The online trading environment has become safer and more secure over time but online classifieds users still need to stay alert for fraud and scams.

Gumtree, South Africa’s favourite online classifieds has started the #StaySafeOnline campaign in order to educate consumers about safer transacting online. “We take safety very seriously at Gumtree, and are constantly improving safety measures on our site,” says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Marketing for Gumtree South Africa.

Cobbledick says that online trading is much safer than you would think – but the only way to scamproof online transactions to keep informed about best practices. “Individuals that are new to the Internet or online banking can be vulnerable – which is why we encourage everyone to read our safety guidelines before transacting.”

Cobbledick shares ten tips for safe trading on Gumtree.

  1. Do not send an item before receiving the money: hold onto any goods until you have confirmed that the money has definitely been cleared by your bank.
  2. Don’t send money before seeing the item: make sure your purchase is real and in the promised condition.
  3. Check out the property: don’t pay deposits or rental advances on properties without verifying that the property is owned by the person offering it. Preferably inspect the property (or get someone you know to do it for you) and meet the landlord.
  4. Contact details matter: request cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses and check that they are valid and operational.
  5. Gumtree will never ask you for money: any communication that Gumtree is demanding either payment or payment in a particular form is probably a scam.
  6. Don’t be rushed: if the seller or buyer is pressurising you in any way then be suspicious. Take your time to make sure and rather let the deal go than rush into a potential scam.
  7. Never release your banking details: when using online banking ensure that you are using a secure connection with a padlock setting in your browser.
  8. Transact safer via B3S and Shepherd: Gumtree has partnered with B3S and Shepherd escrow services that facilitate transactions from payment, to inspection as well as collection and delivery.
  9. Stay informed: be sure to be in the loop with all the latest scams making the rounds by checking online news portals and your community newspaper.
  10. Always take a friend along when meeting an online contact in person: preferably meet at a busy shopping mall or police station.

Posters with safety tips will be distributed to Internet cafes, libraries and police stations as part of the campaign. Schools and businesses can also request these posters from

Gumtree SA encourages their users to take part in bringing awareness to online trading safety and share their top safety tips on social media, using #StaySafeOnline.

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