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🚨SCAM ALERT🚨 How to protect yourself from 'buy now' scams

Scammers are targeting everyday sellers like you. Find out what to look for, and how to stop them in their tracks.

By Trust and Safety 8 September 2023

Scammers are constantly coming up with new, sneaky ways to rob you of your hard-earned money, and their scams are becoming more complex and sophisticated by the day. Modern-day cyber crime can be really hard to spot, even by those of us who might consider ourselves total pros at spotting something dodgy.

Always remember that anyone can be a victim, and it's never the victim's fault.

When you think of a traditional online marketplace scam, most of us would think of items for sale that aren't what they say they are, or don't turn up at all. But how about buy-now scams?

What is a buy now scam?

Buy Now scams usually target sellers of general items.

Here's how it works 👇

  • An illegitimate buyer hits 'Buy Now' on the item you're selling.
  • You'll receive an email asking you to finalise the sale by confirming your details. There'll normally be a button for you to click to continue.
  • You're then taken to a fake website, asking for your credit card details, internet banking login, Trade Me login or other personal details.

What do these emails and websites look like?

They'll try to look and feel like a legitimate business or organisation. We commonly see scammers posing as Trade Me, NZ Post, banks, or government services.

These emails usually:

  • Look perfectly normal at first glance.
  • Say that you need to do something, like confirm your details or provide further information to finalise the transaction.
  • Have a sense of urgency and a threat of something bad happening if you don't do what's asked right away.
  • Use overly formal language, bad grammar, or spelling mistakes.
  • Use low-quality branding or images. The logo or images might also be in the wrong place, or there might be none at all.

How to avoid buy now scams

After you've made a sale, we'll email you the buyer's details so you can send their item or arrange for collection.

We'll never, ever ask for your:

  • Password.
  • Credit card details.
  • Internet banking login.

Ways you can stay safe:

  • Only accept payment via Ping – owned and operated by Trade Me. If a fraudulent transaction is made, you're protected as a seller and won't be left out of pocket.
  • Be wary of any emails posing as Trade Me asking for any further information, or to confirm the sale.
  • Check the sender's email address. Emails from Trade Me always end in or
  • Choose the option to 'Allow bids from authenticated members only' when creating your listing. This will stop unauthenticated memberships from buying your listing.
  • Set up multi-factor authentication to reduce the risk of unauthorised access to your account.
  • If anything feels off, get in touch with our Trust & Safety team or get a second opinion from someone you trust.

Our support teams may, on rare occasions, contact you to confirm:

  • Your bank account number (never your banking login details).
  • Your identity – if we need to confirm who's using your membership.

Emails from our support team will always come from

Received a suspicious email?

❌ Don't open any attachments or click on any links.
✅ Forward it to

Want to learn more?
Check out our Scams articles to help keep yourself safe online.
Learn more


Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety