Avoid online marketplace scams say Police

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Thu 25th April 2024

Derbyshire Police have issued advise for residents on how to avoid online marketplace scams.
This comes after a number of reports of such scams taking place across the county.
A spokesman for the force said: “Fraudulent buyers are leaving Derbyshire Facebook sellers out of pocket – here’s how you can keep safe if you’re having a spring clear out.
“The reports we’ve received involve the buyer turning up to collect with a fake proof of payment, such as a screenshot of a bank transfer or payment receipt. This screenshot is then used to convince the sellers to hand over the goods.
“However, when the seller checks their bank account, they never received the money and they’re left out of pocket.
“We’re issuing this advice after recent reports of fraud in the county.”
The spokesman continued: “A man has been arrested in connection with reports of several counts of fraud.
“The 36-year-old was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation in Derby on April 5. He has been released on bail as enquiries continue.
“Our Sock it to the Scammers video highlights how to protect against this type of scam. Including to always verify that you’ve received payment through a trusted means such as your online banking app or a trusted payment provider.”
Tammy Barnes, Derbyshire Constabulary’s Fraud Protect Officer, said: “Most sellers feel inclined to trust a buyer who comes to their house or public place to pick up and pay for items, it has a personal touch. Sellers whether online or in person may be conned by a buyer who claims to have transferred the money but it must be experiencing a delay.
“Unfortunately if you allow a buyer to leave before payment has been received, you may never see the item or the scammer who stole it again.
“Our advice is ‘Stop. Think fraud.’ Don’t be rushed into any decisions and make sure the balance has appeared in your bank account or account with the selling site before sending your items.”
“Our #SockItToTheScammers campaign launched earlier this year, with other videos focussing on issues such as romance fraud and fake police phone calls. The campaign has resulted in members of the public remembering the Stop. Think. Tell. advice and stopping the scam in its tracks.
Recent cases in Derbyshire have shown just how much of an impact a marketplace scam can have, with sellers losing out on thousands of pounds by handing over items such as technology, jewellery and vehicles without receiving payment.
“In Derbyshire, phones and laptops are the most common items that scammers will take without payment.
“In the example of online marketplace fraud, whilst the scam might seem simple, it can often be effective by the scammer being insistent in messages and creating a false sense of urgency.”
Tammy continued: “Always use your own trusted links, never follow a weblink supplied by the buyer. If someone is being intimidating, please contact us for further assistance.
“If the sale doesn’t feel right, or you have concerns, always think of Claude and ‘Stop. Think fraud.’”
If you think you, or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to Derbyshire Police via one of the following methods: Facebook: send them a private message to DerbyshireConstabulary; Twitter: direct message their contact centre on @DerPolContact; Website: complete the online contact form at police.uk/Contact-Us; or call the police on 101.
People are also being advised to report any issues to Action Fraud via their website at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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