The woman lives in South West Rocks and is studying at Newcastle University in Port Macquarie. She advertised her car for sale and received a text message from a potential buyer who said they were overseas.
The woman sent back an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the vehicle’s details and photos, in anticipation of a sale.
She received an email that appeared to be from PayPal confirming payment. The email contained PayPal’s ABN and contact details. In the meantime, she was asked to pay $950 for transport costs to be reimbursed. She paid the money via Western Union to Zhaojun Qi, 18 Suhao Building, Maaxin Road, Nanshan District in Shenzen in China.
Mr Ayres said Fair Trading had received reports in the past year of similar car sales scams from consumers in Henley and Hamilton.
“This latest victim is just one of many Australians being caught out by insidious scams that feature sophisticated methods,” he said.
“I urge people to be scam smart. Don’t trust communications that purport to be from payment agencies.
“Scammers can and will create false documents,” said Mr Ayres.
Classifieds scams can target both buyers and sellers who use classifieds websites.
Fair Trading has also received recent scam reports from people trying to buy cars, one from Bathurst and another from Cranebrook.
Mr Ayres said all demographics in society were susceptible.
“From the elderly to the young, seniors to students, many trusting, vulnerable, professional and smart people get caught out,” he said.
“Scams are a global threat to everyone and Fair Trading is working with Western Union, Australia Post and consumer protection and law enforcement authorities to combat scam fraud.
“Education is key, as is warning your families, friends, neighbours and colleagues not to get caught out. Help Fair Trading enhance consumer protection by telling others about scams.”