POLICE are warning residents of a recent increase in online shopping fraud, with 19 reports made to Action Fraud last week by local residents.

The most common platform featured within the complaints was Facebook Marketplace. 

What is a scam on Facebook Marketplace?

Scams can happen to a buyer or seller. Scams come in different forms, so it’s important to know what to look for. 

1. Buyer scam

When someone tries to obtain items from a seller without paying.

Recent reports have featured purported buyers using fake banking apps and spoofed email messages from banks, to trick the seller into believing that funds have been sent. 

The seller then sends the item only to find later that they haven’t received any payment.

2. Seller scam 

Advertising items for sale which are never sent to the buyer.

Seller scams often lure buyers into conducting transactions outside of the trading platform and / or to transfer funds as a “deposit”, in advance of the item being sent. 

The seller profile is then removed, and the buyer is left out-of-pocket.

Police have provided some hints and tips to help keep residents safe when shopping online.

  • Double check any deals that seem too good to be true
  • Review the sellers profile to check out their ratings and reviews
  • Never send items before you have received verified payment
  • Always check that the money has arrived and is cleared in your account and that it is not still ‘awaiting confirmation’
  • Do not use unusual payment methods 
  • If a buyer becomes pushy, aggressive or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to block them and report them to Facebook
  • Don’t give away personal information and if you need to provide your address for a buyer to collect an item, only do so once you are confident they have committed to buy it
  • If you meet-up in person with any purchaser on Facebook, think of your own safety – meet in a well-lit, public place and try to have a family member or friend accompany you
  • If anything doesn’t feel right about an online sale, cancel it
  • Keep your devices up to date – make sure you install the latest software and app updates
  • Take extra care with links in messages, emails and text

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