Safe Trading Tips
FreeClassifieds.com.au has been developed for the Australian community to trade locally for free, face to face, in a safe environment. FreeClassifieds.com.au is dedicated to keeping you and your details safe and secure and we only allow registered users to advertise on our site. While most users will be successful when trading on FreeClassifieds.com.au, unfortunately scams and fraud are common today and are used to con buyers and sellers of their money, goods or personal details. If you detect a scam report it immediately to us and the relevant authorities below. Always be wary of people replying to your ads by email or SMS only, who are not prepared or able to talk over the phone and then meet face to face.
Buyers and sellers are solely responsible for their own dealings when using FreeClassifieds.com.au. Please use the common sense approach and follow these Safe Trading Tips on safe and responsible buying and selling, for your protection and to reduce your risk from scams, as you trade with local businesses and the community.
- Deal locally in person with buyers and sellers. FreeClassifieds.com.au has been developed for local, face to face trading. Don't deal with overseas buyers or sellers.
- SMS and Email scams. With the growth of moblie phones, SMS scams are also increasing. These SMS/text scam messages are being used to con mobile users into email communication and providing their personal details. If you receive an SMS/text message about your item, asking to further communicate via email, we suggest you either ignore it or try phoning the number to speak with the potential buyer to see if the phone number and buyer are legitimate. A phonecall to the number also helps to check if it's an active number and not automated. We advise not to click on any links in SMS/test messages or use brokerage companies. People claiming to be overseas, interstate, too busy working or who are willing to purchase an item without seeing it, or encouraging you to purchase an item by viewing photos only and without seeing it in person, are unlikely to be legitimate.
- For safety and security always have someone with you or tell someone where you are going when either buying or selling. Try to meet in a public place if possible to exchange goods and payment.
- Free Classifieds does not operate an escrow payment service (a service which holds money on behalf of transacting parties), is not involved in any transaction and does not offer any form of buyer protection or payment programs. Emails you receive which claim such requests or services are scams, even though they may include the Free Classifieds name or logo. If you receive emails promoting these services please report it to us immediately.
- Always protect your identity and keep your personal details private. Never provide personal details such as your date of birth or banking details, including credit card number to any unknown person or business without carrying out due diligence.
- Keep your computer's security software programs up to date for protection from viruses and scammers.
- Jobs asking for your bank account details to transfer money for someone could be a front for money laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence. For further information about job and employment scams including Work From Home scams, Guaranteed Employment / Income scams and Business Opportunity scams please visit the SCAMwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au
- Be wary of scammers who use couriers or third parties to pick up items or payment. These couriers can steal goods and money from buyers and sellers.
- Free Classifieds does not offer any form of Live Chat Support. If you receive an email containing a Live Chat Support link do not respond to it and inform us immediately.
- Always use the common sense approach. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Buyers are responsible for checking all the details of an item advertised on Free Classifieds before purchasing. Be aware that advertisements published on FreeClassifieds.com.au may contain errors and ads are not screened before they appear on the site.
- Be wary of all items including cars, boats, motorbikes, pets and rental properties that are priced well below their market value to attract your attention. Inspect advertised products and items in person where possible. Being a local community website, Free Classifieds encourages face to face trading.
- Buyers should never send or wire money to anyone. Never mail a cheque or use online payment/money transfer services such as Western Union, BidPay, Google Checkout, Ukash or MoneyGram to pay for products, items or services found on Free Classifieds. We believe these types of funds transfer are preferred by scammers. Cash and bank cheques are the safest payment method when dealing in person, once you have inspected an item and are happy to proceed with the purchase.
- Only once an item has been inspected, should you exchange payment. By conducting transactions locally and in person, you avoid delivery fees and minimise the risk of scams.
- Buyers should ask for a receipt of purchase which is dated and signed by both the buyer and seller, especially if the buyer has deposited funds into the seller’s account and the funds are waiting to be cleared, prior to handover of the item.
- Be wary if a seller has removed an ad from the site, yet they are telling you that the item is still for sale. The item may already be sold and the seller is trying to receive another payment for it.
- Be wary of items which you cannot collect at the time of payment. An item may not arrive if you make payment or arrange to transfer payment prior to receiving it.
- Be wary of having items mailed to you. If the item never arrives you may lose your money. We encourage local, face to face trading.
- Ask the seller plenty of questions, such as: Does the item have any faults or issues? How long have you had the item for and are you the original owner?
- Conduct thorough research to be sure you are paying the right price and don't be afraid to negotiate a fair price.
- Always inspect the item to ensure its published details are correct before you pay for it.
- Be wary of sellers asking for excessive delivery or insurance costs. Also beware of sellers asking for delivery or insurance fees to be paid prior to an item being sent or collected. Some scams ask buyers for a delivery or insurance fee, however once this is paid the item is never received. Remember, Free Classifieds encourages face to face trading with cash or bank cheque.
With the growth of the internat and moblie phones, email and SMS scams are also increasing. These email and SMS/text scam messages are being used to con users into communication and providing their personal details. If you receive an SMS/text message about your item, we suggest you ignore it. You may try phoning the number to speak with the potential buyer, to see if the phone number and buyer are legitimate. A phonecall to the number also helps to check if it's an active number and not automated. We advise not to click on any links in SMS/test or email messages or use brokerage companies. People claiming to be overseas, interstate, too busy working or who are willing to purchase an item without seeing it, or encouraging you to purchase an item by viewing photos only and without seeing it in person, are unlikely to be legitimate. Being a local community website, Free Classifieds encourages face to face trading.
Sellers should never mail an item before receiving payment for it. Some scams involve a buyer sending a seller a fake receipt as proof that they have deposited money into the seller's account. Never hand over an item before you are sure that the full payment has been received. Don’t take a buyer’s assurance or proof that the money has been transferred. If you have agreed to be paid by EFT/direct deposit to your account, check the account yourself to ensure the funds have been deposited, cleared and cannot be cancelled.
Sellers should never accept payment by personal cheque or from online payment/money transfer services such as Western Union, BidPay, Google Checkout, Ukash or MoneyGram for products, items or services advertised on Free Classifieds. We believe these types of funds transfer are preferred by scammers. Cash and bank cheques are the safest payment method when dealing in person for any goods or services. Be sure to inspect the security features of currency and bank cheques offered to you.
- Don't accept part payments. If a buyer cannot pay the full price for an item, do not let them take it.
Please report any suspicious advertisements, emails and texts to us immediately. All advertisements include a Report Ad link, which is the best way to report an ad to us. In the case of fraud or illegal activity, please report it immediately to the police and the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) on 1300 302 502 or visit the SCAMwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au. You may also contact your state’s local consumer affairs agency. The SCAMwatch website provides further advice about classified scams. This information can be found via the Personalised Scams link. You can also forward any suspicious text/SMS to ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) for them to investigate it. The dedicated ACMA number for Scam SMS is 0429 999 888. If you would like further information on scams we encourage you to download The Little Black Book of Scams published by the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) which highlights a variety of scams that regularly target Australian consumers and business. It also offers consumers tips on how to protect themselves from scams, what they can do to minimise and prevent further damage if they do get scammed and how they can report a scam. Click here to view some examples of scam emails and SMS/texts.
Be alert and remember these safe trading tips, to stay one step ahead of scammers. It is better to miss out on a sale than to become another victim of a scam. If you are unsure about a transaction, then our advice is please don't proceed.
FreeClassifieds.com.au is dedicated to providing safe trading information to consumers and businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams, promoting a safe, local trading environment for our community.
Please enjoy easy, local and free trading!