Trading (buying & selling) Safely

Camera Trader is intended to connect buyers and sellers face-to-face, much like your local trading post. We are not involved nor do we oversee any transactions or sales.

Unfortunately, Camera Trader is not immune to scammers (or fraudulent users). As with any purchase or sale over the internet, please use common sense. The following are categories we cover below:

  • Is the buyer or seller legitimate?
  • Are you using a safe payment method?
  • Is the item being posted safely? 
  • See example scams

Camera Trader takes fraud seriously. All IP addresses for user registrations, listings and listing inquiry messages are recorded for security purposes. Users and listings are moderated frequently, and any user registration or listing outside Australia/New Zealand (determined by network IP address) will be removed.

If you find any illegal, suspicious or fraudulent behavior on Camera Trader, please contact us immediately.

If you are a victim of a scam, Camera Trader can assist you with filing a police report. For more information on reporting online scams, the Queensland Police has a very helpful website relevant to all states, and the ACCC has plenty of information at scamwatch.gov.au.

Advice for buyers

Is the seller legitimate?

Conduct all transactions with the understanding that in Australia, the legislation in its simplest form is defined by "Buyer Beware".

It is generally expected that you will need to pay for an item before receiving it – so avoid parting with your money until you are happy that the seller is legitimate. Where possible, trade face-to-face to be sure that the seller is who they say they are. If this is not possible, try to have a friend inspect the item for you, or at least talk to the seller on the phone to get a feel for their character.

Scammers may offer in-person pickups or inspections as a way to convince you that they are legitimate but may be inflexible with available times or locations in order to make having the item posted seem easier. It is also known that scammers may give a fake address or a public location as the meeting place, then not turn up or cease communication if you accept the in-person inspection. If they do give you an address, check its location on Google Street View.

Where a mobile number is available, it is always wise to call the number and speak with the person to confirm they exist and have knowledge about the item they are selling.

Scammers will usually use a free email address from hotmail.com, live.com.au, yahoo.com or gmail.com. If a seller is using a free email account, try to verify their legitimacy in other ways. You can often verify the approximate geographical location of the seller by examining the “long headers” in their email – for more info see whatismyipaddress.com.

If a seller is offering an item at a price significantly lower than usual, there is a good chance that it is probably too good to be true.

Are you using a safe payment method?

If you are unable to pay and pick up in person, consider using a safer payment method such as PayPal. This ensures proof of payment and does not disclose your bank details to the seller. If you use your credit card to transfer the funds to PayPal, you may also be protected by any anti-fraud features that your credit card provider offers. We do not recommend any other payment transfer services. Note: PayPal does not offer their Buyer Protection Policy for purchases outside of eBay, however, do have a Buyer Complaint Policy which may be of assistance if you do not receive your item (complaint mediation service).

Alternatively, Australia Post Cash On Delivery (COD) is another method of payment, where a Money Order is posted back to the seller after collection and payment at Australia Post.

Scammers will usually make an excuse as to why they do not want to use PayPal or Cash On Delivery, and some will try to convince you to use a third-party payment transfer service such as Western Union.

If you must pay by Direct Deposit, you can verify the location of the bank they are using by doing a BSB Number search at bsbnumbers.com.

If the item is of considerable value, then it may be worth considering using an escrow company to manage the transaction. An example would be: checkvault.com.au

Is the item going to be posted safely?

If you must have an item posted to you, ask the seller to package it well with plenty of bubble-wrap. Insist that the item is sent using Registered Post with insurance, or a freight company that offers proof-of-delivery and insurance for lost or damaged items. Note: if an item is lost or damaged in the post, the seller will need to lodge a claim and refund. Insurance is also available for items sent using Cash On Delivery.

Example scams that target buyers

Example 1 – overseas scammer:
Foreign scammers are generally easy to spot. They usually list a new item with a price significantly lower than usual, and their correspondence has poor spelling and grammar. Their reason for selling may be elaborate, such as selling items from their “deceased husbands warehouse”, and they will usually ask for payment to be made through a foreign money transfer service.

Example 2 – local scammer:
local scammers are harder to spot, as they can be quite cunning and often provide elaborate information in their emails to disguise their deception, such as listing minor flaws in the items they are selling or providing detailed reasons for why they are selling the item (e.g. personal injuries, illness, death in family or failed business). They may be quick to offer an inspection in person, and may willingly provide their mobile phone number. If you speak to them on the phone, they may appear very convincing. They will use a free email provider and will usually ask to be paid by Direct Deposit. They may cease correspondence or provide excuses if you ask for their home or work landline, or ask to pay by Australia Post Cash On Delivery or PayPal.

Advice for sellers

Is the buyer legitimate?

The same general advice for validating a seller applies – if you are unable to have a buyer pick up your item personally and chose to send the item in the post, try to speak to them on the phone and verify the delivery address on Google Street View.

At the bottom of the initial inquiry email, you receive from potential buyers will be their IP address. You can determine their geographical location by using online tools such as whatismyipaddress.com.

Are you accepting payment safely?

It is generally accepted that a person will need to pay for the item before it is sent. If someone asks you to send the item first, consider a payment/postage method such as Cash On Delivery(COD) where the buyer will need to pay for the item on collection at Australia Post, and you will then receive a Money Order in the mail. It is inadvisable to send your item without first receiving payment in all other circumstances.

We suggest you accept PayPal, as this allows a buyer to pay you without you needing to disclose your bank details. It also feels nervous doing so. PayPal also offers a mediation process which can reassure a buyer.

A buyer may feel nervous paying large sums of money to someone they have not met, so if you chose to post an item, it is your responsibility to reassure the buyer that they are dealing with a trustworthy person. You may need to disclose some personal information such as your place of work and your home phone number.

If the item is of considerable value, then it may be worth considering using an escrow company to manage the transaction. An example would be: checkvault.com.au

Are you posting your item safely?

If posting your item, it is very important to send by Registered Post (offers proof-of-delivery and insurance to cover lost or damaged items), or with a freight company that offers proof-of-delivery and insurance. This is to cover you if the item is lost or damaged in transit, or if the buyer claims that they never received the item. You are also able to insure items sent with Australia Post Cash On Delivery.

It is also important to pack your items very well to avoid any disputes regarding damaged items. If your items are not packed well and are damaged in the post, Australia Post is likely to refuse any insurance claim due to insufficient packaging. Check with your post office when sending the item.

Example scam that targets sellers
A “buyer” will contact you offering to purchase your item. They may inform you that they are overseas for work and that they are purchasing the item as a gift for someone, and will require a third-party agent (courier) to collect the item on their behalf. They may offer to pay you more than what the item is worth, as well as an additional amount that you will need to pay the courier when the item is picked up. They may offer to pay with PayPal, but will possibly try to convince you to use another escrow service. We suspect that the courier/agent they use does not offer any kind of tracking or proof-of-delivery, making it quite easy for the scammer to then request their money back from the escrow service after you have paid the courier to take your item.

If you find any illegal, suspicious or fraudulent behavior on Camera Trader, please contact us immediately.

This Safe Trading Guide has been produced by Camera Trader as general advice encouraging safe trading on the internet. It is by no means a failsafe guide. All content is © Camera Trader 2011, and cannot be used without the approval of Camera Trader.