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How Aussie narrowly avoided losing $500: ‘Never thought I would be scammed’

New mum Paige Hinson was one click away from getting scammed.

Paige Hinson and son. Facebook app on phone. Facebook Marketplace scam.
Paige Hinson nearly lost $500 to a Facebook Marketplace scam. (Source: Supplied/Getty)

New mum Paige Hinson listed her furniture for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Within minutes, she was contacted by a scammer.

Hinson was hoping to sell some garden furniture after moving house with her husband and newborn son, and listed the set for $700 online.

“Within one or two minutes I had this person reach out and want to buy it instantly,” Hinson told Yahoo Finance.

“I had a newborn at that point so I was in and out of looking after the baby, while looking after this purchase. They were extremely pushy and I still didn’t really have my wits about me.”


Hinson said the buyer’s name was allegedly ‘Rosie’ and appeared to be a middle-aged woman based on her Facebook profile.

‘Rosie’ claimed she wouldn’t be able to transfer the $700 payment into Hinson’s personal PayPal account and asked her to set up a “business account”.

To set up her account, she said Hinson needed to transfer $500 into a holding account and this would then be refunded back to her. ‘Rosie’ then asked for Hinson’s email address and she soon received an email from ‘PayPal’ confirming the set-up process.

Hinson said she was about to click transfer but had a gut feeling something wasn’t right and told her husband about it. She then called her bank, who confirmed it was a scam.

“I never thought as a seller that I would be scammed … Looking back in hindsight, everything was urgent and quick and pushy and they didn’t give me time to sit back and think about what was happening,” she said.

Aussies lose $754 from scams

New research from Sell Securely - a platform designed to help Aussies avoid scams when buying and selling online - found scams were being severely underreported.

According to its research, about 6.7 million Aussies have been scammed and haven’t reported it, with the average person losing $754.

Around a quarter of Aussies surveyed said they didn’t report being scammed because they thought “nothing could be done about it”, while many said they were more likely to report scams to online marketplaces (19 per cent) rather than the police or legal authorities (15 per cent).

Sell Securely founder and director Rob Neely said there were red flags buyers and sellers should watch out for when dealing on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and other platforms.

“If it’s too good to be true or they are pressuring you, that’s a red flag straight away,” Neely told Yahoo Finance.

“Don’t rush. It’s better to wait until tomorrow and have another look or talk to a friend.”

Other warning signs included the buyer or seller asking to take the conversation off the platform, he said, or asking for a deposit and putting a time pressure on you.

Neely recommended people took their time and did their own “due diligence”, including looking at the person’s Facebook profile and friends list and making sure they looked legitimate.

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