iPods, Playstations, XBoxes, plasma screens and mobile phones going cheap for 'too good to be true prices' are being advertised in local newspapers.

The ads refer to Internet Only Specials and include the web address.

These websites specify that payment can only be made via direct deposit, wire transfer, money order and all cheques.

Contact and trader details are provided, as well as a 30 day money back guarantee stamp, to persuade the consumer that the websites can be trusted.

However, the details do not appear to be genuine and many consumers have been caught out – once they have sent their money they soon realise that there is no bargain iPod on its way.

Protect yourself from these scams

  • Avoid deals that ask you to pay via money order or wire transfer – once sent your money belongs to the scammer and is almost impossible to recover no matter how many receipts you have.
  • Before shopping online, check the trader details via independent sources such as phone directories and internet searches.
  • If the trader address is in a building complex, call the building administration office to check if the business is really there.
  • If you see such an ad report it via the SCAMwatch site.

Find out more about online auction & shopping scams.

Also, check out the ACCC’s online shopping checklist on the ACCC web site for further tips and advice.

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Classified scams trick online shoppers on classified websites into thinking they are dealing with a legitimate contact but it is actually a scammer.