Almost being scammed

We are in the middle of preparing our departure to our new nomad lifestyle, which means packing and saying good bye to everything that we can't take with us. We give as much as possible to friends and family and sell everything else via Gumtree and Shpock. One of the items that we want to sell is an Artemide Tizio 50 desk lamp.

We posted it to Gumtree where we got the following reply shortly after posting:

my dad is keen to buy this now. write with just pics and price at w12adamsltd@gmail.com as he wants this now.

We should have seen that coming based on that suspisious message, but we sent an email as requested with pictures and the asking price as we figured that nothing could happen by doing just that. After that initial email we started to email back and forth.

Following all the email responses that we received from Adam Williams (wadam7741@gmail.com):

Reply 1:

I'm so happy for the reply, I'm ready to buy this for my dearest someone as a gift which is so important, the only issue here is that i work full time and am not around hence i have a verified courier agent coming for the collection after the money as been sent to your account and the collector will be available for all necessary things that is needed done about collection. Due to my work there is strictly no call that is why my child sent you an email over earlier.

I only have access to my email here anytime and I have gone through your ad and i am satisfied with it so we are good to go on this sale. Will be paying through paypal so if you have an account with them, get one set up and get back to me with the paypal details and firm price for payment as soon as possible to set up collection..

Reply 2:

Hello , sorry for the late response, I wish to inform you that i would be adding an extra £50 to the money am transferring into your PayPal account, which is for the charged collection fee for the courier company to register the (lamp) for pick up, so you'll help me send it to the courier company agent via Amazon Gift Card Money Pack after the payment confirmation...I will appreciate your help here. As soon as i made the payment PayPal will notify you....i hope you understand now ?

and while we don't have to much stuff in our flat, we are trying to sell as much as possible

Reply 3:

Hi, I have completed the payment and i expected PayPal to have notified you about this, check your PayPal account email michael.loistl@gmail.com Inbox/Spam & Junk Mail and let me know if you have been notified yet. i sent £270 all to your account including the courier agents fee and am awaiting for the payment confirmation now but once you are notified kindly read through and follow the process given by PayPal to complete the sale..     below is the courier agent information coming for the collection :  First name: Hodan Abdi Surname: Hiris Address: Catford, London, SE6 4TZ    Many Thanks and nice doing business with you

Reply 4:

The transaction as been deducted from my account...Get on a computer or if you have access to your email and check your PayPal email michael.loistl@gmail.com inbox , spam and junk folder and not PayPal account now because have been notified some while ago about the payment confirmation so please check your email thoroughly and let me know once you are notified..  Thanks

Here are the two emails that landed in my spam folder:
you-ve-received-an-instant-payment-of-270.00-gbp-from-adam-williams.pdf
last-step-to-confirm-payment.pdf

In the very beginning we were very happy that we got such a quick response from a potential buyer, but with every email interaction that whole thing got more and more suspicious.

I was of course checking my actual PayPal account for receiving a payment which never arrived. In the very beginning, that all didn't make any sense to me as I though if someone is sending me actual money on my PayPal account, how could that be a scam, but as it turned out, their intention was for us to send them a giftcard for £50 which would have been the actual scam fulfilment. I didn't understand why I should get a gift card for the courier, which probably made me suspicious in the first place. I read then a few comments on a paypal scam forum, which explained that kind of scam, which is where I got finally clear on the process on how that would have worked if we would have fallen for those emails.

Please be careful when doing any online transactions and always only trust your actual payment vendor account and never any emails in terms of transactions.