I’m a big fan of Freecycle but, like so many good online sites, it’s a mecca for fraudsters.
I’ve just had notice from the Freecycle moderators that two new freecycle scams are doing the rounds on the site.
Here they are – as always, remember if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, any time you are asked to transfer money by on of the cash-transfer services (like Western Union) you should beware. These are favoured by scam artists.
Here’s the warning:
There are two scams doing the rounds across all Freecycle groups. Please be vigilant of anybody requesting money from you for delivery or anything else.
SCAM ONE: Your Own WANTED Posts – This scam targets Members who make a Wanted post (and perhaps signal some sort of vulnerability eg disabled, elderly, desperate, etc). You will receive a very generous offer of the (often expensive) item you are wanting (e.g. TV, Fridge Freezer) – one that is almost new. Should you respond you will exchange several emails and then be asked to pay money via UKASH, Western Union, Moneygram and even Paypal as the ‘gifter’ (con artist) is unable to deliver (perhaps because they are housebound, have no car, live too far away, etc). Once you have sent the money, you will hear nothing!
Also, it has happened that a cheat sets up a new account just to answer a Wanted post and then demands payment at the point of collection (and provides a dud item)
SCAM TWO : OFFER posts – The scammers place posts purporting to offer something tempting – something almost too good to be true. They then request delivery money or ask you to cover some other cost. Of course once you have paid this money you won’t get the item you were hoping to receive.
The scammers used to offer some adorable but expensive pet for rehoming (e.g. macaws, monkeys and pedigree puppies and kittens) but more often NOW they are now making posts for electronics and even everyday household items.
So far very few of these posts have made it onto K&C Freecycle’s message board, but you still need to be vigilant and you may come across them on some of the other local groups. If anyone offers you an item and requests payment or vouchers for postage etc, please report it to the group moderators. Do not send payment for any reason. You will never see the item or your money.
1) Never ever send payment for anything to anybody for any Freecycle related exchange.
2) Do not include personal information in your wanted posts.
3) Report scam Offer posts by using the ‘report as inappropriate button’ located under the post details.
4) Report Members requesting payment to the appropriate moderation team.
5) If asked for money upon collection it is deception, you have not misunderstood, please feel free to refuse and go.
6) Don’t let these scams ruin your Freecycle experience – just be aware.