May 2022

TradeMe warns of Christmas scams


Tis the season to be scammed, with New Zealand’s leading online auction site warning people not to trust any requests for instant international cash transactions from online traders.

Overseas con artists were contacting TradeMe users, telling them they had won an auction. They would tell their target they were out of the country and trying to arrange a money transfer through Western Union, TradeMe trust and safety manager Chris Budge said.

On another auction website, a computer user had been stung over a classic 1965 Mustang Fastback, which they were offered in a special deal for $9800, Mr Budge said. The collectors car usually goes for at least $25,000.

The scammed user didn’t check where the email had come from, or why a message – apparently bearing TradeMe’s SafeTrader logo – was contacting them about a deal reached from a competing service.

“These scams do exist, and it’s Christmas time, so people are more inclined to make that big purchase,” he said.

“People just need to have their radar on. As ever, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. We don’t want any of these overseas bastards ripping off Kiwis.”

He advised site users to not use Western Union for exchanging money for items, to use the SafeTrader service and to read the site’s Q+A section.

Users should check emails about items they had apparently won with information on the auction site before moving around any money, and have a different user name on TradeMe to their email address. He also advised users to set a strong password, of at least six characters, using both letters and numbers.

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