The online classifieds scam is a common scam targeting both buyers and sellers. Buyers should beware of scammers who post fake ads on legitimate classifieds websites. The ads can be for anything from rental properties to pets, used cars, motorcycles or cameras, and will often be cheaply priced. If you show interest in the item, the scammer may claim that they are travelling or have moved overseas and that an agent will deliver the goods following receipt of payment. Following payment you will not receive the goods or be able to contact the seller.
For sellers, a classified scammer will respond to your advertisement with a generous offer. If you accept it, the scammer will pay by cheque or money order. However, the amount that you receive is for more than the agreed price. The ‘buyer’ may tell you that the overpayment was a 13 mistake and will ask you to refund the excess amount by money transfer. The scammer then tries to get you to transfer the money before you discover that their cheque has bounced or that the money order was phony. You will lose the money, as well as the item you sold if you have already sent it.
Never give out sensitive personal or financial information in emails or over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited email or telephone call from a stranger.
Never wire money in response to an email or telephone appeal, whether it is from a stranger or someone who claims to know you or an organization you may be familiar with.
Never let emotion or fear overcome your common sense. Don't let anyone rush you.
NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
There are definite bargains to be had in BikeHaggle.com.au, some are just too good to be true. Always find additional ways to validate buyers or sellers details.
The Australian Government has some solid advice available on the following links:
ACCC's ‘The little black book of scams’:
Information available on other pages: