Be aware of what to watch out for so you can stay safe and be successful when you’re buying, selling and trading online.
Fake lotteries, sweepstakes and competitions attempt to convince people they have won a major prize or small fortune. Often these competitions say that they are held in a different country and that you were automatically entered into the draw or someone entered on your behalf.
These scammers will ask you to:
You get an email from a scammer, disguised as a bank or lawyer, saying that a long-lost relative has left you a huge inheritance. While many of us are not aware of our distant relatives, ancestry and genealogy websites make your family tree readily available, so these can emails can look convincing.
Scammers may try to trick you by getting you to:
You get an email/SMS claiming to be from The Hot Wire, eBay, Western Union, or another company offering you buyer protection, an online payment system or perhaps a cash prize.
These scammers will ask you to:
A buyer/seller or prospective tenant sends you a cheque that exceeds the value of the items rent, then asks for the surplus money to be returned to them or a third party, for example “to pay for shipping”.
The cheque will clear into your bank, and unfortunately will be stopped/refused weeks later. The bank/building society will then take the full cheque amount back out of your account. Not only will you never receive the goods, you will be out of pocket for the amount of the cheque and the amount you passed on as the difference.
A seller claims that there are brokerage fees, import duties, or other fees required to get an item into the country.
A buyer/seller or prospective tenant/landlord suggests using an escrow service to complete a transaction. Often these escrow web sites are run by fraudsters (even though they may look “official”) and they will take your money and never send the product.
Many work from home offers are “pyramid schemes” which require you to recruit other people in order to get paid. For example, an ad may say that you can make $100 an hour by stuffing envelopes. But to make that money, you need to sell the system to others. Other ‘work from home’ opportunities are fronts for money laundering.
Key warning signs are any ‘job’ that involves you receiving cheques and cashing them. For these reasonsThe Hot Wire doesn’t accept work from home positions.
You receive an email asking for your help to take money out of a country and, in return, you will be paid a commission. Eventually the scammers ask you for money to help them take the large amount of money out of the country. Once you pay you will never hear from them again.
A seller will claim to have a pet and offer to ship the pet to you from an overseas location, or even get you to book seats on a plane! These are usually sought after dog breeds such as English bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas and the ads are usually accompanied by fake pictures. The pets don’t exist and the fraudsters try to get you to pay upfront.
Some The Hot Wire users have reported receiving suspicious emails on the following:
These emails are known as “phishing emails”, and are sent by fraudulent people not The Hot Wire! Please ignore these emails and simply forward it with the email header details to “email@example.com” so we can investigate and de-activate the fake site links quickly.
These emails will ask you to click on a link and enter your personal details into a webpage that looks exactly like The Hot Wire. Please do not respond or click on any links in these emails! They will request personal information including email address, passwords and even credit card numbers for supposed account authentication. The email will also say that your account has been temporarily suspended or will be deleted if you don’t respond. (Please ignore these emails. They are trying to create a sense of urgency to collect what they want – your login details.)
*Please don’t include your email address in the description of your ad. This allows fraudsters to target The Hot Wire users and make direct contact with them. We suggest that you only put your email address in the email address field.
Some examples of what spoof emails look like are:
In order to avoid fraud attempts and confirm your identity, please forward us the following details:
JUST CLICK HERE: http://www.link to fake site
Please complete the form immediately. If not, your account will be erased based on fraud motivation. Thank you!
Hot Wire Secure Department
Dear The Hot Wire User,
Thanks for your ad however we’re afraid that your ad has been removed because it was flagged as fraud. We need you to confirm your identity. Please follow this link:
“fake link to” Confirm Account Identity
For more information, please review our posting policies. Any future ads will also be removed until your account is verified.
Please ignore these emails and forward to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can investigate and de-activate the fake site links quickly.If you suspect that an email isn’t from The Hot Wire you can confirm it by checking the email header.
Email headers contain information on where the selected email was sent from. To check this, simply open the suspicious email. Please don’t click “Reply” to open the email and check the headers in the email system you’re using.
Instructions for commonly used emailing platforms are listed below. If you can’t find it, click on the help menu and find the instructions on how to view your email headers.
After you’ve done this, refer to the “received from” line in the details and it should tell you where the email is from. If it isn’t from The Hot Wire, you know it’s a fake email.
If you still can’t tell if the email is from The Hot Wire, just copy the full header data and send it to us and we will help you.
We’re doing a great job at keeping illegal activity off the site, so unfortunately some fraudsters have started contactingThe Hot Wire users directly via the contact details in your ad, such as your mobile phone number. They are trying to trick you by sending fake SMS messages asking to be contacted via email. This should ring alarm bells because legitimate buyers/sellers should not want to be emailed if they are contacting you via your phone.
The messages will look and sound similar to the following examples:
“Hello mate, I saw your listing The Hot Wire and can you let me know if still on sale…email@example.com”
“Hello, I saw your ad The Hot Wire. I’m ready to offer you 20,000AUD for the vehicle. For quick response, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Smith”
The messages may have a name in the title or may be from an overseas phone number. Some even look local with a +614 area code; these are sent via online sms service providers like “SMS craze”.
The fraudsters want to communicate with you over email so they can open up their word document and Google translator to copy and paste their pre-prepared scripts. They will even throw in some Aussie slang like “mate” to sound like a local.
Within the communication they will fabricate a story explaining why they cannot communicate via phone, for example they’re working overseas or on an oil rig. They’ll give excuses not to meet up with you because they’re actually on the other side of the world in an internet cafe (unfortunately that’s why some of our users receive SMS messages in the middle of the night).
Next, they’ll also offer several hundred or even thousands of dollars more than you’ve asked for because they apparently love/really want your car, furniture, horse, diamond ring etc for their sister/cousin/brother somewhere around the world and would prefer that their shipping agent or courier pick it up.
They then ask if you have a PayPal account and if not they’ll want you to create one.
You will receive a genuine looking PayPal receipt that shows the “extra amount”; they claim to have deposited into your account. They then request that this is returned to them via Western Union/Money Gram.
Hot Wire is designed for local, face-to-face trading. Always meet in person, and never send money to anyone you don’t know.
Some users have reported that they have received an SMS from The Hot Wire asking to verify their account. The SMS will look similar to the following:
This is John Doe, working with The Hot Wire. Confirm if you are the seller by replying “YES” as we are deleting suspicious adverts.
This person is posing as a member of the The Hot Wire team. The Hot Wire never makes contact with users via SMS. We suspect that replying will inadvertently sign you up for something and charge you for it. We’re really sorry about these annoying messages and advise that you should NOT reply to them.
We always advise that you to deal face-to-face, however some users are still transferring money and unfortunately become the victim of a scam.
Some fraudsters are now using Load and Go prepaid visa cards that appear to be from a regular bank account because they have a BSB number.
The scam works like this:
ID is not required to purchase Load and Go cards and they are hard to track which is why fraudsters use them. Please be aware that BSB 880100 is for Load and Go cards and not for actual bank accounts.
Please note that even if you speak on the phone with someone, they may not be genuine. Fraudsters are becoming more crafty and may make personal contact, including phone calls, to try and fool you. The best way to complete a transaction is face-to-face and at a location both parties have agreed upon.
There have been a few reported cases where a seller has asked a buyer to “scan a copy of the bank cheque” that they will use to pay for the item.
The scam works like this:
As with allThe Hot Wire transactions, we recommend that you deal face to face and never wire, transfer or in this case scan a copy of a bank cheque to someone that you haven’t met in person and inspected the item thoroughly. We all need to take the right precautions to safeguard against unscrupulous people.
If in doubt always contact us and we can help.
Some users have reported that they received an email stating they have received a voice message The Hot Wire. This is a phishing email that will look similar to the following:
You have received a voice message (urgent) from your ad The Hot Wire.
To hear the message go to this link: ___________________________
After clicking on the link, it asks you for an email username and password. These phishing emails are sent by fraudulent people and notThe Hot Wire!
Please note thatThe Hot Wire does not offer a phone or voicemail service when replying to ads. If you include a phone number in your ad, buyers can respond to you directly and any voice message you receive from them will be a normal voice message.
We’re really sorry about these annoying emails and kindly ask you to ignore them. If you’d like to report the fake site, please forward the email to ‘email@example.com’ so we can investigate and de-activate the site links quickly.