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When you want to see the item on offer, the seller claims not to have enough money to drive to you, and asks for R100 or R200 to cover petrol costs.
Inevitably, once the money has been transferred the seller disappears into thin air.
Felix Erken, MD of local classifieds exchange Junk Mail, says the perception that online classified sites are rife with fraudulent posts or online scams is untrue.
"Less than 1% of the adverts on our site are considered 'fraudulent' – and we eliminate most of them before they are ever published," he says.
We also keep a record of these adverts and scams on our blog, which the public can consult if they are unsure of the legitimacy of an advert.” Still, the potential for danger is there to anyone buying or selling, regardless of the platform, "whether you are online dating, advertising an open house via estate agents or pinning an advertisement to the actual window of your car".
This is a common occurrence as the fraudster then disappears with the deposits, leaving many victims behind.Trust your instincts - if something doesn’t feel right, move on to the next buyer/seller.• Leave your valuables at home when meeting with a prospective buyer/seller.• Cash or electronic transfers should be your preferred method of trade.Or the Fin24 user who was diddled out of his hard-earned pennies in a sophisticated pet travel scam, which involved sending money via Western Union to Cameroon for a "refundable" deposit.The hard truth is that anyone who is active online is also vulnerable to the dangers that accompany interacting on the internet.