Warning over online advert scam

Published on 06 July 2016

PEOPLE are being warned against a scam in which online jobseekers are offered money to place bogus for sale adverts on their eBay accounts.

Leicester City Council Trading Standard Service are issuing the warning after a complaint from a student who was caught up in the scam after applying for a job through the website studentjob.co.uk

Job applicants were asked to place adverts for campervans on their eBay accounts, in return for a payment of £150 per advert, with a total of four adverts per week.

The applicant believed it to be a genuine job offer and used her eBay account to advertise the campervan, only to find that the advert was a scam and that the same campervan was already being advertised on eBay by other sellers.

Leicester City Trading Standards manager Ronald Ruddock said: “Not only has the job applicant been scammed but this has all the features of an up-front fee scam.

“Anyone answering the advert would have most likely have been contacted by the real scammer and asked to pay money up front for the campervan.

“Payment would have been requested outside of the protection of eBay, and probably through a money transfer scheme, meaning that people would have no method of claiming the money back afterwards.

“The campervan would never have been supplied. The scam is likely to have originated abroad, and was targeting unsuspecting students who were desperate for cash but who have good eBay profiles.”

Trading standards officers contacted a number of people who had answered the advert but have not yet found anyone who has actually sent any money.

One potential customer, Steve, had been looking for a campervan for some months before answered the advert. He quickly realised it was a scam, but said his wife, who was not so experienced in eBay purchases, might not have been so lucky.

Mr Ruddock added: “Our advice is never to send money up front, and in particular not to send money directly to sellers’ bank accounts or by money transfer schemes.

“Do not be talked into carrying out transactions outside of the protection of eBay.”

Anyone needing more advice on scams, or wanting to report one can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

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