OLX Scam

So I’ve got a few things to sell and just like the other sheep out there, I decide to give OLX a go because their ‘Sell It!’ adverts are catchy.  I uploaded my ad today and not even a minute later I got two queries from a Jeremy Randall and another guy called Sean Alberts.  Jeremy SMSed me, and I replied.  He didn’t seem to concerned with seeing the goods at all, and was quite pushy to do the payment up front and then have me deliver.  Since I’m nobody’s courier, I told him he could come and view the phone at my office and then if he was happy, he could do an EFT.  But, I was only prepared to send my address after the EFT was done.  This in itself should’ve told me everything I needed to know, as a buyer, I’d never agree to that!  This guy had my phone number and an email address.  How would he ever get his cash back if I had been a scammer myself?  Red flag zero.

First red flag: I am a dummy, I know better – these things should always be cash.  Always.

Second red flag: I sent my banking details and within a minute received a proof of payment, which looked suspect at best:

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Third red flag: I call the guy, and am surprised to hear a very Nigerian accent.  As far as I know, ‘Jeremy’ is not really a Nigerian name that is very popular, is it.  *DING DING DING ALARM BELLS*

Jeremy sweetly says “Don’t worry, I will send you a copy of my ID to make you feel safe”.  This is his (very much photochopped) ID:

IDCOPY

 

I look at the above ID and burst out laughing.  Thank god I had the sense to withhold collection first.  This was ridiculous.  A quick google of “Jeremy Randall OLX” brought up the following two links of previous scams he’s already pulled off:

  1. http://www.reportacrime.co.za/CrimeReport.aspx?ID=6035
  2. http://www.reportacrime.co.za/CrimeReport.aspx?ID=6665

I then sent Jeremy the following email, to which I’ve had no reply:

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So firstly, high-five to me for trusting my gut on this one.  So many people fall for this stuff all the time, and a few years ago my little naive soul would have very probably been one of them.  I guess that’s what happens when you marry a Jew, you become frugal (mwahaha, just joking, Jon!).  Seriously though, Jon has taught me to not take everything at face value and to question people and things and their intentions.  Not always, but mostly.  And so far it hasn’t failed me.  Trust your gut, people.

Secondly, OLX, why do you guys make it so hard to report scammers?  I totally understand that you cannot be held liable for other humans and their scammer tendencies, but surely you should make the user journey easier for victims?  I’ve been on your website for 15 minutes now and I STILL can’t find the bloody button.  Surely the safety of your buyers and sellers should be foremost?  Why make it so hard for them to be protected.  I can find the report sellers button easily, but not report the buyers.  You should get on that.

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 Update at 16:20 on 11 November: 

OLX responded via Twitter saying they’re already in the process of fixing their website to make things easier to report scamming.  They’ve also banned Jeremy Randall and other known aliases.  Good job, OLX!

6 comments

  1. acidicice says:

    I have also heard of instances where the fraudsters deposit a blank cheque into your FNB account in order for you to get a In Contact notification that the money has been paid, only for it not to be honored when the bank discovers the blank cheque when checking the deposits. A friend of mine recently sold a car via Gumtree and I was so scared she was going to get shot in the face when meeting up with the guy to show him the car, etc. It has been known to happen. The second hand places like Cash Converters totally rip you off and give you barely any money for your goods. It really sucks!

  2. Leanne says:

    I want to thank you for posting this info. I had a similar thing happen to me this week and it was your post that helped me decide not to send the goods.

    I put an ad on OLX to sell a cell phone. Shortly thereafter I was phoned by a man named Patrick. Who bargained me down and we settled on a price. He then asked me to courier the phone to him as he didn’t live in my town. I said no problem, gave him my bank details and said I would send it if he made a direct transfer from his standard bank account into my fnb account. The next day he called just before the courier cut off time and told me he needed the phone asap and that he’s making a payment now. So I rushed to the couriers. Shortly thereafter he sent me a notification sms that funds had been transferred and then a little later I received an email with a proof of payment and a copy of his id (which I hadn’t requested). My husband advised me that I don’t send the phone unless I see the money in my account as proof of payments can be easily faked so I withheld sending the phone and told him that. The next afternoon I got an FNB notification saying the amount had been deposited. So I phoned the courier, told them to send and told him his package was on the way. Then a second message from FNB came through saying please note cheque payments will only be available once they have been cleared. RED FLAG! I then googled and saw that this is often a strategy of scammers. Anyways, long story short I didn’t send the phone. Got harassed with multiple phone calls that day and then the very next day I see the cheque payment has bounced. Be very careful everyone and TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

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