Scammed on Gumtree (Sent $950 Seller Didn't Post Goods) - Police Don't Seem to Care?

Hey all,

Mostly just need to vent, but was recently ripped off $950 from a seller on Gumtree which is annoying, but I am more disappointed in how little the police care. I have the persons mobile number and bank account details (Australian Bank) and basically when I tried to report it they basically said don't bother there was nothing they could do.

I mean, surely they should at least do a basic investigation with the bank to try and prevent this stuff happening again or at least get the bank account closed? I was able to report it at scamwatch (although they do nothing) and I reported it to my bank who basically said it had been more than 24 hours since depositing the funds, they weren't able to recover any money or help in anyway.

Anyway, guess the lesson is to not trust anyone in this country any more :(.


  • +154

    Did you willingly transfer funds to someone's bank account? Instead of Gumtree cash on collection? Yep, no wonder.

    • +20

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • +2

      Probably on a deal so good it was "worth taking the risk"

    • +5

      How good is victim blaming!

      • -10

        This is a tired old argument. If I am told not to ride my pushy on a certain road because it's dangerous, if I get hit by a speeding driver whose fault is it? 100% the speeding driver?

        • +20

          It literally is!

          • -10

            @jakeh87: So you think there's zero blame on me? And zero blame on someone who sends money insecurely to a complete stranger? You've GOT to be joking.

            • +11

              @MikeKulls: It's a real shame to be so cynical. These are enforceable crimes, just because 'everyone should know' doesn't mean everyone does. Not doing any investigation at all really sucks.

              Lots of people are making a LOT of money doing these scams, aided by gumtree and facebook marketplace and the users are the one who pays. It's not ok.

              • -1

                @Sxio: Everyone does know. Everyone who sends money like this knows they risk losing it, they just took the risk. People get very emotional about this argument but end of the day some blame rests on them. Just like if I chose to drive my pushbike in Turkey knowing what crazy drivers they are, some blame would rest on me.

              • @Sxio: BTW, you responded to everything except what I said. I never said it wasn't a crime, I never said it was ok and I never said doing no investigation was cool.

      • -2

        Political buzzwords are of no help either

        Doesnt matter someone is right or wrong. If you willingly transfer funds to someone's account and did not take action immediately, its over.

        • +9

          How is victim blaming a political buzzword? Its what it says in the title - blaming a victim for financial injury.

          • +5

            @jakeh87: The twats of the world have learned to just put the word political in front of anything they don't like, and then claim others only care for nebulous 'political' reasons which are thus invalid and don't need to be listened to or responded to with any logic to discount. Don't like manners? Just call it 'political correctness', and claim there's no reason other than shallow 'political' teams that anybody would care about you being rude and creating problems for others.

  • +14

    It won't help you, but I'm pretty sure people have been ripping off other people for centuries.

    • +89

      Not in this country though, that would be a first.

      It's not like we started off as a bunch of criminals and misfits from England or something.

      • +8

        Built by crooks and governed by gangsters who want their cut of any transaction.

        • +8

          Leave the government out of this otherwise civil discussion.

          • -1

            @iDroid: I hope you're not implying that the Australian Government are casually referred to as gangsters in these forums.
            That's a theory at best, which I do not entertain.

    • -3

      There's a word for this, it's called 'capitalism'. Whenever you tell people that personal wealth is more important than community and virtuous behaviour, people will fleece other people. Scammers are constantly trying to take what little other people have; the internet has made it 5 times as commonplace as it was in the analogue days.

      • +13

        thats not really the/a definition of capitalism..more that of greed (no they are not meant to be synonymous)

      • +3

        Capitalism is when bad thing happen

        • +5

          lol, because "true" communism has never been tried yet

          • @yannyrjl: Our system is perfect. Don't question it. Just reiterate tired and unfunny points in response to any criticism.

            • -1

              @WinstonWithAY: not perfect, but certainly better than all forms of "not real communism" tried around the world involving a variety of cultures, cost millions of lives, let alone entire generations of near zero prospects, no individual choice & freedom

              • @yannyrjl: Good thing capitalist systems haven't also killed millions. You geniuses think the only brand of socialism or communism is Stalinism because you've been brainwashed by reactionary propaganda.

                • @WinstonWithAY: incorrect, lived through it

                • @WinstonWithAY: also if you logically think about it, it all turns into Stalinism because of the ultimate power struggle at the top would eventually lead to a similar outcome, as the ruthless and devious would usually be victorious after a few iterations

  • +80

    I feel places like gumtree really need to issue a learners course and basic quiz on how to not get scammed prior to using the platform.

    Gumtree is cash only on swap of goods.
    Anything else FORGET it.

    Mobile is worthless, easy to get a $1 sim or similar.

    • +30

      It literally gives you a pop up about this.

      • +5

        The more u know!
        I haven’t used scumtree for years. Just too many scammers and time wasters

      • +2

        Victims always use popup blockers

        • The only thing they know how to install.

    • +3

      I agree. They've now added a label that says shipping offered and thrash pay via PayPal. Definitely trouble for the uninitiated.

      Exhibit A. Shipping offered and PayPal accepted.

      • +2

        Weird they have their address on there……..

    • +1

      Prepaid sim card require identification to activate the SIM card now. Have so for at least 5-8 years (I can't remember when it was implemented).

      • Very easy to use someone else's details.

    • -1

      I do not agree with you, sorry, gumtree has paypal and paypal has a policy where you can decline your payments which can be reversed back to your account. Gumtree is good. Love it

    • lol, thats exactly why ebay bought gumtree to make ebay look safer,

      you can see it from other comments saying ebay is a safer market place with upto 15% sale commission…

    • I did a cash only swap of goods the other week and still got scammed with some fake items.

      Had checked the serial number online and everything. The only giveaway were a few spelling mistakes on the user manual.

      So I'd say cash only, swap of goods, with an invoice that has a matching serial number on it

      • +1

        Wow - that’s just a next level scam
        What was it if you don’t mind me asking

        • apple headphones, my guess is they're either refurbished being sold as new, or somehow they're not using genuine apple parts internally, mind you the iphone recognises them as genuine airpods with genuine H1 chip.

          build quality on the airpods look genuine too, the user manuals are the only give away.

          • @StrangeDisposition: Interesting … I know AirPod pro reps are visually indistinguishable down to the box and wrapping but I thought no rep maker had got past h1 chip cloning

            • @Jimothy Wongingtons: no idea, i havent pulled it open to check whether it's a real apple chip or not, just can see that the iphone is recognising it as genuine airpods and i've inspected all the parts externally which all look legit quality wise.

              When playing music they drop out constantly, it's more or less unusable, very disappointing.

  • +27

    Step 1 - Don't transfer money to strangers
    Step 2 - Refer to step 1

    Hmm $950? Trying to buy a PS5 are we?

    • shoulve bought xbox series s cheaper

  • +11

    Things to do tonight - post ad for PS5, only cash deposit into western union account!
    Let the $$$ roll in

    • +3

      I’m only joking OP I feel for ya it sucks to be scammed! Never give cash again no matter how desperate

    • Include a free pair of airpods if paying today only.

  • +1

    Without knowing the context to your alleged scam experience it’s hard to say if their response was valid or underwhelming.
    Got any physical proof of what happened?

    It sucks getting stung for $950 but its petty in the scheme of things.
    Generally speaking they aren’t overly fussed about petty crime as theres much more pressing issues at hand that need their attention then someone getting stung in a minor scam.

    Take it as a life lesson…

    • +3

      Got any physical proof of what happened?

      I'm sure OP could have shown the police the outgoing payment of $950…

      Generally speaking they aren’t overly fussed about petty crime as theres much more pressing issues at hand that need their attention then someone getting stung in a minor scam.

      So what is worth their time? It's not like these scammers will stop scamming after 1 successful scam. They could have scammed people tens of thousands of dollars haha.

      • +9

        Showing a bank statement of outgoing funds isn’t proof.
        How would the police be able to verify that the op didn’t receive his goods, that it wasn’t just lost in the mail, that the op is not running his own scam?
        It would take an investigation, time and a lot of effort.

        Have you seen the amount of violent and dangerous crime around these days?
        They can’t be going around mediating every minor private sale dispute, theres just not time in the day or enough officers to handle it.

        The scammers probably have ripped a heap of naive people off, but unless you could show evidence of that its purely conjecture. Thus, its just a civil matter between two people.

        Losing $950 sucks, but it’s a cheap life lesson op won’t forget.

        • +8

          Honest question, at what point would you consider this a matter for police? This could be the 10th person scammed, nearly $10,000 stolen. Wouldn't you like this person punished by the law?

          • +5

            @Daz91: I would report any scam successful or not for any amount large or small to the police.

            I just wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t follow up on perceived minor scams, especially ones that can be viewed as civil matters.

            I would love it if they could follow up on every report, but there just isn’t enough time and resources.

            • +1

              @El cheepo: tell the police the guy is a freedom protester that will get a 100 cars to his place

      • Lmao

        ‘Omg look I transferred money!!!! Arrest him!!’

    • +10

      Meanwhile, steal a chocolate bar from a corporate and police swoop

      • +3

        I agree, Its a messed up system.
        Not advocating it at all, i feel for the OP.

        But just pointing out the reality of the situation.

      • Not really true.
        Watched a guy walk out of woollies with $400 of self scanned unpaid goods. Register is 5 steps from exit and once outside staff won't do anything.
        Someone asked if he would go back and pay for it as he walked off.
        He said no.
        They just wrote it off.

        • +2

          Not sure the kids working minimum wage can do anything, or if Woolworths management would want a scene, but maybe they have so many security cameras that they can give that to police and the guy will be found.

      • No they won't. Unless you catch them red handed and arrest them, what's police gonna do? Block every street in the area attempting to find some random guy from a vague description?

        I used to work for a huge online retailer and did some work in the fraud prevention area. They had between 10 and 50 fraudulent orders per day. They didn't even bother reporting them to the police as they've told them "if it's more than $10,000 call us, otherwise not much we can do".

  • It's not that there was empathy missing

    They were just trying to be professional and not show other emotions…

    another sucker has punted $950 sight unseen on gumtree 😂😂😂😂

  • +12

    You have not described exactly how you were ripped off?

  • +3

    Geez no matter how much money you got. Getting ripped off doesn't feel good.

  • +8

    Wow, more responses than I expected.

    To give a little more info…

    Was trying to purchase a smart cycling trainer. I contacted the guy over gumtree initially (so message history there), then SMS'd him discussing the item further. I then called him and spoke to him (Had an Australian accent) and got his address (which is obviously fake in hindsight) and organised a time to come pick it up/inspect. So at this stage it seemed pretty genuine…

    The issue is he is like a 4 hour drive (8 hour round trip) away (he didn't know where i was from) so I then asked if he would be willing to post which he said he was. Hence then depositing the money…

    So like I'm not sure how the scam would have worked if I went to the address to pickup?

    I know the police are busy (They have minor speeding fines to give out) but like what's deterring people from doing more of these scams?
    And re the mobile number, even the $1 sim card still require an Australian Drivers license to activate (You can't buy burner SIMs like in the USA).
    And again they've obviously setup an Australian Bank Account… At the very least the Police should be shutting down the bank account and determining if the ID has been stolen/setting flags to prevent new accounts being setup under that name.

    Anyway I know it was stupid and partly my fault for getting ripped off but my point was there should be some sort of system in place to at least try and prevent scammers using the same details to run the same scams again. I mean, seems like an easy way to make money if there is no risk of police investigating?

    • +3

      oof $950 for a secondhand smart trainer.

      I picked up my tacx Flux for $450 off marketplace, obviously cash on pickup.

      I've sent goods via post because someone's been really desperate for it over east who transferred the full amount through paypal.
      Would i do it myself (purchase requiring postage and electronic transfer?) god no.

        • +5

          You've gotta hand it to peloton for their marketing though.
          Sold a dream to naive Americans only to then get the handcuffs out and lock them into a $60 subscription service

          • +2

            @Drakesy: Nobody does marketing like Americans.

    • +40

      At the very least the Police should be shutting down the bank account and determining if the ID has been stolen/setting flags to prevent new accounts being setup under that name.

      Based on what? YOU claiming they scammed you? It doesn't work that way. You willingly transferred funds over with no clear T&Cs agreed like, say a contract.

      Look at it from Police perspective, where's the proof? What if that guy counter-claims saying you already picked it up and now trying to scam him. They don't act on He Said, She Said.

      If you feel you have enough of a case and their details then consider taking them to small claims court. Maybe even the suggestion or threat of it might magically make your money come back.

      What's deterring people from doing more of these scams?

      Nothing. That's why they're so rampant. In fact good natured trusting people like yourself are part of the problem. They got $950 off you, why wouldn't they sucker someone else too?

      Or, maybe it's all a big misunderstanding and the poor guy's phone fell in the pool or broke his leg or got sick and riddled in bed or some other life lemon and will get back to you soon. Hopefully.

      • If it was mailed presumably there'd be a record of that with whatever carrier took it. It sounds like a big package.

        • Nah never assume something like that.

          Could be picked up by the buyer so no record.

          Could be they both met in a car park somewhere.

          Could be sent untracked mail.

          Could be buyer changed their mind.

          Could be another item in question.

          Way too many variables that cannot be proven. If people are willing to scam, they're likely willing to lie about it too.

          • @Hybroid: From the sounds of things the messages claim it was mailed.

      • Well said.

    • +4

      obviously setup an Australian Bank Account

      Not obvious - scammers could be using stolen bank account details. When your internet bank details get phished, people don't always drain the account straight away … they might just use it for some money laundering or running other scams.

      Obviously not all scammers are this sophisticated, but some are.

    • -5

      check your bank to chargeback or you might have fraud insurance if you paid by cc for example. Cops are worried about their own area first and it's difficult to coordinate to that area. Worst case is you can leave a review on who called me etc with the number and scam warning msgs on gumtree.

      • +9

        Cant chargeback a bank transfer. Hows he going to be using a credit card for gumtree unless through paypal.

        • -4

          chargeback/reverse, there are some insurances or at least banks that handle this better.

        • Interesting, so would bank transfer be a viable option for payment (as well as cash) when selling on marketplace/gumtree as it cannot be charged back ? What abou PayID/Osko/Beam it ? Asking from a sellers point of view.

    • +17

      Nothing amazing to offer, just wanted to say that I feel for you $950 is not nothing to lots of us. And you're right, you know a crime occurred and you should be able to get assistance. It's poor and the cops are crap. I'll probably get negs for that but that's how I feel. Been too many times where I've helped, called cops for things, been a witness in court for them etc. But they have never once helped me (except for one years ago who realised I was deserving of some leniency due to their keenness). The system is rigged.

      • +4

        I think half the time the cops know there is no point in pursuing certain crimes because the criminal will not be punished by our justice system.

        • +3

          Agreed and it must be very disheartening for the ones that care too.

    • +6

      I'm not suggesting the police could not have made an effort to assist more, but…

      At the very least the Police should be shutting down the bank account.

      On what basis, he has not even been found guilty of anything yet? Even if he was arrestested, faced trial and was convicted, even the worst serial killer has the right to hold a bank account.

      • -4

        If the police wanted to they could investigate and easily get to the bottom of this, providing the phone number and address was legit, maybe then this grub would be pressured to do what he said he would do instead of ripping the OP off, but it shows they [Police] just don't give a stuff.

        • +8

          This is an agreement between two people that went wrong, it is a civil case. Police can't do anything as it is he said she said. It's a court matter if anything, not criminal. Nothing to investigate. If it becomes a court case then the kinds of things you are expecting the police to investigate, the lawyers can gather as evidence.

      • +3

        Bruh not if you're convicted for money related crimes. They shut down bank accounts for less, like DONATING to that truckers rally in Alberta Canada.

    • "YOU" are the only protection from scams. Like other posters have said, scams have been occurring since the dawn of civilisation (heck civilisation is probably also a scam, but that's a different topic). You need protect yourself against scams and I hope this is your last lesson on it.

      • In fact its a sign of civilisation when scams take over from simple robbery with violence; as Weber noted the aim of any effective state is that the state has a monopoly on violence.

        So OP's experience shows that in spite of our being founded by crims Australia really is a civilised place.

        • -1

          True civilization is when your society doesn't use violence to coerce you into doing things you don't want to do (like paying a speeding fine), or violence to prevent you from doing things you wish to do (like smoke crack cocaine, or set up a tent on public land such as a park). There is very little difference between Australia and Communist China in this regard. The smaller the government the better.

    • When you click his profile, does it have the little badge and say "Highly Rated" next to it?

      P.S. Sucks you got scammed. I'm taking a risk for $200 for a posted item later today so wish me luck.

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