Illustrated graphic of man breaching security measures on a computer and attempting to perform a scam.

Online Safety & Avoiding Scams

We have put together a quick guide to common classified site scams to help you be safe and confident when selling and buying online.

Warning Signs

Signs to look out for when BUYING online:

  • The seller is overseas or unavailable and insists that you deal with a third party like a shipping company.

  • Requests that payment be made through international money transfer services, such as Western Union, via cheque or direct bank transfers.

  • Emails with links to a payment service, especially those that require your login.

Signs to look out for when SELLING online:

  • The buyer wants the item without inspecting it.
  • The buyer is overseas and wants it shipped to them. Shipping overseas is incredibly expensive and it is unlikely to be a genuine request.
  • The buyer asks that you pay for shipping - particularly if they have requested that they pay by cheque or third party transfer.
  • You receive a cheque for more than the agreed amount. The buyer claims this was an error and requests that the overpaid amount be returned.
  • Do not send items unless payment has been received. If you have accepted a cheque make sure the funds have been cleared by your bank prior to shipping.

General Tips for Buyers and Sellers

  • If a deal seems too good to be true it probably is!
  • Always exercise caution when buying or selling online. If you are concerned that a buyer or seller may not be genuine - do not proceed.
  • Always have another person present during item inspections.
  • The email address is suspect. Sometimes the emails include well-known company names but the email provider is a free one such as Gmail or Hotmail for example This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • If you are unsure that a link in an email is real do not use it instead go directly to the company's official website. For example if you have an email from PayPal asking to log-in don't click the link, go to paypal.com.au and log in there.

Where to go for help

If you come across any suspect or fraudulent activity via our website you can report it to us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (02) 8324 5691. You can report scams Scamwatch. "Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams." Scamwatch gives examples of scams to help you identify if you are being targeted. www.scamwatch.gov.au

If you believe your identity has been stolen:

  • Call or visit the local police station.
  • Call your bank or financial institutions.
  • Change your online passwords.
  • Contact iDcare - a free Government service to assist you www.idcare.org or 1300 432 273
  • Apply for a Commonwealth Victim's Certificate
  • You may need this to re-establish your identity with Government agencies or financial institutions. The Attorney-General's Department issues the certificate. http://bit.ly/2Cs1Qkl

Other links: