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Gumtree users warned over payment scam

cyber attack ethical hackersShoppers are being urged by Scottish cyber security chiefs to be wary of scammers operating on a popular classified sales website.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has become aware of a spate of incidences on Gumtree involving a particular confidence trick that seeks to play on the kindness of others.

It comes from supposed “buyers” who claim to have problems sorting a courier – and ask sellers to front up costs that will be compensated in a PayPal payment.

The “buyer” will then claim to have made the payment through the recognised site and send a fraudulent email confirming this.

Sellers are then asked to make a payment to couriers, through a third party site such as Moneygram or Western Union that has, according to the scammer, been accounted for in the PayPal payment.

Needless to say, no such payment has been made and any money transferred makes its way to the scammers.

Gerry Grant, an SBRC expert on cyber crime, said: “While the vast majority of buyers and sellers on the site are legitimate we urge people to think carefully before agreeing on unconventional payment methods or trades.

“When processing any payments or services online it is important for businesses and individuals to exercise reasonable caution.

“As ever, if you find something suspicious, ask for further confirmation and only proceed if you are sure that confirmation and guarantees are genuine.

“One of the things that make these kinds of sites and services so useful is the ability to connect you with many people interested in buying what you’re selling. It’s better to wait for a genuine buyer than risk being ripped-off just to expedite the process.”

This advice comes shortly after SBRC announced record uptake for their Ethical Hackers scheme which seeks to educate businesses and individuals on the dangers and pitfalls of running social media accounts.

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