Northamptonshire Police warn of Facebook Marketplace scammers
Police are urging people in Northamptonshire to beware of fraudsters using Facebook Marketplace to scam innocent users.
Scammers pose as real buyers or sellers, targeting high-value advertised items and simulating bank transfers to trick their victims.
Between January and March this year, a total of 175 complaints about the online site were submitted to Action Fraud, resulting in sellers losing goods with a combined total value of £192,786.
But the true cost of this type of fraud would be significantly higher, with only a small percentage of incidents reported to authorities by victims.
This prompted officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Economic Crimes Unit to issue a reminder to those using the vending platform.
Fraud Protection Manager PC Neil MacKenzie said: “Online auctions and marketplaces have become a very popular way to buy and sell, but fraudsters use them to take advantage of your trust.
“Scammers target sellers who advertise high-value goods such as designer clothes, cell phones, game consoles or other electronic gadgets – all of which can be easily sent to the buyer.
“After selling their item, the seller is led to believe that payment has been made or is pending because the buyer sent them a screenshot or email confirmation of a fake bank transfer.
“However, it is only after posting or delivering the item that they then discover that payment has not been made and that the buyer’s details are wrong.
“While online buy and sell pages can be a great way to reduce clutter and earn extra money, we always recommend that sellers verify that a payment has been made before submitting their article.”
Police have issued the following best advice for online buyers and sellers:
• If something is wrong with the transaction, cancel it! • Always check your account or third-party payment system to make sure a payment has been authorized before submitting or posting articles. • Do not use buyer-provided links or websites. to verify payment, as these can also be faked and appear genuine. • Always connect to payment providers directly on your device to verify that you have received payment. • If a buyer becomes pushy, aggressive, or pushes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to block them and report them to Facebook• Minimize the personal information you share in the ad, such as your address, email or phone number• If you meet to exchange items, ensure your safety, bring a friend or relative, and arrange to meet in a busy public place • You can take pictures or videos in case of dispute or theft
If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.