Gumtree shoppers can get more than they bargain for

Eagle-eyed shoppers and bargain hunters are being urged by Scottish cyber security chiefs to be wary of scammers operating on a popular classified sales website.

Monday, 19th September 2016, 12:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:46 pm
Bargain hunters are being urged by Scottish cyber security chiefs to be wary of scammers operating on the popular sales website.

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

Gerry Grant, an SBRC expert on cyber crime, said: “Gumtree offers a fast and convenient way to buy and sell unwanted or second-and products, which has become a go to for those looking to make money from their unused possessions.

“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.”

A scam currently seeing a rise in popularity on the site 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 added: “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.

To find out more about this project and the other work of the SBRC please visit

For more information on how to spot and protect yourself from this and other scams, potential users, buyers and sellers can visit: a-scam-the- top-warning- signs?allfaqs=false

Applications have now closed for the first awards to recognise Scotland’s ever-growing reputation as a world leader in the cyber industry after a very strong suite of entries.

The Scottish Cyber Awards will showcase Scotland’s commitment towards cyber innovation and excellence and acknowledge the place Scotland has within this industry.

With cyber crime continuing to be massive concern in Scotland and costing an estimated £5bn every year, individuals, start-ups, local authority organisations and leading businesses in the burgeoning cyber industries sector are being urged to have their achievements to improve cyber resilience and the wider cyber industry honoured.

The categories in the awards, which is the first ever of this type of ceremony, have been organised by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre – and include; Best Cyber Start-Up, Best New Cyber Talent, Cyber SME Defender of the Year, Outstanding Woman in Cyber & Leading Light Innovation Award.