Gumtree is helping millions of people in getting their next house, selling their secondhand cars, or even finding a job. It is basically a British classified advertisement portal currently owned by eBay. It came to existence in March 2000 and eventually became UK’s largest website for local community classifieds in 2010.
However, the rapid rise in online traffic has caused some disruption, and the portal is facing an uphill task of dealing with the scammers. Gumtree users are facing fraudulent scammers who are attempting to scam people out of their cash.
Moreover, the scammers are further fooling people into different kind of scams. One of the prime examples is the convicted British online sex offender Matthew Falder, who approached most of his victims via Gumtree. Fake products, false properties, and selling theft material are a few other examples of Gumtree scam.
Credit must be given to Gumtree for doing their best in stopping every fake ad or taking down every copycat site instantly. There is only so much the management can do. Users also need to play their part by avoiding and reporting any possible scam.
In order to report or avoid a scam, the users must be aware of what a scam is, and how it looks like. As mentioned before, the type of scams differs, and hence it is quite difficult for a user to differentiate between the scam and a real seller/buyer. Mentioned below are some of the common scams every user must be aware of.
Fake Gumtree Websites
Gumtree claims that they will always bring down a copycat website as soon as they identify it. Unfortunately, there are scammers who get their scams done well before the management could identify or take action.
Ultimately, it is down to users’ eloquence to identify fraud on their own. A fake Gumtree website looks like a real one, but there are always some minor glitches such as wrong spellings, or wrong web address that separates it from a real website.
Fake Gumtree Texts
As a Gumtree account holder, you will receive quite a lot of texts regarding an ad or a job position you are interested in. Again, it is hard to differentiate between a fraudulent, fake text and a real one. A fake text, however, will always have an essence of oddness to it. For example, a text asking your account details (user name or password) is likely a fraud. Make sure you never fall for a text that casts doubt in your mind.
Fake Gumtree Emails
Scammers will try to reach you through emails as well. Remember, there is no guarantee that every email coming from [email protected] would be legit. There will always be some hints which could be indicating towards a potential fraud.
For instance, an email asking for your bank details, account details or having words like urgent/help as their subject is likely to be a fraud. Look out for them, and never give away your bank details to any suspicious person.
The fraudulent car dealers rank among the top scammers on the Gumtree. They create an individual account and post ads for cars in excellent conditions. In reality, these cars are far from excellent and are often missing parts as well.
Moreover, these scammers are also sending buyers fake eBay receipts. As soon as the buyers pay, these scams run away with all the money and buyers get nothing in return. Buyers must ask their seller every little detail about the car such as previous financing, insurance details, and MOT details beforehand to avoid any fraud.
Gumtree has also provided the users with a car buying/selling guide on their platform. It’s important for the users to refer to the guidelines before beginning any negotiations. It’s just a little more effort that can save users from Gumtree scams.
Look Out for these Warning Indicators
1. Any Gumtree message/email/call asking you to make instant payments or else your account would be suspended is a scam. Always remember that no recognized job/ad portal works like that. They always keep their customers their first priority.
2. Scammers sometimes post ads of products that are comparatively cheaper than similar products from a different seller. This is a common trick to lure buyers and eventually setting them up for a scam.
3. Gumtree has different types of sellers. Some are very friendly and nice, while others very direct and business oriented. There could be something suspicious whenever a seller goes an extra mile or acting extra sweet towards the buyer.
Protect Yourself from the Scams
You need to protect yourself no matter how much Gumtree assure you that their portal is a safe place. The management gives their best to protect their users but some scammers still manage to sneak away. Users need to be attentive and precautious to deal with such scammers and here’s how they can do that:
1. Never respond to a text that sound suspicious to you. Try to contact customer advisor if you feel that you are constantly receiving weird Gumtree texts.
2. Do not respond to emails that do not make sense to you. for example, never click on a link that is telling you to update your information. You can separately login to Gumtree account to check if you need to update any info or not.
3. Avoid dealing with sellers that are trying to be extra-friendly with you. First, they will win your trust and next they will lure you in some kind of a fraud. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all friendly sellers are a scam, but a precautious approach is recommended.
4. Always use Reply to Ad button for communication. keeping it ‘in-house’ will protect you from scam and frauds through Gumtree filters.
5. Users must be wary of buyers or sellers that ask you to switch payment method. Try to avoid doing this for anyone.
6. Report any suspicious activity or a scam to Gumtree’ cybercrime reporting department as soon as possible.