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So my sister was looking for an iPhone for her boyfriend as a birthday gift and decided to check out gumtree and so she found one for $400 she emailed the person asking if it was still available because it was within her price range and she got an email back saying that the phone was still available. So this person sends her an amazon invoice with details of the phone and a “customer and reference number” and tells her that she has to pay through western union. The seller told my sister that the money will be paid to “amazon” and amazon will hold the money until my sister gets the phone. Once my sister has received the phone and she is happy with it then amazon will release the funds to the seller. If my sister isn’t happy with the phone then she sends it back and amazon will return back to the money to my sister. So my sister came to me with an amazon invoice sent by email and she wanted to check if it was legit because I’m a regular shopper on amazon. I found it really strange that the payment had to be made by western union because I’ve never paid through western union so I emailed amazon on their actual website and I quoted the order number that was on the “amazon invoice” turns out it was a scam. I got an email back from amazon saying that it was a complete scam and that they have had a few people with the same problem. The seller emailed my sister to see if she got the invoice and so I replied back to them with colourful language and I’ve never heard back from them. I also reported the ad and had it removed from gumtree I’m so glad my sister came to me because she was minutes away from walking down to a western union.


Posted by trishoet, 24th June 2014


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  • Western Union is often processed via Australia Post at the Post Offices. I have heard staff ask if they are sure it is genuine as once Aust. Post immediately forwarded the funds there is nothing they can do. From what I have overheard, if you are asked to pay via Western Union that to me rings alarm bells as I know some scammers use them. You should also take the paperwork into your local fraud squad, They like to hear about these. If you aren’t able to do that is it possible you could send them copies and a covering letter.

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  • She is very fortunate you checked for her. In fact ebay and Gumtree has warnings about certain scammers and Western Union is one of them . It sounds too complex anyway and just by explaining it puts you off instantly . It is a really sad and disgusting practise .

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  • The whole set up sounds strange. I would have thought that Pay Pal would be a valid payment option.

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  • yes thanks for letting people know. i don’t use amazon though but gumtree

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  • Wow, I hadn’t heard of this, thanks for sharing and good job protecting your sister!

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  • Its horrible that you have to be careful every second of the day for scammers and how easy it is for this thing to happen. Glad your sister mentioned something to you.

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  • Glad you were there for your sister and were able to save her from being scammed.

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  • yeah don’t be too trusting of strangers when it comes to your money.

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  • Read gumtree buying guidelines they don’t take responsibility I hope she got a good phone.

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  • Thank you all after that incident my sister and I were very cautious and when buying things online I always do a background check with reviews and it really helps when people leave reviews on products or websites and either comment if it’s trustable or not. There’s just way too many scammers nowadays that it can be hard to know if it’s legit or not but I only do pick ups with cash on pickup for gumtree.

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  • Yes if it’s too good to be true it usually is.

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  • So glad she didn’t go through with it. When I posted something on gumtree I got all of these scam emails trying to get me to release my goods. These people make my blood boil. Those along with the people who ring you attempting to hack into your computer. I kept one on the phone stringing them along telling them I was doing what they asked of me and that I had my computer in front of me ( it was down the other end of the house). The person eventually cottoned on and said “Mam, you are making fool of me.” To which I replied “Yes and you’re trying to defraud me and when I hang up I will be calling the Australian Federal Police.” I had the phone slammed in my ear by the no good so and so.

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  • thanks for the heads up cheers

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  • You have to be careful with Gumtree, there are alot of scams on there from people

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  • If a deal seems to good to be true, then it probably is. Anything using ” Western Union” is automatically suspect, and should be checked. When it comes to buying electrical goods, I’d always prefer to buy from a shop, as you have somewhere to go back to if there’s problems. The old “sell it on the internet, you buy it & send money to the seller, and then you never see whatever it was you bought” scam is becoming all too common these days. The only way I pay for internet purchases is with PayPal, which offers protection to buyers and sellers.

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