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Scams and Fraud

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

With millions 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 safer for everyone.

You can also learn more about scams at SCAMwatch, an Australian Government website a site which helps in recognising, reporting and protecting yourself from scams.


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

    You will avoid 98% of scam artists by following this simple rule
    Anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • FAKE Cashier Cheques & Money Orders are common, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later
  • 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 (bank account number, tax file number, eBay/PayPal information, etc.)
  • AVOID GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES - If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
    To avoid becoming a victim of a get-rich-quick scheme, recommends:
    • 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 offering the seminar.
    • 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

Following are some actual scam emails currently circulating on the internet:

l want to buy it for mu bussinees patrner.this is adress u will ship the item to name:a... y... john,adrees: no 2 b o street ijo o,city: ib ,state: oyo state. country code: 23402. i will pay u by paypal. you can send me your paypal account details to pay the money. total everything with shipping cost.thanks

Dearest beloved One, I am Miss P... M... a native of Sierra Leone but presently in Abidjan a city in Ivory Coast (Cote d Ivoire). I saw your profile today in my private search when I was looking for someone that can be trusted, so I decided to contact you and I hope you will be able to assist me in this. Please after reading this e-mail have pity on me. I know this mail will come as surprise. I am 21 years old, it is my pleasure communicating with you for the first time and believing that it will lead to a better relationship between us. I have an inheritance that my late father left for me in the security company here in Ivory Coast. Before the death of my late father in a private hospital in Sierra Leone he secretly called me on his bed side and told me that he has a ($7,000.000). Seven million united state dollars, which he deposited in the bank here in Ivory Coast, Please, I want you to stand as my late father business partner and my foreign beneficiary in claiming the funds out from the bank and told them to transfer the funds into your bank account, I am ready to offer you 20% of the total money if only you assist me to claim out the funds and assist me also in investing the money in any lucrative business. I will give you more detail and forward all vital informationas soon as I hear from you. Best Regards. Miss P...S...: email..

Key points to note:

  • Scammer is from one foreign country, but writing from another
  • They are asking for sympathy and help
  • Offering unrealistically large amounts of money

hi you want my car ?? We will use eBay's protection program for our safety.I just need your full name and address so i can open a case.(with no further obligation or fees). Let me know if you are interested. Rply

Key points to note:

Referring to eBay protection to add credit to their request (eBay can not offer any sort of protection on non-eBay transactions)

Hello there, i want to know if you really want to sell this car as am interested in buying it outrightly for my dad as bithday gift. I will be offering you $3,000.00 for the car I will be paying you with please do reply me asap with your paypal account(paypal e-mail address) including your phone #, so i can effect payment to you rightaway and do get back to me so we can arrange for pick up as i will like the car to be picked,so no shipping included I await your reply. Regards B

Key points to note:

The scammer claims they will use Paypal and arrange pickup of the item. Their intention is to send a false Paypal receipt, and have the car collected before the scam is realised. The apparent sense of urgency helps this scam succeed.

Hi there, pls i am making an offer of $3,000.00 for this car for a quick sale,i am a marine engineer and right now on the sea,so due to that fact i can only make the payments through paypal.I have a pick up agent that will come for pick up after i have made the payments. For the payment processes, I will be paying you via PayPal payment.Just go to and sign up with them to receive the payment.PayPal is 100% safe, secure and reliable.PayPal is a method of payment whereby sellers and buyers make and receive payments on auctions and classifieds sites, check there website for details will more than appreciate if i hear from you I will be awaiting your swift response.Cheers, H

Key points to note:

  • The aim of this scam is as with that above
  • Again a sense of urgency helps in the success of this scam
  • Scammer is apparently unable to make payment in person or collect the car in person
  • Information about Paypal is included to add authenticity

Hello seller, am intrested in your ads and i want to know the present condition of the ads and also knowing if you still have it avaliable for sale. authenticityMy ideal payment is paypal email/Western Union.i will take care of the shipping cost to authenticitymy store in NIG by adding the cost bill to my payment. Hoping to read from you asap

Key points to note:

Similar scam to above. Scammer is from a foreign country and wants to make payment via Paypal.

If you have any questions, send us a note. If you receive a suspicious message from a buyer or seller, click the 'report to moderator' link on the bottom of the message and a site moderator will look into the matter as soon as possible.