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Second-hand scams: Australians selling used goods getting conned online

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Marketplaces have become a haven for fraudsters, with millions of Australians falling victim, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,039 respondents revealed 1 in 10 (10%) have been duped while trying to sell their second-hand goods online.

That's equivalent to 2 million Aussies, with the average victim losing $560 over the past 12 months.

The research found 5% were scammed once, while the same amount (5%) have been scammed more than once.

A further 15% – equivalent to 3 million people – were targeted by tricksters but didn't get swindled.

Angus Kidman, money expert at Finder, said it was concerning to see scammers targeting the second-hand market.

"There's a lot of people doing it tough who are selling unwanted items to make some spare cash.

"But instead of a cash injection, unsuspecting Aussies are falling victim to fraudsters.

"No matter what type of stuff you're selling – whether it be video consoles or caravans – criminals will try to take advantage of sellers."

Kidman said there are many red flags to look out for.

"Offenders will often urge sellers to accept payment through PayID and arrange a 'relative' to collect the item.

"Never divulge personal information and never click on a link sent to you in text or email associated with the sale as it could be a virus or worse."

Kidman urged online sellers to be extra vigilant online.

"If you're selling on a social media platform – click on the potential buyer's profile and see if they look legitimate and have any ratings as a buyer.

"Some swindlers try to convince sellers that they had transferred too much money as payment for the item being sold, and request they transfer the difference back. An overpayment is always a scam.

"Accepting cash only on collection in a public place is one way to ensure you don't get scammed," Kidman said.

Have you been scammed when trying to sell your belongings (e.g. on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay etc) in the last 12 months?
Yes, I'm been scammed more than once5%
Yes, I've been scammed once5%
No, but I was contacted by at least one scammer/bot15%
No, I haven't been scammed or contacted by a scammer/bot28%
I have not sold my belongings on these sites in the past 12 months46%
Source: Finder survey of 1,039 respondents, December 2023

Here are all the most prevalent scams and how you can avoid them.

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