Couple loses $10,000 in scam

KARL and Joy Schneeloch are embarrassed about losing almost $10,000 to an internet scam, but they also want to warn other people who may be targeted.

Mr and Mrs Schneeloch's woes began after they put their 1963 Mercedes Benz car up for sale on an internet website.

They were soon contacted by a buyer, whom they later found was from Malaysia, and after some discussion he agreed to pay $28,000 for their car.

However, the buyer insisted the financial transaction be handled through a PayPal account.

Mr and Mrs Schneeloch duly opened a PayPal account and were later sent an email, with an authentic-looking PayPal masthead, telling them $32,950 had been deposited into their account.

“Then we received a message the buyer wanted us to pay the $4950 shipping fee,” Mr Schneeloch said.

“Since we believed we had $32,950 in our account, we sent the $4950 by Western Union.”

A few days later they were contacted again, supposedly by PayPal, asking for an extra $4500 to pay for a heavy duty forklift to lift their car on to a ship.

They were assured the money was being held by PayPal and waiting to be credited to their account.

Trusting everything was above board, the couple again sent off the funds.

Then they received an email asking for another $5500 to insure the car.

By this time they were smelling a rat and asked a friend who is experienced at buying and selling on the internet to have a look at their correspondence.

“He said that's not the way PayPal things look,” Mr Schneeloch said.

“We got on to someone at PayPal who said it wouldn't be them, and we had no money in our account.”

Although they have reported the matter to police, the couple accept they have lost their money.

A spokesman for the Office of Fair Trading said people should use common sense and be sceptical about offers from overseas.

“Once money is sent outside Australia, it becomes incredibly difficult to regain it,” he said.

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