Police are warning the public to be cautious when purchasing goods online.
With the trend of people opting to use online marketplace’s and social media to purchase goods on the increase, consumers run the risk of being a victim of fraud.
According to Brixton Police Station, there are receiving a high volume of fraud cases being opened daily, where the public is being scammed into paying for items advertised online but have not yet received.
Spokesperson for the station, Jeanette Backhoff said “People are warned not to pay for items sold online that they have not seen as it is a money scam.”
She said perpetrators will advertise goods for sale or a property for rent, the victim will then contact the seller and the victim will be asked to pay money into a bank account or send the money through transfers with retailers.
Once the money has been sent, the seller’s number will no longer work, leaving the victim stressing and worrying.
Backhoff explained how these scams extend to property renting.
“In the case of property for rent, once all is paid and signed, the victim will then go to the property and find out that the ad was false as the property is occupied and the owners in question do not exist.”
The police have stated that these scammers target people reading online ads desperately looking for a car, cell phone or property to rent at a cheaper price.
Brixton Police have offered the following tips in an attempt to reduce the chance of the public falling victim to this criminal trend:
- People are urged not to pay for anything sold online if they don’t have solid proof that it’s not a scam.
- Phone the person who is responsible for the advert and ask if you can see the product first before any money is exchanged.
- The public is advised to rather follow a ‘cash on delivery’ ideology when it comes to purchasing goods online.
- The exchange of money for goods should take place in a safe public place like a police station.
- Property for rent needs to be verified by visiting the property before any payments or contracts are signed.