Byte Me Article 240 – Watch out for online scammers

Watch Out for Online Scammers

For several weeks now I have been keen to report on regained Internet speed by changing back to Telstra from Optus.  However, despite having several people from very high up in their chain of command calling me personally to offer any ‘assistance that I require’ I still have no home phone, let alone any home Internet!  Maybe next weeks’ article?

On a different note, this year is coming to a close much faster than I can previously remember so the whole lead up to Christmas and the associated shopping lists will already be on people’s minds.  The likes of eBay and Gumtree offer viable alternatives to traditional shopping however there are still catches to watch out for – from both the buyer and seller perspectives.

There will be genuine sellers also looking for spare cash for Christmas that have good products for sale.  There can be many good reasons for this such as moving house, moving interstate or even moving overseas.  Other reasons will include forgotten hobbies or changed lifestyles.  As an example there should still be plenty of bargains around if you are in the market for a petrol driven generator – courtesy of cyclone Tracey!

If you are going to sell an item (especially on Gumtree) then watch out for the scammers that seem to be prowling new listings quicker than actual potential buyers.  They work by sending you an email or even a text message (from a number withheld service) suggesting that they are happy with the price or asking for a little bit off.  They rarely ask about the condition of the goods.  They also say that you can only reply with email because they are in a bad phone service area.

This is one of the main keys to recognising a Gumtree hacker – they will never want to talk to you directly over the phone.  However what they are aiming for is to suggest that they will buy your car or fridge or whatever it may be, only if you pay the freight.  This is where they are going to try to get you to transfer funds via some sort of system such as Western Union – with the promise that they are then going to pay in full for the item – not likely.

Too many people get caught with this scam which is evidenced by the fact that this scam is so prevalent.  I have sold items on Gumtree myself however I always put on the listing that “this item will only be sold to someone that I can talk to in person or over the phone – scammers don’t bother”!

If you are buying an item then be even more cautions and make sure that you can talk with the seller over the phone in the very least.  If they are genuine then they should be keen to talk to you about any item that they have for sale.  Also get exact clarification on details such as what is or isn’t included with the item as well as exact freight charges or pickup times.  Both parties need to be 100% transparent for things to run smoothly.

Getting back to your Christmas shopping lists I have been hearing rumours that a new computer retail outlet is opening in Rockhampton.  According to several sources it is going stock particular computer lines that are both ready to use off the shelf as well as having Australia wide warranties that are worth more than the paper they are written on.

These are novel concepts in the computer retail arena that would show the traditional chain stores how it should be done.  I will report back as further information comes to hand on this novel approach to computer retailing. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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