Police hot on the trail of Facebook scammer in Canterbury
If a Facebook deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, police say.
A man who advertised goods for sale on social media pages is being investigated after failing to deliver to nearly a dozen customers across Canterbury.
The man posted for sale ads for several items, including a bike, and accepted payment but never sent the items, Senior Sergeant Paul Reeves said.
The case may be just the tip of the iceberg, with several people posting warnings on buy, sell and trade Facebook pages about dodgy dealers who never delivered goods after money was transferred.
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"Too many people have lost hundreds of dollars by handing over money to individuals behaving in this way," Reeves said.
Police urged anyone who was a victim of fraud to contact them, but it was particularly difficult to trace false social media accounts.
"Often, those selling these goods are using false accounts, appearing as honest and legitimate people," he said.
"Keeping us informed helps us build our intelligence on this form of criminal activity which is very useful during our investigations."
Prevention was the top priority for local police, and shoppers were advised to buy goods in person or through reputable sites that could verify what was being sold.
"If we can prevent people ever handing over money to these offenders, there will be less incentive for them to continue," Reeves said.
The investigation into the Canterbury case was ongoing.
Anyone with information that may assist police with their inquiries into fraudulent online sales should contact Christchurch police on 03 363 7400. Information can also be shared anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.