A “quick fire” scam is taking on a life of its own, with fraudsters using a dodgy tactic. Photo / 123rf
The latest quickfire scam is running rife on online marketplaces, with con artists targeting people who are buying and selling things on the internet.
After Paige Hinson and her young family moved into their new home in the Western suburbs, the Sydney mum listed garden furniture to sell on Facebook Marketplace.
After only a couple of minutes, a buyer sent a message to Hinson expressing their interest in purchasing the outdoor table and chairs.
“They were quite pushy and they wanted to come and pick up the furniture the next day, which I was quite excited about because it was a $700 ($770) sale and my husband said that was way too expensive,” she revealed to news.com.au.
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The 31-year-old mum was completely unaware that she was entering into a trap.
The scammer posed as a middle-aged woman called Rosi while swindling Hinson on Facebook Marketplace.
Rosi initially asked that Hinson transfer $500 (NZ$816) into a holding PayPal business account to verify that she was a “legitimate” seller before the money was released back to her with the $700 (NZ$770) for the outdoor furniture.
“They asked for an email address, which I gave thinking you can’t possibly get scammed with just an email address,” Hinson said.
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“Then I got a very legitimate-looking email from PayPal with all the details to transfer the money into, so I started doing that.”
Rosi told Hinson over Facebook Messenger that transferring the extra money was the “only way” the sale could go through. However, Hinson told the scammer that she had “never heard of that before”.
Despite her initial doubt, the Sydney mum agreed to Rosi’s demands. Hinson even apologised to Rosi for having to pause the interaction to put her baby back to sleep, which was greeted with impatience from the con artist.
Hinson revealed that she was mere seconds away from clicking “transfer” when she experienced a “gut feeling” that something wasn’t right – “because they were desperate to get this money”. The young mum called her bank, which confirmed her suspicion that Rosi was a fraudster.
“I was essentially about to hit transfer, so I was quite lucky,” Hinson shared.
“I think the trick was it was so intense and quick, you don’t have time to think. They’re like ‘is this available?’, ‘can I come and pick it up tomorrow?’
“Once she realised I was open to selling, it was just about getting that money.”