NOTE: This information is provided purely as assistance and Ozhonda is in no way responsible for your dealings with other users,individuals or organisations. You buy/sell goods and services on Ozhonda at your own risk.

Things you can do to prevent you getting ripped off

1. Get as many contact details as possible such as email addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, full names, receipts, receipt numbers, alternate email addresses, phone numbers and addresses of other people working in the company or their superiors. If you are buying from a business, make sure you get their ABN/ACN which you can lookup on the Australian Business Register in order to verify.

2. Use an off forum Email for transaction communication (say you are having trouble with the forum). This gives you an IP address that can be tracked with geobytes This will show you that they are indeed where they say they are. There is even a map!

3. Obtain their full name (to fill out the POSTAL!! money order) e.g. Orenthal J. Simpson. This helps you get phone numbers and home addresses on Whitepages for example. You can also verify their details by getting a photocopy of their drivers licence.

4. Have a look at their trade rating and see how others have dealt with him/her. Even go as far as PMing the users he/she has dealt with to find out more if you want. More information on how to use trade rating here.

5. Do you frequent more than one forum? More than likely so does your new friend. Read their profile there is a lot of info you can use to find them on a different forum even if they use different names on all of them. Examples; Their car and it's modifications, any car clubs they are in, any shops they vouch for in signatures, even the people that vouch for them in their signature / trade ratings that person for more info.

6. Find out what they do for a living (their workplace will most likely be listed in a yellowpages somewhere). You can use this to chase up money/goods/services if required.

7. Try using COD (Cash on Delivery) when selling/purchasing an item. There is a small fee involved however might save you more money in the long run if the buyer doesn't pay up. More information regarding COD can be found on the Australia Post website.

8. Here is a link to the ACCC website which has some tips for online shopping. Note that all fraudulent activity should be reported to your local police. The Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) has some information on their website about the various types of online fraud and how to report it.

(Parts of the above are taken from this post on with permission)

Post any comments you might have in this thread.

Update: Aded Item 8