Be careful of Gumtree scam ads

Recently I replied to a rental ad on Gumtree not knowing that it was a scam. Thinking I had finally spotted the ideal ad, “A superb two bedroom apartment located in the heart of Canary Wharf offering styling and spacious accommodation on the tenth floor of a modern dockside development,” for only £700 pcm, bills included, (“Yes I know I am gullible” ), I replied to the ad in a flash only receive the following reply…

Hi,
Before i want to tell you i don`t use a agency(and i think you don`t want to pay commission).
I work in a hospital and is very hard for me to come in UK. I can’t take the risk to leave my new job for days and when I arrive in UK to see that I come for nothing. I want to be 100% sure that when I will meet you, we do the rent papers then i can come back in Dubai.
So i can be sure of that look how we can do:
You make the payment from your name and address to your best friend name and address in UK using Western Union for 3 months rent that means 2100 £ and send me the scanned receipt. As soon as I see the scanned receipt that you have made the payment, I will come in UK and you will see the flat and maybe rent it. After that, we will go together at the Western Union office and you will take the money back and pay me.So all you have to do is to find a Western Union office(www2.ukmoneytransfer.com/agentsearch.asp) and wire 2100 £ from your name to your friend name and send the scanned receipt. I am asking you this to be sure that I do not come in UK for nothing..I will reserve the apartment to the first one that provides me have money available in WesternUnion account.
The WesternUnion transfer fee i will pay you back cash when we meet to show you the flat.As soon as I have the confirmation from WesternUnion that the money are available on his name I stop the transactions with all the other customers.
You must understand correctly the situation you don’t need send me any money,penny ,only prove that have the money until the day you want to see the apartment for keep this flat for you , this is my warranty.
I expect your decision about this if you want rent my flat because i have more people interested in rented apartment.
Thank you for your time !

This is when I got suspicious (“Took a while!” i hear you saying) and started scanning the Web for info on such scams. Although one give away of the scam is the fact that like most scams it is badly written, even if you ignored this fact, the transfer of money can seem innocent as it states to transfer the money to your best friend, as proof that you have sufficient funds. What would then follow is they would ask for a copy of the receipt of the transfer and all the fraudster has to do is complete the “To Receive Money” form and give it to the Agent with their ID card or the correct MTCN. The agent will give them a receipt. When they sign the receipt, they can take the money without a problem. Western Union does not offer an escrow service or any type of “purchase protection.” In other words, once you send your money, there is no way to get it back.

http://tinyurl.com/d5larb

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