Whakatāne Police are urging caution to those buying or selling items on Facebook Marketplace as they have noticed an increase in scams and fake profiles. Victims are falling prey to fraudulent activity where they deposit money into a stranger’s account for an item they never receive.
Items being listed on Facebook Marketplace in Whakatāne range from clothing to cell phones, thermal imaging gear, firewood, and vehicle mags. Senior Sergeant Tristan Murray, the Eastern Bay of Plenty Prevention Manager, even highlighted a case where two individuals who knew each other both unknowingly fell victim to a scam while trying to purchase the same item.
According to Sgt. Murray, Facebook Marketplace has fewer security measures in place to prevent fraudulent activity. As a result, he advises those using the platform to take basic precautions to protect themselves. Some tips include insisting on meeting in person to conduct transactions, examining the item before completing the purchase, and meeting in a public place while bringing a friend along. It is advised not to enter someone’s house or allow them into yours. Additionally, it is essential to avoid depositing money into another person’s account before receiving the item.
To further protect oneself, it is recommended to learn more about the person you are dealing with on Facebook Marketplace. Users can tap on a person’s profile on the product listing page to see if they have any friends in common, check their marketplace activity, and review any ratings or reviews they may have received.
Whakatāne Police also emphasize the importance of educating friends and family, especially those who may be vulnerable, about best practices for online transactions. It is crucial to provide ongoing support and advice to help them stay safe.
In conclusion, it is vital to trust your instincts and be cautious when using Facebook Marketplace. If an offer seems too good to be true or appears suspicious, it is likely a scam.
Sources: Whakatāne Police