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Trade Me username scam - how to protect yourself
Usernames that are similar to your email address are easy targets for online scammers. Here’s how you can stay safe.By Trust and Safety 8 September 2023
Having a username similar to your email address can put you at risk of being targeted by online scammers.
How it works
A username scam usually looks something like this:
- A buyer is outbid on an auction they're keen on.
- The scammer guesses their email address with their username. For example, for a username 'kev123' – the scammer will send emails to 'email@example.com', 'firstname.lastname@example.org', etc.
- The scammer reaches out, posing as the seller, saying that the trade didn't go ahead, and offering the item at a lower price.
How to stay safe
If the first part of your email is the same as a username, all the scammer needs to do is guess the end of your email address to make contact.
You should consider changing your email address if it contains your username. Alternatively, you can request a new username.
Scammers often target Trade Me members with phishing attempts. You should know what to look for in these fake emails and know what fake websites can look like.
If you've responded to a phishing email, scammers will encourage you to take the trade outside Trade Me.
If you've started to go through with the transaction, stop and let us know right away.