Is it a scam?'s warning signs

This list used to be on Gumtree's website but I can't find it anymore. This is quite a thorough list though it still needs some work.

Requests to use money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram. These services are not meant for transactions between strangers. In our experience they’re favoured by fraudsters. One popular trick is to ask you to prove that you have funds by sending money to a friend or relative via these services and show them the receipt. All they need is the tracking number from your receipt and they’ll be able to collect your money. Any requests by strangers to use these services in any way should sound off alarm bells and shouldn’t be followed.

An email allegedly from «CompanyName» (or another company) asking for your personal details - logins/passwords/credit card details. You get an email that claims to be from «CompanyName» or another company and requests that you reply or follow a link to provide personal information. These are fake and are known as ‘spoof’ or ‘phishing’ emails. Any emails which combine urgency with a need for personal details should be treated with caution, no matter whom they appear to be from. Website pages can be easily faked. «CompanyName» and most other companies will never send out such emails. If you get an email alleging to be from «CompanyName» asking for your personal information, don’t follow any links provided in the email.

Payment or protection services allegedly offered by «CompanyName» or other well known sites such as eBay or PayPal. You get an email that claims to be from «CompanyName», eBay, PayPal or another company and offers buyer protection or an online payment system. This could be directly in connection with a transaction through someone you’ve met online. Or perhaps the buyer or seller suggests you use a payment or protection service from one of these companies and sends you to a link to follow instructions. These are fake and are known as ‘spoof’ or ‘phishing’ emails. «CompanyName» doesn’t offer any form of payment scheme or protection. While other companies may offer payment or protection schemes, the email or instructions you have received may not be genuine. If you receive an email alleging to be from a company offering a service, always go directly to the company’s official website and look for details of the service.

Cheque overpayment. A buyer, prospective tenant or even an employer will send you a cheque worth more than the value of the items/rent/job. They’ll then ask for the surplus money to be returned to them or a third party, for example ‘to pay for shipping’. The cheque will clear into your bank account, only to be refused weeks later. At this point, the bank/building society will take the full cheque amount back out of your account. This would then leave you out of pocket for the amount on the cheque and the amount you passed on as the difference.

Fake escrow sites. A buyer/seller or prospective tenant/landlord suggests using an escrow service to complete the transaction. These escrow websites often may look official, but are actually run by fraudsters. They’ll take your money and never send you the product.

Payment for brokerage/importing. A seller claims that there are brokerage fees, import duties or similar fees required to get an item into the country. Don’t pay these fees. You’ll most likely never get the product and will lose any money you paid. Always remember, «CompanyName» is designed for meeting up to deal with people in your neighbourhood face to face.

Work from home. Some work from home opportunities are fronts for money laundering. A key warning sign should be any 'job' that involves you receiving cheques and cashing them. These jobs are sometimes referred to as ‘money mules’. Another warning sign is a job that doesn’t require a face to face interview. Other work from home offers can be pyramid schemes which require you to recruit other members to get paid. For example, an ad might say that you can make £100 an hour by stuffing envelopes. But to make that money, you need to sell the system to others. For these reasons, we typically don't accept ads that offer work from home positions on «CompanyName».

419 scams. You get an email saying that your help is needed to take money out of a country and that you’ll be paid a commission for your help. Eventually the fraudsters will ask you for money to help them take the large amount of money out of the country. Once you pay, you’ll never hear from them again.

Pet shipping scams. A seller will claim to have a pet and will offer to ship them from an overseas location, or even get you to book seats on a plane. These are usually sought after dog breeds such as English Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas. These ads are usually accompanied by staged pictures. The pets don't exist and the fraudsters are simply trying to get you to pay money upfront. Remember, be wary of overseas sellers.


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