Richmond Local Area Command Investigations Manager Detective Sergeant Stephen Clark receives numerous reports of frauds being committed on internet auction sites and has warned buyers to be wary.

“As technology improves and develops, criminals are presented with opportunities to commit fraud,” he said.

“In relation to Internet auction sites, buyers have little opportunity to inspect goods and should be particularly cautious if certain indicators are present.”

These indicators include:

  • If the seller gives excuses for not allowing inspection, such as being overseas and the goods are locally-based. This is particularly relevant to motor vehicles.
  • If the seller has poor, or no feedback history.
  • If the seller wants an unusual method of payment, such as through a money-transmitter.
  • If the photographs of the goods appear to have been taken from the manufacturer’s internet site or do not appear to be actual goods.
  • Be cautious if given a ‘second chance offer’ directly from the seller by email.

Police across New South Wales and around Australia receive reports from members of the public who are allegedly conned.

“However, internet auction sites post information and advice to buyers and sellers on ways to reduce their risk of being a victim of fraud,” Detective Sergeant Clark said.

“Most importantly, our advice to anyone purchasing items through internet auction sites is if you are in any doubt, don’t buy it.

“Richmond Local Area Command receives numerous reports of such transactions that have resulted in buyers sending the money and not receiving the goods. Statistically these matters reported to Police don’t result in the funds being returned..

“Police continue to encourage the reporting of all crime. However, of all crime, it is important for members of the public to guard themselves against being victims and being out of pocket.”