False enquiries (also known as buyer scams) involve scammers posing as buyers acting interested in your item for sale.
Scammers will usually state they are interstate or overseas, and are unable to view your item They are also unlikely to negotiate on price and will offer you the exact asking price, or may even offer to pay more than the asking price.
They may claim that the reason for over payment is due to a banking error or for shipping, insurance, customs duty or agent’s fees and provide a ‘fake’ receipt.
The catch is that the seller will refund the excess amount to the buyer based on the information provided in the ‘fake’ receipt meaning the scammer will often end up with extra money in their pocket as well as the item originally listed for sale.
Tip: If you are contacted by a buyer who cannot meet or speak to you, or who wants to proceed with a sale through a third party company, please be cautious.
How to avoid these scams
- Never complete a transaction based on buyers emailing you a proof of payment, receipt or a money transfer number.
- Independently verify with your bank, PayPal or other account that the funds have been received by personally logging in and checking the account yourself.
- Be suspicious of buyers who offer you much more than the item is worth.
- Do not accept international cheques or money orders.
- Even if the excuse they give sounds realistic, you should still be wary of requests to refund excess money by instant means like internet banking or wire transfers.
- Be wary of legal threats from scammers. They often try to use threats to scare people into parting with money.
- Report it to us (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you encounter any suspicious activity online or believe a false buyer has targeted you, please let us know.
Here are some recent examples of false enquiries below...