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Buy & sell safely online with classified ads. We offer advice and tips for staying safe when shopping online using peer-to-peer selling sites, the best payment options and making sure you receive the advertised item.

If you're interested in this item you can contact the advertiser directly via the contact details they have provided within the advert. Or alternatively you can send a message directly to the advertiser's email address by clicking on the "Contact this advertiser" button on the advert page. We always recommend you read the this article before contacting any advertiser and remain vigilant at all times when exchanging money or goods with someone you don't know. You can report a problem to us here. All information and any images within this advert are provided by the advertiser and Free Ads UK ( cannot take responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of the information provided.


We offer advice and tips to stay safe when buying or selling through classified adverts. Buyers need to be sure that they are buying the item which is advertised and sellers must be sure that the person they are selling to will be paying with real money. Here are some helpful tips to staying safe and shopping safely online:


Top Tips

  1. Always meet the buyer/seller in person; don't send payment for an item you've never seen.
  2. Avoid sending emails or calling telephone numbers which are hidden within photographs or text.
  3. Avoid carrying large sums of cash with you when meeting a seller.
  4. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
  5. Use the "contact this advertiser" button in the ad for our safest communication with the seller.
  6. Beware of fake payment sites and invoices.
  7. Tell others when and where you are going to meet a buyer/seller and take a friend with you.
  8. Don't post items to buyers, always trade in person, face to face.
  9. Avoid using untracable payment services like UKash and Western Union.


Buying and selling safely

Buying and selling online safely can seem like it's all a bit hit-and-miss, but you can go some way to safeguard yourself from scammers and illegitimate buyers and sellers by making a few simple checks. More often than not if something seems too good to be true then they are and this is when you as the buyer or seller must learn to say no and walk away from any sale or negotiation.

  • See it - See the item and see it working. If you have done your homework you will know what things to check to make sure the item has not had intermittent repairs done to make an item appear working until you get it home. If you are the seller then ensure you have payment before parting with the goods. Do not send items to anyone before receiving payment.
  • Test it - Can you drive the car? Can you test the item? Get a feel for it before parting with your money.
  • Keep in touch - As the buyer or the seller, there's nothing more reassuring after making a big purchase than a healthy continued and honest communication with the seller.


Contact information

Displaying your contact information publicly on a classified ad is extremely helpful to anyone who wants to buy something from you. A telephone number or email address makes it easy to contact you but you should also be aware of scammers and marketers who may use your contact details to contact you for reasons other than purchasing your item(s). Politely ask them to leave you alone or if it seems like a scam, report it.


Finding a job safely

Finding a job through classified ads can be an excellent way to see jobs advertised which may not be available elsewhere and contacting or applying for the job is simple. However, be aware that no job advertisement should require you to pay any money - Any good employer or employment agency will never ask you for money up front, if they have true confidence in their ability to get you a job then they will be prepared to pay any fees on your behalf. If you think it's a scam then ignore it and report it.


Telephone numbers

Below we detail the telephone number layout in the UK and what to look for to avoid accidentally dialling a premium rate telephone number 

Watch out for buyers and sellers trying to encourage you to call an unusual or premium rate telephone number. Premium or higher rate telephone numbers can be identified by the numbers starting with "09", "070", "084"*.

Normal UK landland telephone numbers start with the prefixes "01"and "02". Non-geographical telephone numbers are not neccessarily a higher rate chargeable service but if the number starts with "084" then it's worth checking before dialling. "03" numbers are non-geographical local-rate numbers and are usually included in your free minutes.

Legitimate UK mobile phone numbers will begin "07" and the next number is never a "0". E.g. "077" or "078...". 

UK telephone numbers will always begin with a 0 and be 10 or 11 digits in total. Non UK telephone numbers will begin with a dialling code or "+" symbol. Noticing a telephone number like this can indicate that the advertiser is not based in the UK.



Exchanges of goods for money should always take place in a safe place. If you are agreeing with a buyer or seller to meet somewhere to exchange then do so in a safe, public place. The transaction should be in day-light and where other people are around to best protect your safety. If you do not feel that the transaction will be safe then do not proceed.



Cheque payments  - Cheques are subject to the account having sufficient funds in place and you will not know whether or not the cheque will clear until up to 10 working days after the transaction has taken place. Where possible you should ask that the payment is made by cash or through a reputable  payment service provider like bank transfer or Paypal where you can see the funds clear instantly. Note, these payments may incur a fee which you will be liable for.


Buying tickets and non-physical products

As well as being sure to check for authenticity (see below) we always recommend that tickets are only ever purchased from non-touting sources. So called "ticket touts" encourage the higher selling price of tickets by purchasing several tickets at face-value and then reselling the tickets at over-inflated prices. We encourage our website users to avoid such sellers and avoid purchasing or encouraging the sale of overpriced tickets.

When purchasing tickets or other non-physical items online from people or companies that you are not familiar with we encourage authenticity checks to be undertaken before parting with your money for the item(s):



Especially with tickets - The authenticity of an item is crucial and items should be checked and inspected using any and every reasonably methods before parting with money for the items. The way to check the authenticity of an item varies from item to item, for example with tickets you would look for an issue or ticket number which can then be verified by the ticket issuing company.



Cases where pets and animals are advertised falsely can include (but are not limited to):

  • Adverts which do not offer a telephone number - These ads often stricly only offer an email address and/or "whatsapp" contact number.
  • Adverts where the postcode and Town or City do not match - This suggests that the seller is not familiar with the local area and may not actually be located in that area.
  • Adverts which contain photos from several different locations with different looking animals in each photo. This may indicate that the photos are not of any actual pet which is for sale and the images have been lifted from elsewhere on the internet in an attempt to create a fraudulent advert.

It is not uncommon for these adverts to then request a downpayment or deposit to secure the pet. Once this payment has been received the seller may become unresponsive to your communication.



Be clear that the property that you are buying or renting is owned by the seller or landlord. When purchasing a property your legal representative should ensure the seller is legitimate - Be sure to see paperwork which clearly identifies the rightful property owner.

Rental property should be owned by the landlord or managed by the landlord or property representative. There are several incidents every year where Council owned or local authority managed properties are illegally sub-let without the knowledge of the new tenants. Here's how you can ensure you do not get caught out by this scam:

  • Request proof of ownership from the land registry, and/or:
  • Contact the local Council to confirm that they are not the owner / landlord of the property.


For more information please read the website Terms and Conditons for advertisers and buyers.