A YOUNG woman whose dad died in tragic circumstances was conned out of her inheritance by online scammers.

Olivia Costa, 21, lost thousands of pounds left to her by her late father who was killed in a road crash when she was 12.

The money was put in a child trust fund by her mum so that Olivia could buy her first car when she passed her test.

Olivia set her sights on a Fiat 500 advertised for sale on website Gumtree and began negotiating with what she thought was the website's staff.

She said: "I had never bought anything on Gumtree before.

"They said they had used a Gumtree financial team. It all seemed legitimate. It had the Gumtree logo on the emails."

However, the fraudster had used a similar website address and logo.

Olivia's mum, Lynn Davidson, said: "The scammer said that she was going to Italy for six months, hence the reason for the car sale, and asked Olivia to deal with the Gumtree sales team direct.

"In the email exchange was a link to 'The Gumtree Sales Team', which was how the scam was played out - the link was directing Olivia to a fake site."

The ruse continued when they asked for payment to be sent to an account named Gumtree Media Group.

Olivia, of Erksine, Renfrewshire, was given instructions to send £3150 by bank transfer using 'Fiat 500' as the reference.

Olivia said: "I got so caught up in buying my first car that I went ahead with it."

The supposed seller then supplied her with a fake reference number and told her the car would arrive the following Wednesday at 4pm.

Lynn said: "We were all at home and excitedly awaiting Olivia's new car but instead she got an email saying the transporter had been in an accident en route and the car had been written off, and could we supply the bank details again and the money would be reimbursed to her account.

"Immediately I phoned the real Gumtree people who informed me that they don't act as the host or receiver for funds so it must have been a scam and that there was nothing they could do.

"We contacted the bank to see if they could stop the transfer but it was too late."

Olivia added: "When my dad passed away he left my sister and I a little bit of money and I wanted to use it for something good. I'm devastated that this has happened."

The crime was first passed to Action Fraud, an arm of City of London Police, before being passed to the Metropolitan Police Service's Specialist Crime and Operations division.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "No arrests have been made. Inquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call police on 101."

A spokesman for Gumtree said: "We do everything in our power to keep scammers off our site and encourage anyone who has fallen for a scam, to report it to us and the police.

"Our dedicated safety team will then investigate it and take action such as blocking the offender from the site, or work with the police to help secure convictions, which we will do if required in Olivia's case."