Junk Mail user avoids false payment scam

ScamA while ago I told you about the Junk Mail user who avoided a scam after picking up danger signs. Well, today I have more great news! Another Junk Mail user has avoided being scammed and has also sent us a report of what happened.

The advertiser (Mary) posted a Junk Mail advert for her camera equipment last week and received an SMS from a potential buyer. The potential buyer asked her if her lens was still available. Since Mary had more than one lens listed in her advert and asked him which one he meant. After finding out which one it was she told him that it was indeed still available and he replied saying “I want it… When Can You Bring it?”.

Wanting to sell her item on her terms she asked him if he could travel to her, inspect the item and collect it. He asked for her address and she gave it to him, but then got more responses asking when she could bring it to him. Mary requested the potential buyer’s full name an address. He gave her the following details: “M. Mouda, 387 Jules Street, Malvern” and told her to leave it at the post office – but didn’t give her an address for the post office.  She told him that an EFT had to made into her account before she was willing to courier the item.

Since she lives in Pretoria, Mary informed him that she had no intention of driving through to Johannesburg. He requested her banking details (which she gave to him). Being a little suspicious Mary checked if the address actually existed on Google Maps. The street number he gave her did not exist, and there were only businesses at the nearby street numbers. This was the first danger sign that this might be a scammer.

The next day Mary received an SMS stating that a payment of R10,000 was made via Nedbank. Luckily Mary’s son knew a thing or to about EFT’s and told her not take heed of it and that chances were that the SMS was sent by a syndicate via an online messaging service or other messaging portal.

The potential buyer asked her again if she was coming through to Johannesburg. She received a message from her bank detailing a deposit of a R10,000 cheque by K. Wendor. She phoned her bank to follow up and told them what happened. Mary’s bank confirmed her suspicions that this was most probably a fraudulent cheque and advised her not to touch it since it would only clear in 10 days.

She received another SMS asking her when she would be at the post office and replied saying that it would be sent via courier and requested the proper address for delivery, but the scammer did not reply. The bank returned the cheque yesterday. In the end Mary only lost R40 in cell phone costs, but it could have been much worse.

Take note: If you’re selling something on Junk Mail or other classifieds websites, remember that you’re selling the item on your terms. Don’t drive to your potential buyer to show them the item, let them come to you instead. Don’t buy them airtime so they can phone you. Don’t part with the item unless you’ve received the money for it or unless you are absolutely 100% sure that funds deposited into your account are available for your use. In this day and age one has to be smart, be savvy and be safe.

If you encounter any suspicious activity whilst using Junk Mail, please report it to our Customer Care Department. You can reach them via ccc@junkmail.co.za or telephonically on 012-3423840 x2295.

Spread the word about false payment scams. Share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring.

For more scam warnings and tips, check out the Junk Mail Safety & Security page.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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