Buy and sell on the net? Check this out!
Clever scams and scammers abound these days pretty much everywhere. Institutions of all kinds run dishonest scams and lets never forget those that guide our destiny, our wellbeing—the political class. Getting elected via lies, etc. and then proving incompetent, if not positively dangerous, is a scam, is it not? For that we are scammed $2million per year, per pollie and then more in pensions. Anyway, many of us buy and or sell using the internet at some time. There may be a few tips of use in this article.
Cheating people out of their hard-earned savings is big business, and people selling new and second-hand goods in online marketplaces like Gumtree are the latest group to be targeted by internet scammers.
‘You’ve basically given them a free iPhone’: Aussies have lost $50 million this year in scams
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australians have lost more than $50 million in scams this year alone, and those are just the ones that have been reported.
Many people are too embarrassed to speak up, or just don’t get around to it.
Lisa Du, who helps provide technology training to older Australians through company ReadyTechGo, was approached while trying to sell a brand new iPhone 8 with an asking price of $800.
“Within an hour of listing it on Gumtree, I got a text message from a “Sue” on my mobile phone.
“I was like, cool — someone’s interested.
“I emailed [her] straight away … she replied quite quickly and said, ‘this is for my niece and I want to get it for her as a graduation present and I’m going to pay you $100 to post it and I’ll do that all through PayPal’.
“The way they try and scam you is they might try and send a fake transaction on PayPal to you, and you think you’ve got the money.
“And then you’ll post the item and you’ve basically given them a free iPhone.”
Lisa’s husband, Brad Donnini, was also approached by a scammer on Gumtree while trying to help a client sell a caravan for $25,000.
Immediately suspicious, he reported the incident to police.
He said there were plenty of warning signs that it was a scam.
“Wanting our bank details so early on, before really much discussion; explaining that he had limited communications, when he was obviously able to use Gumtree to see my ad, and then wanting to only communicate through email,” he said.
Social media sites being used in romance scams
Jan Marshall was fleeced of $260,000 by a romance scammer.
She said those seeking to fleece people of their money online are adept at emotional manipulation.
“They deliberately get us into a state where we fall in love with them and we drop our guard,” she said.
Ms Marshall recently released a memoir, Romance Scam Survivor: The whole sordid story.
“He has built a picture of my ideal longing and dream — even better than I could imagine myself,” the book reads.
“A picture of how it might be to share my life with someone is a very powerful incantation of my wants and desires.”
She wasn’t the only person to lose money this way — not by a long shot.
According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, Australians have already lost $9,950,502 to dating and romance scams this year alone.
New South Wales Police Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Matt Craft, says NSW Police prosecute offenders for fraud-related activity on a daily basis.
“[They] generally demonstrate some sort of hardship or disability, wanting you to deposit your money,” he said.
“You’re the seller and here these people are, trying to get you to part with your money.
“You need to treat these things with suspicion.”
Mr Craft says these sorts of crimes can take a toll on people emotionally, on top of the financial loss.
“We do see victims becoming traumatised time and time again,” he said.
“They’re embarrassed to report it to police, [but] we encourage them to report it.
“They need to understand that the NSW Police will take it seriously.”
Don’t engage — just delete
Detective Acting Superintendent Craft says government websites such as Scamwatch and documents like the Little Black Book of Scams on the ACCC’s website are ways people can identify whether they’re potentially being taken for a ride.
There are also some other common-sense ways people can protect themselves from scams.
“When somebody asks you for a payment request, you need to have your wits about you and treat it with suspicion,” he said.
“Generally when you ask further questions about why they’re taking you down a particular path, you’ll quickly realise that something’s not quite right.”