Broke in Bristol

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2021: the year of the Scamdemic?


Woman on her laptop outside at a coffee shop in Bristol
Online shopping has led to an increase in scams

I’ve been selling things on the internet for years because it’s a great way to free up money for a new purchase. And as someone who writes about personal finance and making the most of your money, I’m probably more aware than most of the latest scams doing the rounds.


However, it wasn’t until I put my campervan and an iphone 11 up for sale that I realised just how huge this problem has become in 2021. Within the space of a few days, more than 10 people tried to scam me for the phone – and four people attempted to scam me over the campervan.


Initially, I’ve got to admit that I was a little amused as I thought to myself “you’re trying to scam the wrong person here”. But amusement soon turned to annoyance and eventually fear of what some of these people might stoop to, in order to get their hands on goods that are worth hundreds or thousands of pounds.


The PayPal Scam…


If an offer is too good to be true, it usually is. The first time someone tried the PayPal scam on me I was happy that they wanted to buy my campervan at the asking price, without haggling or seeing it. Hmmn, hang on a minute. Here’s the message I received below…


"Brilliant , I believe it's still in a very good condition? Also like to know if you haven’t had an accident with it before? I hope you have got PayPal? Because I will be making payment with PayPal cos it's the safest and best way to make online payment if you know what I mean by saying so? If that’s fine with you kindly send me your PayPal email address that's all I will be needing to make the payment, will make the payment as soon as I get your details, More so I have got a private courier agent that will come for pick up once payment has been made, Get back to me as soon as you can.. Thanks"

Fraudsters are hoping that you will not check your PayPal account for the funds but will instead just accept the email confirmation, think you’ve been paid and send the item or hand it over to a courier.


And it’s not the only scam doing the rounds, How confident are you that you can spot a scam email? UK consumer champion and watchdog Which says scammers only need you to slip up once but you can stay one step ahead of them with its free scam alert service. Current scams doing the rounds.


Dyson ‘loyalty’ programme email

An email claiming to be from Dyson is promising ‘prizes’ as part of a fake loyalty program; but Dyson has confirmed it has nothing to do with the communication.


Royal Mail website clone


The scam starts with a text message, apparently from ‘Royal Mail’, claiming that a parcel was being held due to an unpaid shipping fee.

The text directs you to a fake website where you’re asked to enter your card details, which are then stolen. One victim almost saw their entire bank balance wiped.


Barclays text


A scam text message targeting Barclays customers is making the rounds. Fake texts purporting to be from banks are nothing new, but this one features another twist to be wary of: it appears on people’s phones with the sender set as the bank itself. Take a look at the message here and get the facts on how these ‘smishing’ attempts work.


Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email, using the same logo and design as the real company. Often your guard is down when you receive an email from a company you've dealt with before, such as PayPal but always log into your account to double check. Whereas in the past, these emails were easy to spot because of spelling mistakes and errors, they are now more sophisticated.


The good guys

I was so shaken up by these scam attempts that I wrongly accused a genuine buyer of being a scammer when he wanted to use PayPal for payment. If someone insists on using PayPal that’s fine, just make sure you double check the money has actually been received.


That’s it for this week folks, what scams have you spotted lately? Please share on the Broke in Bristol Facebook page to help others avoid them. And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the latest deals, discounts and days out! More from this author:


Save, spend and share. Money tips (for teens).


10 discount codes to save you money.


Seaside on a shoestring: save £££s on your staycation.