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Safe Trading Tips



Ways of Avoiding Problems

Each week, many people get extremely satisfying results from finding great buys and making great sales on the Internet. Unfortunately, sometimes, things go wrong.

The easiest cure for Internet fraud is prevention.

Don't get caught. If you follow some easy steps, you will dramatically decrease your risk of being scammed and deriving maximum value from the world of opportunity the Internet affords you.

Below are some tips to help you avoid problems:

  • Buyer's tips
  • Seller's tips
  • Other tips


  • Buyer's tips

    If it's too good to be true, then it probably is – It's a cliché, but it's true. If the item you're looking at is far cheaper than the going rate, then the ad is probably a fraud. A good way of checking the going rates of mobile phones, laptops and other items is to visit a price comparison site, like http://www.shopbot.com.au/.

    Be specific about the item you are buying - Ask the seller specific questions about the item. Gain a clear understanding about any possible flaws or faults it may have and how it has been used before.

    Pick the Goods Up - Picking the goods up is the best way to avoid being scammed. Use your common-sense when organising to pick an item up to avoid any possible security hazards.

    If you can't pick it up:

    Buy from Australian Companies using a Credit Card - Buying from registered Australian companies using a credit card is the best way to avoid any problems, as strong systems are in place to handle dispute resolution.

    If you are dealing with a private individual: - Consider using an escrow service. Escrows are independent third-parties that take a small commission to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Sellers are guaranteed to get paid and buyers are guaranteed to get the goods promised or the escrow reverses the transaction. Check out more information at: Email admin@cracker.com.au if you think we should check out another escrow agency to add to this list.

    Note: Many scammers claim that Squaretrade is an Escrow Service. They are not. Do not believe anyone that tells you to transfer money to a Squaretrade account.

    If you choose not to use Escrow, use a credit card intermediator like Paymate (Australian company) or Paypal (a United States company with a local office). They have systems that detect fraudsters and remove them from their networks. However, you have far less protection via this method than you would using an Escrow.

    Under no circumstances should you ever send a seller cash or anything cash-like. Examples of cash-like things are Western-Union money orders, any other type of money order, bank drafts, bank cheques, telegraphic transfers, electronic funds transfer payment via Internet Banking or anything else that cannot be retrieved if things go wrong.

    Seller's tips

    If it's too good to be true, then it probably is – I know it's a cliché, but the fact is if someone is offering to buy your item for a lot more than you're selling it for, then they are probably trying to scam you.

    Be upfront about the item you are selling – Honesty is the best policy, yes another cliché. If the buyer is happy you didn't hide anything from them, then they'll probably buy from you again and tell their friends to buy from you.

    Stipulate what payment methods you'll allow – This shows you're a genuine seller and you aren't trying to hide anything. Do not advise that the only accepted method of payment is cash, bank cheque or money order to be posted to you. This is a calling sign of a fraud ad and is likely to be a big turn off to potential buyers. Even offering direct bank transfers can be seen as being dodgy. You may be an honest individual of high moral standing, but unfortunately, not every seller is.

    Stipulate what the buyer's delivery options are - Picking the product/goods up is the best way to avoid buyer scammers. Use your common-sense when arranging the pick up to avoid any possible security hazards.

    If they can't pick it up:

    Consider using an escrow service. Escrows are independent third-parties that take a small commission to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Sellers are guaranteed to get paid, and buyers are guaranteed to get the goods promised, or the escrow reverses the transaction. Check out more information at: Email admin@cracker.com.au if you think we should check out another escrow agency to add to this list.

    If you choose not to use Escrow, use a credit card intermediator like Paymate (Australian company) or Paypal (a United States company with a local office). They have systems that detect fraudsters and remove them from their networks. However, you have far less protection via this method than you would using an Escrow.

    Don't rush the sale – This is another calling sign of a fraud ad; 99% of buyers would be willing to wait a little longer to get the item/service they really want. This gives you time to create a safe environment for the complete transaction to ensure the satisfaction of both parties.

    Other tips

    Keep records – Keep a copy of all correspondence between parties and of any transactions that took place. This will aid authorities when they need to intervene if something goes wrong, it's also great for your piece of mind.

    Dealing Outside of Australia - Be particularly wary dealing with people outside of Australia. Favour only using a credit card, or an escrow service. If the amount is large, then only use a trusted escrow service. Be mindful that many non-Australian crime agencies do not investigate Internet crime of values below US$5000 or 5000 Euros. This includes countries you may not ordinarily expect to be lax on crime. According to The Australian High Tech Crime Commission, even US and UK police do not follow up Internet crime of value less than US$5000/EUR5000.

    Keep your Virus Scanner, Internet Firewall and Spyware Scanners Up to Date - Use only up-to-date versions of security software.

    Do not follow links in emails - If someone sends you an email claiming to link to a well-respected site, do not click on the link they give you. Type the link into a web browser to ensure you know the real address.

    Report Suspicious Activity - Anything you find that doesn't sound right, report it to Cracker Admin. We will investigate and remove any ads that seem suspicious. We cannot - however - follow up on any crime without authorisation from the Police or the Court.

    This list is not comprehensive - There is no substitute for common-sense for assessing your own situation.

    What happens if I am the victim of Online Crime? - You can try contacting the Australian High-Tech Crime Commission if you are unlucky enough to be a victim of crime.
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