Buying Safety Tips

A guide for safe online buying

We do all we can here at to make sure that anyone buying or selling on our site are looked after. We've got all the techie measures in place to ensure that it's the safest and easiest classified site to use. However while we're doing all this there are still some basic rules you should follow when buying or selling on any website. is a classified ad site designed to bring local communities, buyers and sellers together, therefore any ads which are from overseas or involve requests to ship overseas or pay money overseas should be treated with caution. Here at Freeads Classifieds we do all we can to prevent fraud and deal swiftly with any issues brought to our attention. So, without wanting to sound like your Mother... you know we're only saying this for your own good, so take a quick look through the points below. And, just remember if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Caveat emptor - Let the buyer beware! Once you have bought an item from a private seller, you have no legal comeback if it turns out to be faulty. Therefore, check the goods thoroughly before handing over the money. Classifieds cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or legitimacy of any ads on the site.


  • Always try to meet the seller face-to-face, in our experience most fraudsters won't want you to see their face.
  • For most transactions it is often easier and more convenient to pay in cash. However, in order to be on the safe side don't take more cash than you need for the purchase.
  • Never send cash or cheques through the post, or place money directly into a seller's bank account, in advance or expectation of receiving goods. For more valuable items you could ask for a personal cheque to be cleared before you part with your goods and offer a receipt as proof of purchase.
  • Always try to get more than one form of contacting the buyer.
Another alternative is to use an Escrow service (a list of such companies can be found using the main search engines). This is where a third party holds the funds for a purchase; seller ships to the buyer after the escrow provider has the confirmed funds.
  • When the buyer gets and approves of the item, the escrow provider releases the funds
  • If the item is never delivered, the buyer gets their money back
  • If the buyer is not satisfied with the item, they may return it to the seller
  • The seller gets the item back, the escrow provider returns the money to the buyer


We don't want to be alarmist but there are a handful of ways that a few unscrupulous people have tried in the past to scam people looking to buy or sell property on the internet. Saying that though, there are also lots of poeple who have done it very successfully - just be aware of some of the most frequent scams.

The most frequent scams at present involve fraudulent cashiers cheques which the seller will cash believing to be genuine. The key here is that the cheque WILL clear, the bank credits your account and it is not until several weeks later that the bank finds the cheque was fraudulent and will then take the money back from your account. You get NO redress from the banks at present.

Variations on this include;

  • Buyer living abroad but is owed money
    The buyer who is said to live abroad, will tell the seller that someone in England owes them money and they will make payment by cheque and will arrange for their shipping agent to collect the goods. However the cheque is for an amount in excess of the amount being requested and the seller will be asked to pay the difference back in cash.
  • Example:
    A car is sold for £2000 and the buyer agrees to buy it without seeing it (that should ring warning bells immediately) saying they will send their shipping agent but they will provide a cheque for more than this, ie £5000. The seller will then be asked to pay the £3000 difference back in cash. The cheque is then found to be fraudulent AFTER you have paid the buyer his £3000. Often the cheque will arrive through the post so you never even see the 'buyer' and once they have their money they won't even bother with collecting the car.
  • Not wanted any more
    The buyer will show interest in your item but again is said to live abroad and will offer to send a cheque to cover the value of the item plus an additional amount for the shipping costs. There is then 'problem' (usually a family tragedy which means he needs the money) and he can't complete the purchase and requests a refund. You check your account and find the cheque has cleared and are persuaded to return the funds, usually via Western Union or via a shipping 'agent'. The cheque is then found to be fraudulent and you are out of pocket.
  • I've sent you too much money
    As before but with a different twist. This time the buyer pays you money into your account but makes a 'mistake' and has paid you too much money. The cheque clears and you believe you are in possession of the funds so you pay them back the difference. As always this will generally be requested in cash or via Western Union payment etc. You subsequently get informed the cheque was fraudulent and are then out of pocket.