Stay Safe on Buy Swap & Sell Pages.
Last night I read a post on a Buy Swap & Sell site of a lady that was the unfortunate victim on cyber fraud. The victim purchased an iPhone 6 plus for a tidy $650. Reading through the comments, I see that the lady described the seller as a ‘normal lady’ and did seek bank details and a copy of the sellers passport before sending the money. What the victim didn’t realise is the seller was not in Australia and now has radical Islamic pictures on their profile.
Cyber crime is believed to be the largest growing crime in the world, and without being harsh on the victim is not hard to see why. Ballan Computers runs two Buy Swap & Sell pages (Ballan & Ballarat) and do what we can to ensure the fake profiles are not let in. The trouble arises when a fraudster either creates a new account with fake information, copies an account for credibility to a name and picture or worse is able to get into accounts and use a real local account to spread their web of fraud.
Reading of the poor victims plight, I decided to write an article to help others stay safer online when buying from Facebook pages, Internet sites or sales sites such as Gumtree.
- Buy from trusted suppliers, stores or businesses. Facebook doesn’t do much when it comes to verifying an account. This means its ridiculously east to trick people into thinking a Facebook account is real.
- When buying privately, make sure you can purchase and pickup the item. Phones & laptops are the most used items for fraudsters as their value can be high and they’re easy enough to send. (If genuine)
- If buying a phone or laptop (or anything) from someone when you can’t pick the item up, use PayPal as your preferred payment method. PayPal have strict guidelines and require users to verify their accounts before they are allowed to withdraw money. Even still, be careful, its still not a guarantee.
- Buy, Swap & Sell sites can be full of really great deals, so the phrase it seems too good to be true is less accurate, but still worth a thought’ If it seems a great buy and you want to be the first to say sold, do so... but make sure you put pending questions. “Sold. Pending Questions”. Any seller not prepared to wait may have something to hide.
- When buying items locally, its important to try and get proof of purchase. I know its not always easy, but there have been cases where stolen phones have ended up in the hands of buyers only to be blocked due to theft. You can actually get in trouble for handling stolen goods too, so making sure its legitimate is important.
- Don’t forget, purchases between two people are often buyer beware. Whilst there are avenues you can take if a crime has occurred, its doesn’t always work in your favour. It is highly unlikely of getting a favourable outcome if the fraud has happened from overseas (as the cases above seems to be)
- It might be a case of buyer beware, but at the end of the day, the buyer has all the control. The buyer is the one with the money. You can pull out at anytime. You are not obligated to make any purchase.
- If you’re unsure, or have any doubts, stop the purchase.
- If you see what you think may be a spam post, click the down arrow at the top right of the post and report it to admin. Admin can see who reported the post, but the person that reported the post can not see who has reported it, so your identity is safe.
If you have been the victim of cyber crime, you can report it at Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).