Practise Safe Second Hand

Please don't let common sense be clouded by what looks like an unbelievable bargain. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Please take a moment to read the following tips which will help you stay safe when dealing with strangers.

Face to Face is Best

  • Where possible, meet face to face to see the item and exchange payment.
  • When meeting a stranger, always ensure there is someone else with you or meet in a public place.
  • Don't take large amounts of cash with you when meeting someone you don't know.

Preloved Does Not Handle Payment

  • Preloved do not handle any payments for transactions on the site and therefore cannot guarantee any payments made. If you receive a message asking you to make a payment via Preloved or claiming that Preloved will protect your payment it will be fake. Please report it to us immediately.


  • Unless you are paid in cash, always wait for payment to clear before handing over goods. Remember, in some situations (particularly overseas payments) a payment could still be withdrawn by the bank after it has cleared. Talk to your bank for more information on this.
  • If you are being paid cash, study the notes for signs of counterfeit by feeling the paper, studying the printing, checking the watermark and the metallic thread. More information on checking for counterfeit money is at the Bank of England web site
  • If you are sending an item through the post, always obtain proof of posting and ensure the parcel is adequately insured against loss up to the full value of the item. The Post Office provides a "Certificate of Posting" for free, giving compensation for low value items.
  • If you are receiving money through PayPal, ensure you meet the requirements of their seller protection scheme. This includes retaining proof of delivery that can be tracked online.
  • If you are receiving money through PayPal or other online payment service, don't rely on an email confirmation that you have received funds as this may have been faked. Always log into your account to confirm this by typing the address directly into your browser (don't follow links in the email). Also note that PayPal does NOT hold funds pending delivery of an item.


  • If you make a payment before receiving an item, you risk losing that money if the item never arrives or is not as described.
  • If you have to make payment before receiving the item, consider paying via PayPal who will often provide compensation should you not receive the item or if it is significantly not as described.
  • If you make a payment to someone by crediting their bank account via Internet banking or BACS, that payment cannot later be reversed.
  • It pays to have an HPI check when purchasing a second hand vehicle. This check will help you determine whether a car has been clocked, stolen or is a repaired insurance write off.
  • Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If you see any suspicious activity on Preloved, please report it to us immediately.

Find out more

We've got more specific advice about staying safe on our blog:

PayPal logo

Buyer Protection on Preloved Items

If you use PayPal to pay for an item on Preloved, you are protected by PayPal's Buyer Protection scheme.

This means that it the item doesn't arrive or match its description, you can make a claim to be reimbursed in full.

Find out More

Alarm Bells!

Do not proceed if...

  • The seller of a pet will not let you see the animal in person and is offering to ship it to you.
  • The buyer offers you too much money, asking you to refund the difference to his business partner or friend.
  • The seller is asking for payment by postal order, Western Union, MoneyGram, Ukash or other untraceable methods.

Be extremely cautious if...

  • Someone is asking to communicate directly by email rather than using the Preloved messaging service.
  • The seller has only given a mobile telephone number or email address, and wants to meet at a location that is not their home. They may be trying to hide their identity.
  • A buyer offers to purchase a valuable item sight unseen, or has no interest in the items condition or features, they may be more interested in your money.
  • An item looks particularly cheap.
  • The item is in high demand and is scarce in the shops (these items are favoured by scammers).