Is fake bank transfer app possible to pull off? Is it a new scam method? (Selling electronics on Gumtree)

Posted 25th Jul 2022
Hi, a bit of context first.

I'm selling all my used electronics on Gumtree. Often people ask me if I can accept bank transfers and I always say yes to them. I give them my account details and two minutes later money is in my account and I hand over the item, nice and easy.

I have never had any issues with it. However, today someone came to buy another item from me and asked again to use a bank transfer instead of cash. I gave the person the sort code and account number. He opened his mobile banking app, logged in with his PIN etc. and sent the money. We waited for 10-15 minutes but money never reached my account. Eventually, I told him that he can collect the item later when the money is in my account, otherwise, he can wait with me for the money to reach my bank account at my house and chill together (I'm not working today so have plenty of time). He was cool with that and said he'll come back later after work to collect it.

It's been now hours and money is still not in my account. I haven't messaged him yet but this seems to be more and more suspicious to me because I've never waited so long for a UK bank to UK bank transfer. I obviously still have the item and I'm not going to give it to him until I have the money in my account or cash in hand.

But the question is, is it possible to write a fake app that looks legit like that? It looked like a proper Metro bank app and he did the transfer in front of me, everything looked legit to me.

Have anyone heard about any scams like that? I know scammers used Moneygram and other methods before but I've never heard anything about UK bank to UK bank transfer scams.

UPDATE: Money never arrived in my bank account, he clearly tried to scam me. I messaged him about it and he blocked me immediately. I'm super lucky I never gave him my Xbox. Be careful out there people! Someone down in the comments said they just got scammed like this and lost their goods!
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  1. Avatar
    Oh wow sorry to hear that. Is it maybe possible that the didn't call the bank and simply rang one of his mates and they impersonated the bank? You know you can record and play back the typical 'please wait' message from the bank and pretend you are an advisor.
  2. Avatar
    Frequently sell high value items on facebook. This is a very common scam.…340…am/

    When they tried it with me, they got on the phone to someone from the "bank" - who was clearly a kid and they didn't have to clear security or wait at all. Immediately knew the "transaction" without any information. Clear setup - non-locals too, scottish fellas in Nottinghamshire.

    I'm so glad you didn't hand over the item and trust them!
    Oh so it must have been a scammer then. Wow. Thanks for those links. I've just messaged him asking if he was trying to scam me as the money is still not in my account. But he didn't reply yet.
  3. Avatar
    Scam scam scam scam!
    Incredibly common now - there are people going round the country looking for every high value item on gumtree and Facebook marketplace and pulling this trick.
    They have a fake bank app, that's shows you they've sent it. They have a fake telephone line with an 0800 number that they call pretending it's the bank and "the bank" tells you the money has been sent and will be there in 2 hrs.
    You are lucky they gave up so easily - one trick they do is to say "I've sent you the money so give me the item else I'll stab you"
    I have CCTVs all over my house and front too. It would be super stupid for him to attack me in the middle of the day like that. Plus I'm not that small.
  4. Avatar
    I am not aware of whether this is a scam etc, can you see any pending transactions on your account when you check? Have you called your bank to enquire if they can see an incoming transfer etc?

    Hopefully, others will come along and may provide advice on whether they have seen possible scams like this.

    In the meantime, the money may still come through and at least you have kept hold of the item selling
    Just checked, no pending transactions on my account. I'll wait a bit longer. He said he's finishing work around 6pm so we still have few hours for the payment to reach my account. But this is very unusual to say the least. Bank to bank transfers are usually instant.
  5. Avatar
    How much is the item you’re selling worth? If it’s high value, then yes sounds like potentially it is a scam. If it’s low value, I can’t see someone going to that much trouble for it. Time will tell, if he comes back this evening for it with cash!

    Replying to

    He wouldn't have written the fake banking app, It'll be an app that has been written by scammers for scammers. It's becoming more and more common. Especially for sales of games consoles and mobile phones etc..
  6. Avatar
    Has the buyer double and triple checked your bank details? The bank apps these days do reconcile details with names account holder so shouldn’t be a problem.
    Yeah, we did that. We checked like three times. I just messaged him asking if he was trying to scam me, wonder if he's going to reply or not.
  7. Avatar
    definitely a thing. Travellers are prime users of this scam method here in ireland
    Maybe he was one. He did have a bit strange accent to be fair.
  8. Avatar
    Yep, very common scam. If the money doesn't come in your own personal banking app, it's fake.
  9. Avatar
    Probably never fully completed the transaction. Either that or the Bank's fraud prevention stopped the payment and will call the buyer at some point soon to confirm.

    You done right though by holding on to the goods until the money hits your account. Well done.

    I like to think of my self as pretty savvy but nearly lost a £5k motorbike by not waiting for the funds to hit my account, I stupidly let the bike go without waiting for the funds to hit my account after seeing him enter my details and send the funds, 12hrs later still no sign in my account. I spoke to the buyer and he told me his bank had frozen the payment and it would take another 24hrs. I didn't wait, went round to his house mob handed and picked the bike back up (fortunately it was quite a local sale).

    Never did get the funds or see the buyer again but at least i got the bike back.

    I now NEVER let the item leave my possession until the money is in my account. (edited)
    Yup. I'm gonna update my ad on Gumtree to 'cash only' just in case.
  10. Avatar
    Fake banking apps to do as you describe do exist.

    I have seen videos on TikTok of their use and one where the woman gets caught.

    Strictly cash on collection and check the money is not counterfeit if it is a large amount.
    Told this bloke that if he really wants it he should call his bank, cancel the transfer and bring me cash later. He said he will but haven't heard anything back yet. Sounds more and more like a scam attempt.

    Told this bloke that if he really wants it he should call his bank, cancel the transfer and bring me cash later. He said he will but hasn't heard anything back yet. Sounds more and more like a scam attempt. (edited)
  11. Avatar
    Yep, common scam. My friend lost a PS5 this way.
    Oh wow... sorry to hear that.
  12. Avatar
    If it is a scam I wouldn’t be that bothered that he’s not paid and collected item, I’d be more concerned that he now has your bank details - would ensure you keep a close eye on account next week or so
    Oh yes. All he's got is my sort code and account number. Nothing he can do with that. Unless he wants to pay me some money lol. But I have allerts set up on my app and I see every single transaction that happens immediately.
  13. Avatar
    Yeah you can get spoof apps, been around a while. My friend has a spoof bank thing on his computer as he's one of these people who shuts down scammer call centers with a well known YouTuber.
    Sometimes though bank transfer do take a while as they need authorisation, I sold my Range Rover Sport around 7 years ago, took a little over an hour to go in my bank. HSBC to Lloyd's, I remember the guy had a little calculator looking thing that gave him a pin to use when transferring money.
    Then about 5 years ago I sold my Focus RS to a garage, waited an hour and the guy ended up ringing his bank, they said they blocked the transfer until he rang as it was a huge amount of cash to be paying.
    Maybe just accept cash when items are this expensive, but get yourself a pen for notes to make sure they're not fake as well
    The pens don't do anything on plastic notes, all you can do is a visual check and a uv light.
  14. Avatar
    Yes common scam. They are all over facebook, fake banking apps exist.
  15. Avatar
    Was it here that I read of someone being scammed out of a PS5 as they trusted that the money would eventually arrive?

    You have to have your wits wide awake and alert these days when selling on gumtree/FB. (edited)
  16. Avatar
    This is HIS problem.... Don't release the goods until you have his CLEARED money - there could be numerous reasons why a pukka account hasn't transferred, nevermind the scam aspect.
    Let him chase it up.
  17. Avatar
    Don’t give item until money reaches account.

    Not sure of scam, maybe there is something new going around.
    Anyways but it does happen sometimes, that while transferring people either make mistake with a/c number sort code or forget pressing final confirmation button.

    In my case I had to send money to someone but I forgot to press final confirmation button, fella contacted me after 2 days, I verified and transferred again.
  18. Avatar
    Do exist, my mum is a childminder. One of the kids was leaving for good and the parents used a fake app to send the final bit of money they owed. Obviously no money arrived in my mum's account and after she tried contacting them about it they had already blocked her number.
  19. Avatar
    Yes there are fake banking apps. The best way to know if you're being scammed is they will show you on THEIR phone that the transaction has gone through. Only give the item once you have checked YOUR banking app. This is a very very popular scam. Be careful out there.
  20. Avatar
    Sounds like a scam. You could have asked him to send a small amount while observing him to see if the transaction was successful.

    Most transfers to a UK bank are via a FPS which is often instant, unless there's some sort of verification etc.
  21. Avatar
    Never trust anything you don't control (this includes any payment method that can be reversed such as paypal), you haven't initiated yourself and haven't independently verified. Never trust things shown to you or something 'verified' by someone else guiding

    Most banking "apps" are basically web pages. It's trivial to copy the html/CSS, host it somewhere and put a link to it on a phone made to look like an app.
  22. Avatar
    Transfers are instant or at worst guaranteed within 2 hours.
    You get confirmation of payees name now so if the wrong details were inputted it wouldn't have come up with your name.
  23. Avatar
    Cash is king for me always with Gumtree and Facebook (too many scammers). I'd want to make sure the money had hit my account beforehand, if I was in your shoes.

    I sometimes send money "straight away" on my banking app (to people I know) and I can't remember it ever being anything other than instant (though, I'm sure there are times where the system goes down, it must be rare).

    About being intimidated by some people at the door - I let boyf handle it if I'm unsure about who's coming. Some people can seem really inarticulate or pushy online and be decent in person!

    Just got this message not long ago: "Hi, is this still available?make it less" (I'm being asked if it was Captain Picard). To be fair, it might be that the person doesn't have English as their first language. (edited)
  24. Avatar
    Think I've just lost an xbox series x this way. Absolutely gutted.
    Oh no! Report it to the police!
  25. Avatar
    Cash may be king but I once had someone hand me real money then deliberately give too much then take the whole amount back to take the extra and ‘count’ and then did a bait and switch and have a bundle of fake notes. Some of these scammers could be on britains got talent with their sleight of hand tricks
  26. Avatar
    I'm amazed at the amount of people saying this sounds like a scam. Have you never had a digital banking transaction get put on hold? Or take a while to come through? Why on earth would the guy be cool with coming back later to pick up the goods if he knew his "fake payment" was never actually going to appear? Wouldn't he try to convince you to let him take the goods then? Seems to me like everyone is being overly suspicious with no real reason to be. If the money comes through, give him what he purchased. If it doesn't, don't. Surely it's that simple? I certainly wouldn't start accusing anyone of scams just because a payment never came through instantly though. All banks are different and some can definitley be more difficlult than others.
    Bro... money never arrived into my account. Messaged the bloke about it and he immediately blocked me. He clearly tried to scam me with his fake banking app. Never saw the money. I'm glad I've never handed my Xbox to him. I'd be hundreds out of pocket if I did.