The time I tried to sell something online and got scammed

Earlier this year I decided to finally sell my wedding dress. Having checked out a couple of sites, I decided to start with the free ones: OLX, Gumtree and Locanto. I then looked for various pictures of the dress and proceeded to post these on the sites.

Within a day of posting on OLX, I got an email from a lady called Mary asking if the dress was still available and whether I could check the cost of postage as she wanted to buy it for her niece and surprise her – she would pay for the postage. OKAY? I remember thinking that she must not have planned a wedding in recent times as most brides like to take charge of that part of the process but I countered that with, Oh what a sweet aunt!

All the same, I replied and said that the dress was available and to ask about the postal address is as I couldn’t get a quote for the delivery costs without it. So it turns out that “Mary” was somehow based in Lagos and wanted me to send the package there 😥

At this point, I felt uneasy and decided to back out and stop responding because my gut just said something was not right because “Mary” now said that she had already paid the money and she sent me proof of payment that was so so so dodgy coupled with the fact that I NEVER RECEIVED THE MONEY – NOT THEN OR EVER. Anyway, our conversation proceeded as follows:

Mary: So take the package to the nearest South Africa Post Office (SAPO) and get it ship out and get back to me with the shipment details ASAP.

MeLook, it’s not working so I have resent your money. Please let me know when you get notified.

MaryI want you to know that I have already make the payment and my account has been deducted and your money is intact but still pending in your
account and all what Bank need from you is the shipment tracking
number for verification as soon as you ship out the item and forward
the shipment tracking number to my Bank via notification sent to you
for verification your bank account will be credited immediately Okay.
But the money haven’t reflect in your bank account but as soon as you
ship out the package through Post Office and get back to Bank Of
America with the tracking Number,the money will reflect in your
account straight away.

I thought the scam was about getting the money but it seems the dress is also lucrative as they can sell it for cash. In this case, I would have sent the dress to them and by the time I would have gotten back to them, I would have sent the dress and they would stop responding when I kept asking for them why the payment has not cleared.

Well, I decided to ignore the email and Mary went away. And the money never cleared!!

Please see below, the dress that I am trying to sell and contact me ( if you would like to buy the dress or know a genuine person in Johannesburg that might like to buy.

PS: I never heard back from my add on Locanto and Gumtree but better that outcome than OLX. I recently posted the add again and I have already had three queries from people with funny looking email addresses but I shall try and be open minded (but safe) this time round.

Updated to add: Again I renewed the posting on the above site including a paid hosting site and I got the following response from three different email addresses (but likely one user?):

Thanks for your swift response.I’m (insert fake name), Look I’m offshore (on sea), I’m buying this package as a (BIRTHDAY GIFT) to my cousin who was transferred to West Africa. I’ll add an extra R1800 to your final price for the package which will be for the shipment of it via DHL post mail and other expenses. I’ll be paying you through PayPal. If you are interested kindly get back to me with your PayPal email address so that i can easily transfer the fund to you asap.


2 responses to “The time I tried to sell something online and got scammed

  1. The same Mary seems to be trying to buy the dress from me. Thanks for this post, I was unsure this postage to west africa deal that this Mary has proposed.
    I have a wedding changing dress on sale at R3900. The dress is very beautiful and its on olx. But now am wondering if at all I can find a genuine buyer.



    • DO NOT SELL IT TO MARY OR GET FURTHER INVOLVED. I have also given up entirely on selling the dress because online attracts all these people and offline, I have had no luck!

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