BORDER residents trying to sell cars in the newspaper are being targeted by scammers.
Retired Jindera teacher’s aide Kathy Harris advertised her Kia in The Border Mail classifieds about a month ago.
Ms Harris said she received a text message from an enthusiastic buyer who wanted to pick the car up.
The buyer told her he was “out of town” and would send an agent to pick up the car once she had provided her address and PayPal details.
That set off alarm bells for Ms Harris.
“Why would you want to buy a car you hadn’t seen?” she said.
After several messages and emails, Ms Harris’ son decided something was up.
“He just knew straight away, ‘No, no, Mum, you don’t want to be doing that’.”
Several more sellers who had been targeted contacted The Border Mail.
The way the scammers did it was always the same in every case.
The Border sellers had received emails from the same address — firstname.lastname@example.org — saying work “does not permit me to come for inspection” and “would love to call but our base right now is bad so we can get along via e-mail”.
The buyer requested the seller’s PayPal details and home address.
It’s a scam the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s watchdog SCAMwatch is well aware of.
SCAMwatch’s website says scammers posing as buyers target consumers selling goods via print and online classifieds.
“Often they will contact you wanting to buy your goods, but will make up stories such as needing your help to pay an agent or third party for upfront costs like transportation or insurance,” the organisation said.
Warning signs include someone wanting to buy the item without viewing it in person or a buyer who wants to complete the sale outside the website’s payment system.
If you’ve spotted a scam, report it at scamwatch.gov.au or contact the ACCC on 1300 795 995.