Police fraud alert
Manawatu¯ Police are reminding people to be alert to fraudulent activity and to take particular care when selling goods through social media platforms and online websites. If you plan to sell your unwanted items, make sure you take care when doing so, Detective Sergeant Carl Newton says. There has been a notable increase in people handing over property to people posing as buyers after being falsely led to believe they have been paid for the item. In such cases, it is common for the claimed buyer to show proof of payment in the form of a cellphone screenshot of a bank transfer of funds to the sellers. However, the money is never deposited into the seller’s account despite the claimed buyer appearing honest and genuine. Whenever selling goods, make sure you deal in cash or ensure the money has been actually received in your bank before handing the item over. It is easy for someone to claim a bank transfer has been made by showing a false record of a deposit, only for the seller to find out later on that the item hasn’t been paid for. If you can’t see the money in your bank account, treat it as not being in there and retain the goods. Police recommend sellers use a safe trading zone. Meet in a public, well-lit area or consider only trading in daylight hours. Trade near, or in front of, a known/ working CCTV camera, in busy foot-traffic or perhaps by a police station. If somebody is not willing to come to a safe trade zone such as the one opposite i-Site, it is probably not a legitimate transaction.