Trade safely - avoid known scams
Here at Bauer Media we strive to deliver the best service to our customers. It is nonetheless a sad fact of life that scams and fraud are a common occurrence these days. Scams rely on victims being duped into giving away their money and maybe their personal details. The best way to avoid getting scammed therefore is to recognise and report it in the first place. To that end, below are the best practice tips to avoid getting scammed:
- Don't give out your personal details or bank account details over email. Be wary of emails asking you to confirm or supply website login or credit card details.
- Find out as much as you can about the product and ideally inspect it in person
- Always try to confirm the identity of a seller. Scammers will typically hide behind generic email accounts and conduct 'negotiations' anonymously via email. They will often use an answer phone message or text message to get an enquirers email account and then continue 'discussions' via email, so always try to establish telephone contact with the seller first and confirm their identity.
- Be wary of items advertised at unusually low prices. If an offer seems too good to be true, it often is. A common scam involves potential buyers being sent an email containing detailed information on a vehicle supposedly located abroad. Once contact is established, the scammer pressures the buyer into making a smaller payment to view the vehicle.
- Do not put any monies into foreign bank accounts. Another common scam involves bogus overseas sellers contacting you directly or pretending to be from a reputable organisation.
- Hoax, counterfeit, bogus and stolen items can occasionally slip through and appear to be real listings. It is important to read the advertisement description carefully and ask questions. It is common for fraudsters to ask for contact via another email address and then ask for payment for goods by non-traceable means. If a seller does not offer a warranty or receipt, find out why.
- If you think you have been the victim of a scam you should report this to Action Fraud, more details are available at: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Trade safely - recommended payment methods
Some payment options offer more protection than others, so be sure to select a payment method that you're comfortable with. Walk away from the deal if you're not happy with the payment arrangement.
Good payment options include:
- Pay on pick-up - good for higher value goods and for local buying. You'll be able inspect the goods to ensure they are as advertised.
- Cash - used for thousands of years and still going strong. We suggest you get a receipt.
- Cheque - recommended if agreeable to the seller. You give or send the seller a personal or bank cheque to pay for the item. Most banks will allow you to cancel a cheque before it is cashed if a problem arises.
- Internet bank payment - deposit the payment directly into the seller's bank account through internet banking. You've got the seller's bank account number, which is of course traceable. Do not put any monies into foreign bank accounts.
- Credit card - you can benefit from your credit card's protection clauses. However, we suggest you find out the detail of the protection from your credit card issuer before you commit.
Only deal with sellers that you consider trustworthy.
Only buy something if you're confident it's genuine and ideally only after you've seen it in person.
Never part with any money - even a small deposit - until you feel the previous two points have been met.
More comprehensive advice is available at the Citizen's Advice Bureau: here