Online trading issues

Online trading issues involve scammers targeting people who buy, sell or trade online. There are many types of scams which aim to rip off unsuspecting shoppers. Online trading scammers may:

  • advertise products for sale at cheap prices, and once purchased the products never arrive
  • pay the seller a larger amount than advertised, invent an excuse for the overpayment and then request the excess amount be repaid either back to the scammer or to a third party before the seller realises the fraud
  • offer ‘miracle’ cures for medical conditions where none exist (especially for weight loss)
  • target small businesses and attempt to bill them for a particular service – usually a listing or advertisement – which the business never asked for
  • take advantage of natural disasters by impersonating charities requesting donations
  • claim your computer is infected with a virus and request remote access to fix the problem, or
  • attract you with offers for ‘free’ goods by subscribing to mobile premium services.

If you have been affected by an online trading scam, or if you are concerned about something that appears on an online trading website you should report it to the site (for example, eBay or Gumtree). If you are not satisfied with their response, you should report the scam to the ACORN.

Further information about protecting against online trading scams can be found under Online Shopping

Case study

Tom is a father from Noosa, who tried to purchase a Jack Russell puppy for his children on an online trading website. Tom contacted the seller, GotchaMunee, to express his interest. GotchaMunee sent Tom a text message asking for $1,000 as a deposit to cover vet costs before the puppy can be released to Tom. Tom transfers the money and then does not hear from the seller again. Tom should firstly report this incident to the trading website, and then to the ACORN