French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir has warned of a potential scam on the popular classified ads website Le Bon Coin, which works in a similar way to eBay with users able to buy or sell goods.
It involves a scammer faking a confirmation of payment so that the seller sends them the item, without payment ever having actually exchanged hands.
UFC-Que Choisir gave the following example.
Elie puts his high-quality computer up for sale on Le Bon Coin for €1,850. He is contacted by a potential buyer who offers to pay for it through the website’s secure payment service.
After exchanging a few messages, the buyer tells Elie that he has decided to purchase the computer and that Elie should receive a notification of payment confirming it via email.
Elie received the seemingly legitimate email a few moments later, detailing the buyer’s name, the price paid, a description of the object purchased and the address of where to send the computer.
But to be sure, Elie decides to double check and reads up on internet forums about Le Bon Coin’s secure system of payment. He discovers that he should not have received confirmation of payment through email, but instead through Le Bon Coin’s private messaging service.
Elie decides not to send his computer, realising that the fake buyer never paid any money for it.
“Le Bon Coin’s messaging system is monitored by the platform’s services, whereas an email, however convincing it may be, can be sent by anyone”, UFC-Que Choisir…