

    btw If you are under 18 how do you have a Paypal account?

    • +1

      it was sent to my Parents Account

      • +13

        it was sent to my Parents Account

        You mean, it was not sent to your parents account.

        • right,

          the money was not sent to my parents account, but the fake receipt has been sent to fool us

  • +2

    You had a $1000 phone!? That use to buy a first car at 17 years of age.

    If you never fall for a scam like this again then it's been a tough but good learning for you.

    • +3

      Might get a cheap car, then pay almost $1000 again for rego and a heap more for insurance.

      • -2

        Who buys insurance for a 1k car?

        • +1

          Third party is still insurance ….

          • +2

            @SBOB: Third party doesn't cost 1k though

            • +3

              @Jackson: It can if you're 18 and bought a stupid car

  • +3

    Wow, so this kind if scam still works.
    Since bank can’t reverse transfer, auspost can’t stop delivery, police can’t catch, no one can help the victim, this is a life changing career. What’s stopping these scammers? I have never heard good news (after) from people I know who were similarly scammed.
    Plus baby boom during covid, so many people needing a life lesson in a couple of years, great opportunities!
    Maybe I should start this business 😂

    • yes,
      and through this Covid scammers have more time on there hands to scam others in many other ways
      i suppose its can be a lesson for all of us that scammers are willing to do anything to get your money

    • +1

      Plus baby boom during covid, so many people needing a life lesson in a couple of years, great opportunities!

      Having a baby while unsure of your cash flow. Going to be a walk in the park for these guys.

    • +1

      It's a fair point brokenglish, I think the worst are the Apple gift card scams. How hard would it be for Apple to cancel some gift cards and reverse the electronic transactions putting the kibosh on these scams? I honestly think it's a fair candidate for legislation. I'm guessing they'd argue it's bad for the developers because they're reversing transactions. But…

      i) In most of these scams the scammers buy their own apps so the scammer and developer are the same entity.
      ii) I don't get to keep physical stolen property that I receive so why should devs expect to keep stolen cash?

      Even if the cancellation was limited to 5 days after gift card redemption, I still reckon it would dramatically hinder the scam.

      • +5

        Apple takes a cut of every sale in the app store. It's not the devs they're looking after.

  • Guess this is how these scammers keep going there is always someone out there to con, Sorry Op i have a 17 year old, you didn't have a parent to give you advice before?

    • no, not at the time.

      • What was the phone/model? First idea it was a con was them offering full price. No one pays full price off gumtree unless it's listed as a bargain price of the century.

      • +7

        i suppose this is another lesson that it never hurts to ask for help once in a while no matter how proud you are 😅

  • This section here is weird

    "As soon as we sent my phone we found out the transaction was a fake and that we needed to get the phone back. we rang AusPost
    straight away and told them about the incident and what we wanted to happen, they then told us that they were going to let it reach Chicago and then turn it around then, from one thing after the other it got closer to it destination and then it said it was delivered. we warned the Usps about what was happening and it still went straight through there fingers. ive been to so many places trying to find out how i could try get my hard earned cash back but no one can help, what do you think i can do"

    As far as I know, Australia Post never straight away send stuff overseas straight away (It would take a few days before products leave Australia for obvious bulk-posting reason). So depending on how quickly did you tell them (say, after 12 hours), then you would think it's Australia Post's negligence, wouldn't you?

    Having said that, I've had experience with Groupon where I told them specifically literally 1 hour after I clicked "Cancel", to disregard the "Cancel" request, they went ahead with it anyway and gave me (credit) refunds after 2-3 days. I was tempted to throw a "chargeback" card but that's another story to tell.

    • +2

      then you would think it's Australia Post's negligence, wouldn't you?

      How much do you think manual intervention costs in a systematized delivery process like this? Not the cost of the postage. Also, what is the implication for other packages?

      What if many people got scammed and asked for this?

      • -4

        Of course it would be costly but would you rather seeing yourself getting scammed in slow motion and helpless at the same time?

        I think there has to be exception for this kind of situation.

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