New phishing scam targets sellers on second-hand sites and a weighty food tip
Wendy Knowler's watch-outs of the week
In this weekly segment of bite-sized chunks of useful information, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler summarises news you can use:
Fraudsters are after a lot more than what you’re selling
Thinking of placing an advert on the Gumtree online classifieds site? Be aware that the person who responds — pleasingly quickly — is not after what you’re selling: they’re out to trick you into giving up the “keys” to your bank account.
Gumtree warned this week of a new phishing scam targeting sellers using Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
“The scammers send nicely designed messages and phishing links to get access to someone's banking details, supposedly to pay for an item the victim is selling,” said Gumtree’s head of marketing Estelle Nagel.
The scammer responds to an advert, calling the contact number in the seller's ad and showing interest in the item. They then suggest using Gumtree's shipping/delivery option because “it’s safe”. Then they take the conversation to WhatsApp and insert a link for finalisation of the payment.
“The next step, after the seller clicks on the link, is to ask for the seller's bank card details so that the 'buyer' can pay them.
“But unbeknown to the seller, this is where they gain access to their card details and the card verification code (CVC).
“The idea of the scam is to gain access to the seller's card, not to steal the item they have for sale,” Nagel said.
WHAT TO DO:
- Never click on suspicious links on WhatsApp or email.
- Be careful where you type in your details.
- Use Gumtree's Messenger as it is safer.
About that underweight bread ...
Someone recently took a photo of a loaf of Albany bread — labelled as being 700g — perched on an electronic kitchen scale with a reading of 680g and posted it on Twitter.
“Please explain what happens to the 20g,” they wanted to know.
From the company’s social media response team, the consumer got the usual: “We’re so sorry about this! Please send us your number so we can have consumer services assist.”
The helpful answer is this: There is a legal allowance of 5% less than the stated weight of bread to account for moisture loss.
That’s 35g in this case, so at 680g, assuming that scale is accurate, that loaf “passes”.
When I shared this information with the bread-weigher, he said: “Thanks. Where do we get this kind of information so we don’t inundate consumer services with these complaints. It will help to know when to complain.”
Unfortunately, few corporates’ social media response teams are empowered to do anything but play messenger, asking for details so the issue can be dealt with out of the public gaze. What a wasted opportunity.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.