A PONTYPOOL couple were scammed out of £500 after they sold their laptop on the internet.

Andrew Rhondda, 23, listed the laptop on the website Gumtree on behalf of his partner, Kerry Lang.

“Someone was interested and said they wanted to buy it through PayPal,” said Mr Rhondda, who decided to use Gumtree to avoid the fees payable on other bidding websites.

“We thought PayPal was reliable, and the e-mail address even had a PayPal ID. They offered to pay £500 and £30 for postage and packaging, so I posted it to the address they gave me which cost me £25.

“They asked for the shipping ID number which I sent, but then they wanted a photocopy of the postage receipt. That was when I telephoned PayPal to check and they said they had no record of the transaction.”

Mr Rhondda described the forgery as very convincing. “It was the first time I had sold anything online,” he said. “I would advise other people to wait until they have the money sitting in their account before sending anything.”

The pair contacted the police and the Action Fraud service but were told the package could not be stopped once it was in transit.

Miss Lang said she was going to use the money from the sale to buy extra food for Christmas.

“I am in a wheelchair and it is not a 4x4 so I don’t go out much in the winter,” she said. “All this has stressed me right out, I didn’t think for a minute that people could set up a forged PayPal account.”

The Gumtree website advises users to meet face-to-face to exchange items for sale.