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Scam warning: be vigilant when selling/buying online

POLICE forces are urging anyone considering buying or selling goods online to be vigilant about a scam involving a fake bank transfer app.

Sellers using sites such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree, have reported incidents to us of fraudsters using a fake banking app to pretend to pay for goods they have agreed to purchase.

Victims have reported that the fraudsters show a fake screenshot of the ‘payment’ on the fake banking mobile app and when the payment fails to land immediately in the sellers bank account, the buyer gets frustrated with the delay and walks away without paying for the goods.

In some instances, the seller may also get a fake receipt to show the ‘payment’ has gone through.

Police advice if you are selling/buying online:

– View the person’s profile: learn more about the person you are buying from/selling to. You can tap a person’s profile on the product listing page to see any ratings they may have received.

– Consider using a credit card when shopping online. You should also consider using an online payment platform, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay. Using these platforms to authorise your payments means the person selling doesn’t even see your payment details. They also provide their own dispute resolution should anything go wrong. However, they may not provide the same protection as a card provider, so check their terms and conditions before you sign up.

– Inspect the item: If possible, make sure to thoroughly inspect or test the item before buying it.

– Protect your personal information: we strongly advise against sharing personal information, such as your payment login and password details or bank account info. Don’t share your personal financial information to make or accept a purchase. If you’re selling electronics, make sure that you’ve cleared any personal information from the device

– Report a person: if you see suspicious activity from a buyer or seller report them to the website you are using and Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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More site-specific advice can be found here:

Facebook – http://orlo.uk/Gv4w2

eBay – http://orlo.uk/D9O6u

Gumtree – https://help.gumtree.com/s/safety