Warning over Gumtree laptop ‘scammer’

Johannesburg - Selling a laptop on online classifieds website Gumtree has left a Fin24 user out of pocket after he was allegedly swindled.

Johannesburg-based Fin24 user Suhayl Khan has explained how he was scammed when selling an Acer Aspire Switch 10 device on Gumtree.

“I was scammed on Gumtree on Monday. I had posted an ad for a Acer Aspire Switch 10 Tablet/Laptop and got a message from a Artwell Mckenzie. He ensured he was genuinely interested and that he was not a scammer even forwarding a proof of residence and copy of his ID. He also sent a payment document as proof of payment...

*See the copies of these documents below.

“When I agreed to meet him near Eastgate shopping centre he sent his ‘worker’ Underson. It was my fault for believing that the payment would come through and did not check with the bank if the payment had cleared before letting go of the laptop and I have learnt from this mistake.

“I may have been scammed and lost the laptop which I may never recover, but I want to inform other users and protect them from this misfortune befalling them."

Khan gave Fin24 the alleged scammer's phone number. Fin24 phoned Artwell Mckenzie but he put the phone down when asked about the alleged Gumtree scam.

However, Fin24 user Khan said that Mckenzie contacted him again later in the week.

“He called me yesterday saying his bank account is frozen and I can get the laptop back, it's in a storage facility in Vanderbijlpark. He gave me the number of a worker at the storage facility, unfortunately I deleted the number. This worker said it would cost R500 to release the laptop and he would deliver, but requires payment upfront. I wasn’t going to pay that amount as it sounded dodgy,” Khan told Fin24 on Friday.

“Artwell responds that he doesn’t have money and I must pay for the laptop and he will reimburse me. When I asked the guy at the storage facility to speak to his manager to see if this was legit he refused to give me his manager's number. I then told them to stop messaging me. I am going to open a case this afternoon at the police station,” Khan said.

Complaints about Artwell Mckenzie have also appeared on HelloPeter.com and Scambuster.co.za. The complaints also implicated Mckenzie in contacting computer sellers on classifieds websites but then failing to pay for the devices.

Have you come in contact with this Gumtree scam? Tell us by clicking here.

Gumtree responds

Meanwhile, Gumtree spokesperson Estelle Nagel has responded to Fin24 regarding Khan’s complaint:

“We were very sorry to hear about Suhayl’s experience and the loss of his laptop – we also urge him to report the incident to the police as well as our customer service team so that we can assist them in tracking down this scammer.

“We advise our customers never to hand over goods until they have confirmed that the funds have cleared in their account – it is very important to determine that funds have been cleared, not just paid over, as cheque deposits can take up to two weeks to clear. (If a cheque is cancelled during this window, the customer will lose the funds).

"A quick phone call to your bank should be able to determine whether and how funds were paid over to you. We also urge everyone to read through our safety guidelines or to chat to our team at help.gumtree.co.za for assistance before transacting. (You can also send an email to adchecker@gumtree.co.za if you are suspicious of a seller/buyer).

“One of the simplest ways to ensure that funds are paid over to you (and that goods are delivered to you in good condition) is to make sure of our Shepherd service.  Shepherd is a Standard Bank-powered escrow service that facilitates the transaction between buyers and sellers, securing the payment for your deals in a holding account until both parties are satisfied.

"The buyer makes a payment into a secure trust account. Shepherd secures the funds until the buyer receives the item and accepts it through Ram couriers. Shepherd then releases the funds to the buyer. If the buyer isn’t satisfied, the item is returned to the seller and the buyer’s payment refunded.

“If any customers has been the victim of a scam they should immediately reach out to help.gumtree.co.za and lay a charge against the scammer at their nearest police station. We have a full local team available to assist and work closely with the police to help prevent and investigate such incidents.”  

Copies of alleged scam documents

These are the documents that Suhayl said he received from Mckenzie. Suhayl, though, said these documents are fake as he didn't receive the payment from Mckenzie.

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