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Fraudsters target Trade Me sellers in freight forwarding scam

Trade Me is dealing with a 'freight forwarding' scam on its site.

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Trade Me is dealing with a ‘freight forwarding’ scam on its site.

An increase in “freight forwarding” scams has meant that some Trade Me sellers have had their auctions canceled by the site.

Trade Me seller Andy Beck said he has been left “pretty puzzled” after two items were purchased from him in the last five days, only for him then to receive a Trade Me notification that the buyer was a scammer and the purchase had been cancelled.

“I was concerned as an automatically generated email goes out to the buyer containing my bank account number. Having contacted my bank to assure myself that this poses no risk to me, I’m pretty puzzled.”

James Ryan, trust and safety spokesperson at Trade Me, said 99.99% of his trades “go off without a hitch”, but the site had been dealing with scammers.

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“There are some devious people online who will try to steal or scam people out of their money,” he said.

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A freight forwarding scam is when scammers purchase an item and concoct an elaborate story about being overseas or in a location that made it difficult for them to collect the item, he said.

They would then ask the seller to provide them with money in order to help with the shipping.

“We see this scam attempted from time to time, and it’s very hard for us to stop or wipe out, so we educate our members instead.”

Trade Me could not say how many auctions had been affected.

Trade Me could take action if it had concerns about any member’s activity, which could include banning the person from the site and warning anyone who had been in contact with them.

Trade Me’s advice to sellers is to allow only authenticated members to buy your listings, use the instant payment option Ping, so you receive the funds before you meet or send the item, to pick up items in a public place, never share your contact details in the listing description and complete your sale through Trade Me.

“If you get contacted by one of these scammers, or are suspicious that you might be dealing with one, contact our team and we’ll take a look,” he said.

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