Trust & Safety Blog

Consumers and motor vehicle dealers beware of Richard Wallace

Richard -wallace -fraudster

Update: We were very pleased to see fine work from the NZ Police has resulted in the arrest of Richard Wallace.

Warning for motor vehicle dealers about Richard Wallace AKA George Auckland

Our Trust & Safety team have received reports of an individual operating in the Auckland area who is claiming to be in the business of selling ex-Japanese imported vehicles.

His real name is Richard Wallace but he has many aliases including George Auckland.

He appears to be in the business of using legitimate motor vehicle traders and companies as fronts to conduct his activities.

We have received a number of reports from buyers who have paid this individual deposits for vehicles that have not been supplied.

The NZ Police are very interested in catching up with him.

Keep an eye out for anyone who approaches you or your business with a sales pitch along these lines:

  • Hey, I have access to Japanese imports – can you sell them for me?
  • I’ll give you a cut for any successful sales.
  • The vehicles are in transit to New Zealand, but I can give you all the photos and other information you need to advertise them for sale.
  • I’m happy to deal with the buyers for you.

Be cautious of any unexpected offers

If you’re approached in the above manner, take these steps to make sure everything is above board:

  • Ask questions and require proof – this individual will often use false names, or have others approach you on his behalf.
  • It’s your membership, so make sure you handle all communications with buyers yourself.
  • Never give this person access to your Trade me account.
  • Definitely make sure you are responsible for the flow of money.

Keep in mind

As professional dealers, you have obligations under the Motor Vehicle Sales Act and general consumer law.

You can’t afford to neglect doing your due diligence. You might think you’re just making a good deal, but if everything goes pots up, you will be left holding the can for any unresolved issues.

If you have any questions, or think you might have come into contact with this individual, please let us know right away and also the Police.

Stranger danger: beware of malware

If you’ve not heard of clickbait, they’re those tantalisingly-titled web articles like ‘learn how to make millions while eating pizza’ or ‘never before seen photos of Beyoncé’s baby bump’.

It’s a hook, and advertisers use these techniques hoping to draw you in to generate more page views. They’re trying to trigger that ‘I MUST KNOW MORE’ impulse, and it can be pretty effective.

The bad news is clickbait isn’t all harmless media. Scammers have adopted the same tactics in order to distribute a particular kind of computer virus called malware.

We go together like clickbait and malware…

Malware loves clickbait. It uses our impulses against us, hiding beneath the surface, just waiting to get onto your PC and wreak all sorts of havoc.

Here’s what happens:

You receive an email from someone or find a link to something that looks cool or important.

You’re unfamiliar with the sender, the content it references, and the site it wants you to go to. But it looks interesting or urgent so you ‘click here’ as directed.

Sometimes it looks like nothing happens, and you just get redirected to the previous web page. Behind the scenes, a dodgy piece of malware is making its new home on your PC.

Once it’s on there, malware can be tricky to dislodge, and it can get up to all sorts of mischief.

It can record your login information for any website you access, lock your computer, and even email people in your address book to try and hook them as well.

Cut the hard line!

You don’t necessarily need to take a bat to your modem, but there’s a bunch you can do to prevent malware gaining access to your data. Here’s a few simple tips and tricks:

On desktop make sure:

  • your browser is up to date
  • your operating system is up to date
  • you’re using up to-date antivirus and antimalware software
  • you practise safe browsing and be suspicious of unfamiliar senders or links.

When downloading app on your phone:

  • research the publisher of the app (e.g. whether they made other successful apps)
  • check out the reviews from other users
  • read the permissions when you download or update an app (e.g. it shouldn’t need to access your contacts list)
  • consider using a (genuine) antivirus/antimalware program.

Want to know more?

For more information, check out these help pages:

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 support team if you have any other questions.

Stay safe out there!

Edison to Bayonet adaptors cannot be sold on Trade Me

Lamp Blog Image Edited

Ladies and gentlemen, today I thought we could all take a moment to appreciate one of the most underrated household items: lamps.

I’m not out to convince anyone, but let me ask you – how great are lamps!?

Steve Carrell sure hit the nail on the head when he delivered that infamous one liner, and I couldn’t agree more.

I love lamp.

But here’s the thing about lamps: lamps, as it turns out, can be dangerous.

You’re kidding, lamps?

I know what a bummer, it was a bit of a wakeup call to me as well to find out that lamps aren’t as perfect as they seem.

Sure we’ve come a long way from the oil burning, genie dispensing kind. And if I’m honest, I never really thought it was worth the risk to rub hot metal with my bare hands (I’m sensible like that).

Nevertheless, certain lamp attachments are still a bit risky.

Let’s talk about conversion

Want to bring that art deco sconce into the 21st century? Well, the good news is you can buy something for that. It’s called a lamp holder adaptor. They serve a very useful purpose, but also fall under Energy Safety regulations.

Here’s the guff:

Old school bayonet to the more modern Edison (screw) light fitting adaptors can legally be sold. However, they will need to have a recognised approval and an SDoC (see more about these on our previous post on SDoCs).

The reverse, Edison to bayonet adaptors, cannot be legally sold because they do not comply with the relevant Energy Safety standard in New Zealand.

Yeah, I know, sorry lamp lovers. Bayonets are on the way out.

Think of all those ‘how many ____ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?’ jokes you couldn’t make if we went back to those dark days though. Tragic.

You’ve lost me, where does the Genie come in?

If you’re selling an adaptor that converts bayonet fittings to Edison (screw) fittings, and have the recognised approval and SDoC to back it up – you’re good to go.

If you don’t meet that criteria, best not to try and sell them on the site or in New Zealand for that matter.

Consumer Power!

Consumerman -purchase -woman

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Protection team has launched a new campaign that will empower consumers to buy and transact with confidence.

Trade Me totally supports and welcomes consumer heroes, Consumer Man and Purchase Woman!

Take it away Consumer Protection:

‘Together, our caped crusaders will help deliver our public information programmes - guiding consumers to help and information: whether identifying that they have a consumer protection issue, equipping them with the information they need to take action, and assisting them to resolve common issues.

New Zealanders are often unaware of their consumer rights and don’t have the confidence or knowledge to know how to deal with problems.

The first campaign will inform on what to do when you bought a faulty product or service and how to buy safe online.’

By knowing your consumer rights you can manage tricky situations like:

Check out this introductory video from featuring Purchase Woman and Consumer Man!

This campaign is not a one off shot in the dark but a sustained programme to ensure that all New Zealand’s consumers, including Trade Me users, are fully able and armed to exercise their consumer rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

You’ll see Consumer Man and Purchase Woman featuring in print and digital ads and on social media with general messages about consumer awareness, as well as more targeted advice in specific areas like buying a motor vehicle, understanding the Consumer Guarantees Act and identifying frauds and scams.

10 online safety tips on Safer Internet Day 2017

tips to stay safe online

Do you remember the days of internet dial up when the modem would screech as it connected to your ISP and you would be ‘going online’?

20-odd years later, we’re now always online. Our phones send information about where we are, to goodness knows who, and our video game consoles check in with the ‘mothership’ every day.

Being more connected than ever means everyday New Zealanders are exposed to websites, apps and technology that exist solely to take advantage of us. Sophisticated online attacks on your money, data or identity are, frustratingly, becoming the norm.

To help promote Safer Internet Day, we were stoked to contribute to Netsafe’s ‘Stay Safe Online’ Reference Guide which features a whole bunch of tips and tricks to keep you and your family safe online.

Here are 10 of the best:

  1. On social media sites like Facebook, restrict public access to your profile and be careful accepting friend requests from people you don’t know.
  2. Make your passwords long and include phrases and a mix of letters and numerals. Use a different password for your accounts.
  3. Don’t share your passwords; even with ‘trusted’ friends.
  4. When your operating system seeks permission to update itself, let it. Software companies are often doing fixes to close off any loop-holes.
  5. If you feel like you’re being bullied online, Netsafe provides a service to get help with stopping abuse and harassment.
  6. If you ever need to use a public computer, make sure you log out of your accounts. You wouldn’t leave your purse in your drive way –always log out of your internet banking!
  7. If you’re making online shopping purchases, never send money overseas by instant money transfer services like Western Union.
  8. Ask yourself, who are you buying from? Are they reputable with an established history? Do they have good feedback?
  9. Be wary what you choose to post online. Do you want your mum to read it? Consider how other people may use what you post. Have you shared private details of another person?
  10. Keep up with what your young ones are doing online. Sites like YouTube and Facebook have settings for young folks to help shield them from adult content. 
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