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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3612
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I recently set up a Gumtree account and fake email

Resolved Question:

Hi.
I recently set up a Gumtree account and fake email address advertising a PA job. After a short while of doing this, I started to receive several emails and CV's from interested applicants. After exchanging a few friendly messages with some of the applicants I was asked by one or two of them to disclose my company details - no doubt so they could look up that I was either genuine or not, but I did not want to disclose my company details until I had gone through all CV's thoroughly first to progress to the interview stage. I them started to get nasty messages back saying I am going to be reported to Gumtree for fraudulent activity - just because I did not disclose my details!
I noticed that Gumtree work closely with the police on fraudulent activity which I firmly understand, but I can't see what I have done wrong to break the law? I simply refused to disclose my company details when I was asked. I never participated in anything unethical such as impersonating anyone or asking for anything financial.
I have since deactivated my Gumtree account and removed the job posting.
Please can you confirm my position legally with this. I certainly don't want any trouble such as phone calls or knocks at the door by the police when I least expect it!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Fraud under English law is abusing someone's position or trust for personal gain. You have not actually made any personal gain, and fraud is very hard to prove.
The likely the police will investigate this as fraud is negligible - so this is not necessarily something I would be expecting.
The issue you have is that you are storing personal information about these candidates without their consent. I would avoid having any further contact with these people unless you want to a) interview them or b) if they ask you to confirm that you have destroyed any personal data you hold about them (if they as you to do this then I would destroy their CVs).
Have Gumtree been in contact?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

So are you saying that it is highly unlikely the police will investigate?

You say I am storing their information without their consent but surely I must have their consent if they freely sent me their CV in the first place of their own free will?

I agree with you regarding avoiding any further contact.

No, Gumtree haven't contacted me as yet, but then again I did deactivate my account after this sorry incident but I realize I can still be traced through my credit card details when I paid to have the job advertisement published.

Thank you

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Yes I am saying it is highly unlikely that the police will have the time, evidence or resource to investigate this. You have not made a personal gain so fraud is out of the question. Further more fraud is extremely difficult to prove - and it has to be deliberate - your actions were more misguided than deliberate deception.
Yes they did give you the info of their own free will - but you got them to do so on a fake email account. I would just be aware that if they ask you to confirm that you have destroyed their details and information, I would comply with this request.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you AJ.

This has certainly put my mind at rest.

Regarding the fake email account, I should note that these people would not have any knowledge of this as all correspondence is exchanged through gumtree's server and not direct.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I understand, but under the Data Protection Act 1998 people are entitled to decide what happens to their personal information, and this is all subject to consent. If these people withdraw their consent and ask you "Forget" them in essence, then I would comply with this to avoid further hassle.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I understand.

If I receive such a request to 'forget them in essence', then I will of course politely reply by destroying their CV's held in my possession.

However, its very much doubtful this will happen as they will now have no way of contacting me through Gumtree now I have deactivated my account.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
I wish you the best of luck.
If there is anything else you would like to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3612
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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