Scam Tips

When it comes to advertising your items or services online, Junk Mail Marketplace should be your go-to online platform. With over a million monthly visitors and various effective ways to promote your adverts, you really are missing out on opportunities to connect with your ideal buyer, client or customer if you aren’t making use of our free adverts option.

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When it comes to selling online, you always have to put safety first. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some guidelines to help you protect yourself against unscrupulous buyers while also ensuring a safe and successful transaction.

Tips for placing a free advert on Junk Mail

  • Personal information in your advert should be kept to a minimum. This includes information like physical address and vehicle registration.
  • If you are using a phone number as a means for interested parties to reach you, consider using your mobile number. Home or work numbers are better suited to and safer for businesses that have premises.
  • Detailed images and descriptions will ensure a better response and eliminate random requests for “more info”. You should also avoid any landmarks or identifiers in your photos that will share your location if you’re a private seller selling something from your home.

First contact with a buyer

  • Respond to any prospective buyers through email and/or phone to answer any inquiries.
  • Do not complete transactions based solely on email or text communication, and keep a record of all communications.
  • As the seller, the conditions of the sale and who you want to sell to is up to you.
  • Personal information should be kept to a minimum. Don't reveal any personally identifying information such as your workplace or home address until you are ready for a transaction to proceed. Only share it if it is absolutely necessary.

Tips to safely sell online, Junk Mail Marketplace, Junk Mail, Safety tips, Sell online, Sell on Junk Mail, Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash.jpg Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash

Interacting with the Buyer

  • Try to limit transactions to local buyers. Do not accept ‘payments’ from potential buyers you can't meet in person, especially those that offer more than your asking price, or are not interested in any inspection of the item.
  • A popular scam is to offer more than your asking price plus a fee for shipment. The ‘buyer’ will send you a fake proof of payment and request that you reimburse the difference.
  • Another version of this is for the ‘buyer’ to send a fake proof of payment for an item and then send a ‘courier’ or friend to collect the item. By the time you realise the proof of payment is fake, your item is already gone.
  • Do not hand over anything unless you can see the payment reflected in your account or unless you receive cash on delivery.
  • Meet during daylight hours and in a public setting. If you are still unsure about safety, arrange to meet in front of or near a police station.
  • Bring a friend or family member, and always let someone know where you are, specifically if you are meeting the buyer at your house to pick up a large item. You might also want to share the buyer’s contact information and details with someone you trust.

Once your item is sold, delete your listing to prevent further enquiries and inform any prospective buyers you have been in communication with.

The Business Transaction

  • It’s advisable to transact in cash and to keep things as simple as possible. In the case of large transactions, as with automotive or property rental, avoid using random money transfer options except when it’s done through a registered bank. Cash is the most secure and convenient method of payment in online ads for both parties.
  • If it’s done through a known bank and you receive a proof of payment, check that the payment shows in your account before exchanging your services or items.
  • Personal cheques, money transfers from unknown banks, Western Union, or MoneyGram should not be accepted. Also request full payment upon collection.
  • For larger transactions, never accept proof of payment in any form as confirmation. Confirm from your side if the money has arrived in your account before releasing the item.
  • In the case of a vehicle, ensure you have a sales contract that can be completed and signed, and that all the vehicle’s paperwork is accounted for.
  • Keep all communication and the proof of payment for any transactions.


Remember, as the seller, it is up to you who you want to sell to, and what the conditions of that sale should be. Be smart. Be savvy. Be safe. If you observe or encounter something suspicious, please notify the Junk Mail Marketplace Moderation Team at moderation@junkmail.co.za.

Do you have items or services you want to advertise? Place free adverts on Junk Mail right now.

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