Trust & Safety Blog

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Ever had a prank caller?

Or someone from ‘Microsoft’ calling to say you have a virus that needs immediate attention, even though you don’t have a PC but a Macbook?

Or maybe one from ‘Spark’ in a similar vein, asking for login details and possibly even your credit card information?

These are phone scams.

They’re designed to gain your trust by using a well-known business name to scare you into giving away your details, with threats of account closure or banishment into the great unknown should you not provide what they’re after.

Unfortunately, some of these industrious individuals are now targeting Trade Me users, calling members and claiming to be from Trade Me.

They’re asking you to ‘top up’ your membership using your credit card or Trade Me will terminate your account.

It looks like they’re getting information from the companies register and potentially getting contact numbers off Trade Me listings (which is generally a no-no and one of the many reasons we ask you not to post this detail).

If you receive a call from ‘Trade Me’ wanting you to top up your membership, or asking you to supply your credit card details for any reason, please end the call and contact us.

If you think you may have fallen foul of this scam and supplied any details to these callers, you should contact your bank immediately and then get in touch with us, or Netsafe to report the scam.

Here’s a plethora of information about staying safe online too. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing with recognising a scam, but if you can get ahead of the curve to know what to expect, you’ll have a happier and safer time when online.

Take care out there!

What to do if we ask you for ‘proof of product safety’ (or POPS for short)

When you buy something online, you want it to be safe.

We want the items sold on Trade Me to be safe too, so from time to time we ask members for proof that the items being sold are approved for use in New Zealand households.

Government agencies that enforce product safety standards also do their own follow ups, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re informed about what can and can’t be safely used. 

The kind of proof we’ll be asking you to provide will depend on what items you’re selling. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the situations where you might be asked for POPS.

For the shockingly safety conscious…

One of the main areas that crops up is electrical goods. Some of these items will need something called a ‘Supplier Declaration of Compliance’ (or SDoC), which is basically a document that says the item is safe to be sold. Specialty items will also often need additional certification.

If you’re a professional seller, you probably already know about these safety standards and will be able to supply an SDoC when required.

Anybody smell that?

On the topic of SDoCs, but with a bit of a segue, similar rules exist around gas appliances. Since 2010, sellers will also need to show a safety compliance label, which should be found on the item itself.

Again, these documents should be able to be given to you by a supplier or importer if you don’t have them on hand.

Food, glorious food!

Moving away from the dry stuff, and onto something a bit more palatable. Food!

A contaminated barrel of fish is hardly a barrel of laughs, and we care about protecting your insides.

If we ask you to show your food is bug free, we’ll want to know if it’s either made in a registered kitchen, or is covered by a Food Safety Programme.

If you do have some kai you want to share over Trade Me, it might pay to double check that your treats fit within the safety guidelines.

Extras for experts…

Generally, we’re allowed to pick and choose what we buy and what we sell on, but sometimes the Minister puts their foot down where they know something will cause injury. That’s when an unsafe goods notice is issued.

Anything subject to an unsafe goods notice can’t be sold on Trade Me. For example, chainsaws without a chain brake.

Now you’ll be glad to hear that not every request is going to ask for a fancy certificate. Some of the time we’ll just need you to take a clear photo of part of the item.

Don’t sweat it, we’ll make sure to be clear about what we’re asking you for in any POPS request.

For more information about product safety, check out this other great blog. There are also a bunch of other products with mandatory safety standards which can be found in further detail on the Commerce Commission website.

Thanks for reading and stay safe! 

Paying for trades with your credit card is cool

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We’re all about making life better for our members while doing our very best to keep them safe so for this post as part of our Connect Smart 2016 series we're focusing on safe trading with a credit card.

When you buy on Trade Me, you’re choosing to spend your hard-earned cash with us, and we want you to feel safe and secure about trading, and know we’ll protect your transactions.

Every day on Trade Me, people from all around the country send money to people they have never met, for goods they have not yet seen.

This could be quite an unsettling prospect, but rest assured there is a level of protection in place and we’re there to assist you in more ways than one.  

Absolutely the safest way you can pay for goods on Trade Me, is by using your credit or debit card via our ‘Pay Now’ service.

Pay Now is a secure payments platform built and maintained by us. We monitor payments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and proactively contact cardholders when transactions are considered high risk.

What’s a high risk transaction?

Just as your bank keeps watch over your cards’ security, we do the same using a sophisticated array of fraud scoring alerts, investigation tools and an experienced team.

High risk could mean you’ve purchased a high-value item as a newly established Trade Me member, so we may want to give you a quick call and make sure it’s a genuine purchase.

It could also be you’ve purchased a high-value item at an irregular time of day and via an overseas IP address.

Are you simply buying while on holiday or has your Trade Me membership been compromised?

It’s our job to find out.

If your credit card is lost after a night out and then used by an opportunistic individual at 4am to purchase a beer fridge, an Xbox and a mobility scooter for Gran on Trade Me, we’ll make sure trades are put on hold until we speak with you (if you’re suffering from a particularly vicious hangover, we’ll even try to whisper if that helps...).

As a general rule we try to keep this contact to a minimum. We don’t want to bother you every time you make a purchase. In most cases one call is all we’ll need to ensure your card is safely in your possession and the membership it’s being used on belongs to you or somebody that you trust.

To assist us with this process, please keep your contact details up to date.

It’s also really handy if you include your contact details in the delivery instructions.

If we’ve been unable to get hold of you by phone, we may drop you an email.

Purchase protection

Another benefit of buying via Pay Now with your credit or debit card, is the added level of purchase protection you get.

As the verified cardholder, you’re protected against the non-delivery of goods purchased using your card. If your item never shows up, we have a process to assist you.

You can also dispute the quality or condition if you feel it’s been misrepresented by the seller or if it’s been damaged in transit.

This dispute process is known as a ‘retrieval’ and if it’s successful, you’ll get your money back, otherwise known as a  ‘chargeback’.

Moral of the story?

Paying with your card is cool.

This post is part of Trade Me taking part in the Connect Smart 2016 week.  Connect Smart is a partnership that promotes ways for individuals, businesses and schools to protect themselves online.

Check out our posts on wiping your hard drive to protect personal informationworking out who the lemon traders are and keeping an eye out for job scams.

How to spot an online 'job scam' ad

We’ve all heard about jobs advertised online that seem too good to be true, so for this next instalment in our Connect Smart 2016 series on pointers about spotting dodgy job scams.

Finding your dream job can be a bit tricky. There’s a lot of choice out there, but there’s equally a lot of competition.

The internet is a great place to help find that perfect job, trust us, but it’s important to know when a job seems perfect, and when it is too good to be true.

Unfortunately there are some unsavoury individuals out there who will try to defraud you.

Knowledge is power and you should know what to look out for and how to spot scam listings, so you don’t fall victim.

What to look out for

Ever found a job and it sounds like it’s the one for you, and yet something isn’t just sitting quite right?

Always trust your gut.

First things first, check it out:

Always do your research

Does the company you’re applying for even exist?

Visit their website – do they have one?

If they do have a website, ask yourself: does this look like a professional site?

Does the job description fit with how they describe the company in the listing?

Do they have clear contact details? If any of the above don’t fit, consider that a red flag.

Use online search tools, like Google, to find out more about the company.

You can also search for the company name and then ‘scam’ to see if you can find any information about reported scams.

Searching for this will often bring up websites warning you about scams that have already been reported or are more common.

More often than not, scam listings promise a lot.

Avoid advertisements that guarantee you wealth or financial success, or say you’ll make hundreds of dollars an hour working from home.

Promises of getting rich or a high salary for part-time working hours should also raise concerns.

We’d also recommend being wary of jobs advertised on local area Facebook pages, as there are plenty of scams on Facebook to watch out for.

Our advice to you is never feel like you’re not susceptible to being scammed. This kind of thing is what scammers do for a living and unfortunately, they know how to make prospective jobs appear more tempting.

Don’t ever part with any money

When it comes to applying for a new job, never pay money for anything.

Legitimate companies will not ask you for money. No matter what reason they give you, hold onto your cash.

Don’t send in any of your personal details until you’ve done your research and never supply private documents, like passports, your driver’s licence or birth certificate online or via email.

To sum up, here are some quick points to keep in mind:

  • Do your research when it comes to online jobs.
  • Never hand over your personal documents online.
  • Never transfer or wire funds overseas to someone you’ve never met.
  • Be wary of people advertising jobs on online communities that you’ve never met.
  • If you list anything for sale online, only do it for goods that you are selling and have in your possession.
  • Remember: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

This post is part of Trade Me taking part in the Connect Smart 2016 week.  Connect Smart is a partnership that promotes ways for individuals, businesses and schools to protect themselves online.

CS_Week _Logo _RGBCheck out our posts on wiping your hard drive to protect personal information and working out who the lemon traders are.


How do you find out if you’ve got a lemon trader on your hands?

Lemon -trade

We’ve all been tempted by a deal that seems too good to be true, so for this next instalment in our Connect Smart 2016 series, we’ll be focussing on ‘lemon’ traders and how to avoid them.

How do you find out if you’ve got a lemon trader on your hands?

When trading with someone for the first time, you should take the time to give their membership a decent look over.

Chances are, if you’re dealing with a lemon trader, they won’t have a great trading history.

Check their feedback.

Look for signs that the trader will deliver the type of trade you are after. A high percentage of trades that ended in negative feedback might mean they have a bad selling history.

Don’t discount a new member though!

We’ve all got to start somewhere, just make sure that they tick the other boxes mentioned below before you proceed.

The lemon trader who’s not who they appear to be 

One of our rules is that only the registered membership holder can use their membership to access Trade Me.

If you encounter someone that’s not using their own membership or that has bogus membership details, you may be dealing with a lemon trader.

It’s always worth taking a closer look at the seller’s details to see if anything is amiss. The member profile page displays the seller’s first name, location and the age of their membership.

Questions to ask yourself:

What’s their first name? 

The name of the person you correspond with and pay (if paying into a bank account) normally matches the name of the bank account holder provided.

These details should not be of famous celebrities, and it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself buying a retro couch from one ‘Barack Obama’ of Wellington.

What’s their location? 

If the seller’s location doesn’t match the location of the item, you may be dealing with a third party who has access to the membership.

Sometimes this can tie in with the previous question.

For example, maybe you’re happy to buy Obama’s couch, but while his membership is registered to Wellington, he says the couch is located in a Dunedin flat. 

What’s the age of the membership? 

When a member makes claims of being a new trader or a well-established one, you can match it with their member profile. If the details don’t align you may be dealing with a third party or a person that’s operated another membership in the past.

Dirty, filthy, rotten lemons

Some types of behaviour are a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a lemon trader.

The rusher – some lemons will put the pressure on to rush you through a trade. They may have under-priced their item to hook you in, or they may say they are going overseas and need a quick sale.

The ‘contact details requester’ – some lemons may place or request contact details in the listing body or Q&A section. Their goal is to bypass the auction process to either avoid paying fees, or to limit Trade Me staff’s ability to help you out. 

Going off-site is an easy route to disaster as there is often no record of what actually happened (it’s also harder for Trade Me to take action on your behalf).

Insist on going through with the trade on site and refuse to budge. If the trader gives you grief, abort the mission – it’s not worth the risk.

Ok, so your hands are full of lemons, what do you do with them?

If you’re still keen to trade, ask specific, relevant questions about the item or service via the Q&A or ‘contact the seller’ section.

Ask for better or specific images of the item(s) to be added to the listing. The more informed you are the better decision you can make.

If the answers satisfy you, you may choose to proceed with the trade.

You don’t have to though!

If in doubt, don’t go ahead with the trade.

Check out our full guide to putting the squeeze on lemon traders.

If you’re confident you’ve identified a lemon trader, please let the us know via the Community Watch button at the bottom of each listing.

Please provide as much useful information as you can. 


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This post is part of Trade Me taking part in the Connect Smart 2016 week.  Connect Smart is a partnership that promotes ways for individuals, businesses and schools to protect themselves online.

Check out our post on wiping your hard drive to protect personal information.