Online sellers & buyers

Found tickets to a sold-out show or something online for a bargain? There's a chance the offer might be too good to be true. Here's where to learn how to tell the difference between legitimate online sellers and buyers and the fake, counterfeit or scammer kind.

What are online seller & buyer scams?

Scammers may use online buy and sell platforms, like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram selling accounts, Trade Me and third party websites like Viagogo to deceive buyers and sellers.

Sellers may list items that they either don't have, have no intention of selling or are counterfeit. They'll send payment instructions, but never send the item. This is especially important to be aware of when you're buying tickets online, that aren't purchased from a verified site.

If you've listed something yourself, a buyer may provide you with a screenshot of payment, but it's actually fake and they haven't actually made the transaction.

The Citizens Advice Bureau outline your consumer rights when buying and selling goods on Facebook Marketplace and other buy and sell platforms.

There are legitimate sellers and buyers using Facebook, Facebook Marketplace, Trade me and other platforms, but it's always good to check and research the person you're interacting with to determine if they seem legitimate.

Tips for online buyers

  • Check the listing details. Does the description sound accurate and are there photos of the actual item? If something on the listing is not clear, it's a good idea to ask. If they don't provide what you're after, then reconsider if you want to transact with this person. Some sellers add a piece of paper with their name and date next to the item they're selling. You can ask for this and request photos of the actual item.
  • Ask questions of the seller and check the sellers profile details. If buying from an individual whose profile appears new or incomplete, this could be a sign that the account may have been set up to scam people.
  • Check their reviews to see if other people have had problems.
  • If it's a private sale, is it possible to see the item before handing over any money?
  • Look out for blue or grey ‘ticks’ on the page which are given to pages or profiles verified by Facebook.
  • Ask for tracked shipping.
  • Never disclose your internet banking login details.
  • If the item is local, ask to pick it up and let them know you'll pay on pick up.
  • When buying event tickets, purchase through the official ticket seller where possible.
  • When searching for the official ticket seller website, be cautious of paid ads for different websites.

Tips for online sellers

  • Don’t rely on screenshots or videos purporting that the payment has been made. Log in to internet banking to make sure the money is in your account before sending or making the goods available for pick up.
  • Use regulated or official websites, as they generally have measures in place to protect you.
  • Use trusted payment methods.
  • Never disclose your online banking password, PIN or two factor authentication codes.
  • Never click on links from buyers to confirm the purchase or postage as the link could be a phishing scam. For example, we're aware of customers who thought they were finalising postage details for a buyer through NZ Post, however they were actually entering their bank login details into a fake website, allowing scammers to steal their details.

Helpful resources

What to do if you've been scammed

Anyone can fall for an online scam. If you suspect that you've been scammed, get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 113 355 (or +64 4 473 1133 from overseas) if you think you've been scammed.

Report suspicious activity

If you think you’ve been sent an email that doesn’t look like it’s from us, forward it to