How to avoid car sale scams: for buyers and sellers

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How to identify a scam:


Scammers will pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads. Often if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. When you show interest the scammer will likely be unavailable -usually traveling or working abroad- but explain that the goods will be delivered by an agent upon receipt of payment. Heads up … you’ll never receive the goods. 


Often these ‘buyers’ are also conveniently unable to meet and are strangely trusting; willing to pay large sums without seeing the item they are paying for. They also may seem a little impractical – for example, an overseas buyer may be interested in purchasing your item despite it being commonly available in their home country and the fact that shipping costs would far outweigh the cost of the item. They may provide a fake receipt of payment. Or they may send a cheque that will bounce.

Before taking action


·         Google the exact wording the ad. You may find other people reporting the same or a similar scam.

·         Only pay for items you have personally inspected and never prior to inspection – deposits included!


·         Never accept cheques for more than the asking price (read more about overpayment scams)

·         Never send items until payment has been cleared by your bank

What to do if you discover a scam or are a victim of a scam

·         Contact the relevant website and let them know the scammers profile

·         Spread the word among family and friends to raise awareness

·         Reports scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page

·         Get help here

Why is safer

You can only be contacted by people who have registered a free account with And you can only be contacted when there is a match between wanted and for sale advertisements on

This makes a helluva lot of work for a scammer – individually matching their wants and needs with yours to be able to generate an automatic notification through our system– which substantially reduces the risk of scams.