Overpayment scam targets vehicle sellers
WA ScamNet has received a spike in reports about overpayment scams targeting consumers selling goods through online classified adverts with recent incidents involving scammers using false identities, such as a driver's licence and targeting car sellers.
Overpayment scams usually work by getting you to ‘refund’ a scammer who has sent you too much money for an item you are selling or to forward the additional funds to someone else to cover costs such as shipping.
These scammers are contacting people selling vehicles on websites like Gumtree and carsales.com.au, and then requesting they contact them via email to discuss the sale of the vehicle.
They then ask the seller to accept an additional amount of money from them which is to be forwarded by the seller on their behalf via Western Union or MoneyGram in order to pay for the shipping of the vehicle.
The seller then receives a fake PayPal email stating the funds have been transferred and will be placed into the nominated account once a receipt is provided showing the transfer of the payment to the courier for shipping.
The scammers often make claims like:
“I'm ok with the condition as described on the advert.”
“I work on North West Shelf in the Rowley Sub-basin in Perth and the reception here is terrible. We do not have access to phone at the moment, which is why I contacted you with internet messaging facility.”
They also claim the car is a surprise and is to be delivered elsewhere such as to Darwin, and then request the following:
“I am more than happy to go ahead with the purchase, that is ok with me, please do provide me with your paypal email address or bank details so that I can go ahead with the transfer to your bank account via my paypal, can you also give me the pickup postcode? so that I can get a definite quote from the carriers. As regards the papers, all I will need is a receipt, the rego will have to be done in NT, so there will be no use for the existing Reg and RWC.“
The scammers then claim:
“The main issue is they only accept moneygram money transfer which must be made to their Head Office in Philippines, according to them, only their international HQ (Philippines) receives payment for pick up and delivery anywhere in the world, I am sure this is just a way of cutting tax and so on, unfortunately, because I am still offshore, I do not have access to moneygram money transfer , I can help you look up a 7-11 store around you? you can make the moneygram transfer from there."
"Can you help me make the moneygram transfer to the carriers? I could have easily done this myself online, but my card expired December and I haven't been home to apply for another one, the freighters charged $1,650aud which I will add to the paypal transfer I will make,after you have received the paypal payment.”
Tips for sellers
- Never pay money via wire transfer to help a customer access the goods or services you are selling;
- Be cautious when dealing with customers only via email or who claim to be overseas or interstate – independently verify who you are dealing with before sending any money or goods. If doubtful, then do not proceed with the sale;
- Be sceptical if normal banking processes are not available; and
- When accepting a payment, check with the bank or PayPal to make sure it is legitimate before proceeding with the sale.
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