Derbyshire Constabulary have been made aware of a recent scam in which people have advertised items for sale on social media, the item is sold but no money is exchanged, leaving the seller empty handed.
The ‘buyer’ offers to pay via bank transfer, and when they arrive to collect the item they show a screenshot of an approved transaction, and say that the money will be in the seller's account in a few hours. However, the money is never deposited.
The police are advising that anyone selling goods online check with their banks to ensure that any payments have cleared in their accounts before handing over goods.
When buying or selling online, the police have advised people to follow this advice:
View the person's profile - learn more about the person you are buying from/selling to. You can see if there are friends you have in common, recent activity and any ratings they may have received.
Use cash, PayPal or person-to-person payment methods. When selling an item, consider asking for full payment instead of instalments.
If you, as the seller, are happy to accept a bank transfer, wait for the funds to clear before handing over the goods.
Inspect the item and if possible, make sure to thoroughly test it before buying it.
Protect your personal information - it is strongly advised against sharing personal information, such as your payment login and password details or bank account information. If you're selling electronics, make sure that you've cleared any personal information from the device
Report a person: selling sites such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay allow you to report a person if they go against their standards or policies.
Although this scam is being highlighted by Derbyshire Constabulary, it's likely that this type of fraud is a nationwide issue.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to any kind of fraud, you can contact Action Fraud via their website.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111, or by visiting the CrimeStoppers website.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).