Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Fraudster Repellant: How eBay's Gumtree Polices Classifieds

Gumtree's Fergus Campbell Says Free Site Still Battles 'Wild West' Perceptions
Fergus Campbell, fraud communications manager, Gumtree

How can you battle scammers and fraudsters - as well as foster trust and protect the brand?

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For Gumtree, Britain's largest online classifieds platform, the answer is simple: trial and error, says Fergus Campbell, the company's fraud communications manager.

Compared with parent company eBay, however, Gumtree faces more challenges when attempting to stop anyone who might be trying to scam users as they hunt for an apartment, seek out a new pet or buy a used car.

For starters, anyone can post for free to Gumtree, which is both a site and a mobile app. And Gumtree boasts 14 million to 19 million unique users per month. But no one who posts needs to share identity or payment card information.

"The online classifieds model is inherently open to a large extent, unlike ... our parent company and other ecommerce players," Campbell says. "We are free, easy to list and browse, and local, to that local area." But Campbell says despite perceptions of Gumtree as an online classifieds "Wild West," the incidence of fraud on the site is much lower than people might believe.

In an interview at Information Security Media Group's recent 2017 London Fraud and Breach Prevention Summit, Campbell also discusses:

  • What Gumtree has learned about fighting fraud during its 17-year tenure;
  • The use of a rules engine to filter illegal content;
  • Disseminating safety advice to educate users;
  • Liaising with law enforcement, lawmakers and industry stakeholders.

Before working at Gumtree, Campbell was executive director at communications agency Golin London as well as a senior consultant at communications agency Blue Rubicon, among other positions.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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