CHOICE membership

Gumtree Scam


I advertised a video camera on Gumtree and within a short time I got a message from someone interested in buying it. He/she asked me to contact them using an email address which I did.

We negotiated the final price and the potential buyer told me it was to be a gift for a person in the US and was going to add $100 to the price for postage. They said I should soon receive an email from PayPal to say that the money had been paid. I checked the PayPal site and there was nothing there.

I contacted the buyer who said to check for the PayPal email in my Spam folder - and yes there were two of them there. I use PayPal a lot and I have never had one of their emails end up in the Spam folder.

One of the emails explained that the funds have been withheld for security reasons - PayPal do not do that. Checking the email address it was obvious that this email was fake.

I reported the buyer to Gumtree.

I want to bring this scam to the attention of the community as it was quite convincing. These people are getting clever.

One thing I should mention is that Gmail gave a really good warning about this being a fake email and they were right.


The offer reflects a classic scam, sending to a foreign location with extra postage offered.

Well done to pick it up as you have.


Gumtree does warn about people asking for email contact because of scams. The lesson here is just dont do it.

I wont deal with anyone on gumtree who wants me to post, if its not face to face, no deal. There are absolutely NO protections on gumtree even if you use paypal.


I use Gumtree frequently . Another scam to watch out for is when after messaging and receiving messages through the Gumtree site , never use your email , the buyer asks you to meet him/her at the nearest railway station to finalise the deal .

I have heard of sellers turning up at the railway station and being robbed of the article . Often the seller is injured due to being physically assaulted by the parties involved .

Pays to be vigilant on Gumtree .


I find that after a while you get a sense of the person you are dealing with. If I am to meet someone, it will always be somewhere of my choosing (I am prepared to travel for some things) and it will be in an area which is fairly busy. I have a preference for the coffee shop at my local shopping centre. Its busy enough so if someone tried to rip you off, they would be noticed, and its not so busy they could get lost in a crowd. Also, the centre is in suburbia, with quite a distance to car park and roads. It would not be easy to make an escape there. Also means I dont have to deal with potentially dodgy characters at my home, which is something that bothers the heck out of me. Of course, large objects must be picked up from there… you takes yer chances, as they say.


Only time I was ever asked to have such a meeting - the seller was 40km away, and suggested we meet half way, in a perfectly respectable restaurant in a well patronised shopping centre.
And Gummie also warns you - ALWAYS deal in person - NEVER over the internet, like the scammer colmadden is talking about at the start of this post.


Gumtree should always be a face to face contact if possible. Scammers are everywhere these days.


I advertised my Trek road bike on Gumtree. Within a few hours of the ad appearing I had two separate inquiries, the first stated he was too busy to come and look at the bike. He would pay via PayPal and send his ‘agent’ to collect it.
The second one claimed to be a marine engineer at sea with no internet access (except he could access PayPal) and that he would send his ‘agent’ to collect the bike.
I was immediately suspicious and checked the ACCC’s ‘Scamwatch’ site, where I learned that there is a PayPal scam.
It goes like this - the buyer pays you and you send the item. However, the funds are slow too clear. The buyer then claims that the item was never received. Bingo; you have lost your item and you have no money to show for it.
I asked both buyers for an address. Buyer 1 immediately disappeared and buyer 2 told me I don’t need an address, as his agent will collect. I replied to buyer 2 ands told him I believed he was a scammer. Buyer 2 then disappeared.
I reported it to Scamwatch.


Looks like it must be Gumtree specific/only internet access that the marine engineer has.

Also make sure users are reported to Gumtree…


another variation on the scam is where the scammer advertises a really desirable thing at an unbelievable price. Then, when you contact them, they say something like "Unfortunately, we have moved to (random far away town) but we have a preferred shipping service. If you pay blah blah … (you can see how this goes).

I have received threatening invoices from the imaginary shipping company in response to these ones. I usually string them along a bit just to waste their time as much as possible.