Whether you’re buying or selling online, follow these tips to make sure you’re protected.
Scammers and fraudsters are also a risk for people selling and buying their goods through online classifieds. Second-hand sites like OLX and Bidorbuy are now very popular, which makes them targets for criminals posing as legitimate buyers and sellers.
Tips for buyers
- Carefully check the photograph of the item for sale and make sure it matches the description provided. Fraudsters will sometimes use pictures they’ve found online because they don’t actually have the item
- Check items carefully and insist on any certificates for high value items such as jewellery.
- Never pay a deposit for items you haven’t physically inspected. If a seller is asking for a deposit to secure your purchase or to pay the courier bill, don’t buy the item.
- Don’t meet the seller carrying a large amount of cash. When you’ve seen the item and you’re happy, go to the bank with the seller to draw the money, or do an EFT.
- If possible, verify the identity of a buyer by asking for a copy of the person’s ID.
- Don’t use escrow services like Moneygram or Western Union in an online transaction.
Tips for sellers
- If you receive a payment confirmation via SMS, call your bank to confirm the transaction is legitimate
and the money has cleared – fraudsters sometimes send SMSs impersonating banks or create a fake proof of payment.
- Always arrange to meet the buyer in person in a public space.
- Avoid deals with sellers who are not based in South Africa.
- Stay up to date with common online scams by visiting these useful websites:
COMPILED BY CAITLIN GENG PHOTOS: ADOBE.STOCK.COM