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

Avoiding Online Scams

We have compiled a quick guide to common classified scams to help you be safe and confident when buying and selling online with eBility. 

Classified scams trick online shoppers on classified websites into thinking they are dealing with a legitimate contact, but it is a scammer.

Warning Signs

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 is 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.

When selling online

  • The buyer wants the item without inspecting it.
  • The buyer is overseas and wants it shipped to them. Shipping overseas is costly, 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 your bank has cleared the funds before shipping.

General Tips for Buyers and Sellers

  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Always exercise caution. 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 actual, 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 on the embedded link in the email; type into your address and bar and log in through there.

Where to go for help

If you encounter any suspect or fraudulent activity while using eBility, you can contact us to let us know.

You can also Report a Scam through Scamwatch.

Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about recognising, avoiding, and reporting scams. Scamwatch gives examples of scams to help you identify if you are being targeted.

If your identity has been stolen

Further reading

Classified scams