Frequently Asked Questions

Information about online scams

The overwhelming majority of Buy and Sell Australia users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.

With thousands of human interactions facilitated through this site, the incidence of violent crime has been extremely low.

Nevertheless, it's very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.

When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
  • Tell a friend or family member where you're going
  • Take your mobile phone along if you have one
  • Consider having a friend accompany you
  • Trust your instincts
This page outlines some simple precautions which help make Buy and Sell Australia safer for everyone.

You can also learn more about scams at SCAMwatch, an Australian Government website which provides information about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.


You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:

  • Deal locally with people you can meet in person
    • You will avoid the majority of scam artists by following this simple rule
  • Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram or any other wire service
    • These services are often used by scammers to receive money from victims
  • Fake cashier cheques and money orders can be common, and banks can sometimes cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later
  • Buy and Sell Australia is not involved in any transaction, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
  • Never give out financial information such as bank account number, tax file number, PayPal information
  • Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services
  • Be cautious of people guaranteeing an unrealistic product or service
  • Avoid get-rich-quick schemes - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
    • Be sceptical of advertising claims that promise instant wealth - ask for written substantiation of all claims and statistics on success and failure rates.
    • Do your research. Contact ASIC and research online to find out all you can about the company.
    • Don't be pressured into purchasing a product or investing money immediately upon receiving information about it. Consult experts for advice.
    • Before you buy anything, ensure it is actually of value.
    • Before putting any money down or signing anything, ask to see a written contract specifying the details of the agreement.

Recognizing Scams

Most scams involve one or more of the following:
  • Inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before completing transaction
For more information please see http://www.scamwatch.gov.au.


 Last updated Sun Apr 10, 2016, 10:34pm

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