Whether you're buying or selling on Birdtrader, please always remain aware and avoid any deal / offer that looks suspicious. At Birdtrader, we strive to prevent scammers from operating on the site,; however we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or legitimacy of any Ad, or the validity of any buyer.
Birdtrader does not tolerate scammers and will instantly revoke access from the Birdtrader site. Birdtrader also has a number of automated tools that identify and remove scammers and stops re-registration. If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer, please email
Classified Ads Scams
There are several different scams to watch out for but all are basically to do with overpayment for your goods. In a classified advertisement scam, a scammer responds to an advertisement for anything: a bird, a bird cage, bird accessories ... anything that is being advertised at a reasonably high price.
Scam 1 - "Overseas Buyers..."
The scammer will express an interest in buying the item that is for sale. However, the scammer tells the vendor that he lives abroad, and that he would like to send the vendor a cheque to cover the cost of the item, plus an additional amount to cover the cost of shipping the item overseas.
If the vendor agrees to this, the scammer sends them a cheque or a banker's draft for the total amount. The vendor pays the cheque or draft into their bank account, and the bank clears it immediately, making the funds available in the vendor's bank account.
The scammer then asks the vendor to get in touch with the shipping agent immediately in order to arrange the shipment overseas. The vendor does so, and the shipping agent (another scammer) asks for their fee up front. They usually ask for the fee to be sent via Western Union to enable them to collect it immediately. As the scammer's cheque or bank draft has been cleared by the bank as soon as it was paid in, the vendor agrees to this, and sends the shipping agent their money.
The vendor is usually then contacted by the scammer, who asks the vendor to send the rest of the money back as he no longer wants to purchase the item. There is usually a hard-luck story attached: one common story is that the scammer's son or daughter has been involved in an accident or is seriously ill, and the scammer needs the money to pay for their hospital treatment. If the vendor agrees, they transfer the rest of the money back to the scammer, again probably via Western Union.
At this point, the vendor is unaware that they have been scammed. They remain unaware of this until the scammer's cheque or bank draft completes the bank clearing process - which can take days or even weeks - and the bank finally finds out that it is a forgery.
Scam 2 - "I've sent you too much money..."
Another one works when the person who has agreed to buy your goods says a mistake has been made and instead of (for example) £100 the cheque has been made out for £1,000 and would you cash the cheque and send back the difference.
The cheque will clear into your bank, only to be stopped/refused weeks later. At this point, the Banks/Building Societies will take the full cheque amount back out of your account. Not only will you have lost the goods, you will be out of pocket for the amount of their original cheque (£1,000) and the amount you passed on as the difference (£900).
Scam 3 - "Someone owes me money..."
This one works when you are contacted by someone offering to pay for your item in full. They will say that they are living in a different country but that someone in England owes them money. They will offer to send you a cheque for far more money than the actual price and then ask you to send the difference with the goods.
Again, the cheque will clear into your bank, only to be stopped/refused weeks later. At this point, the Banks/Building Societies will take the full cheque amount back out of your account leaving you out of pocket amount of their original cheque, the amount you passed on as the difference and any goods you have shipped.
In all of these cases (and there are many more), at this point, the vendor is unaware that they have been scammed. They remain unaware of this until the scammer's cheque or bank draft completes the bank clearing process - which can take days or even weeks - and the bank finally finds out that it is a forgery.
You should, therefore, be extremely suspicious if:
- Someone responds to a classified advertisement you have placed and wants you to ship the item abroad, without even having seen the item. Birdtrader is a UK based Classified Advertising service bringing buyers and sellers in the UK together. We therefore recommend caution when dealing with anyone based outside the UK.
- They offer to pay you the amount of the item, plus the shipping costs, and ask you to arrange the shipping and pay the shipping agent yourself.
- DO NOT be reassured if you receive a cheque or a banker's draft and your bank clears it as soon as you pay it into your account; it may still be a forgery, and if so, you will lose out.
- Someone sends you a cheque or bankers draft for your goods, then asks you to return the money to them for whatever reason, via an instant cash transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Cash transfers made using these services are instant, meaning that the scammer can get his hands on your money well before you find out that the cheque you received is forged.
What to do
Unfortunately, Birdtrader cannot intercede on your behalf as the transaction is between the buyer (scammer) and the seller (you). However, if this does happen to you, contact your local police and Trading Standards Officer who may be able to assist.
Finally, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is!