HOPE that you have all been watching Rip-Off Britain since I mentioned its return last week. Some of the stories are quite eye-opening, although not always scams.
This week, I would like to give some guidance about buying and selling online. We are seeing many adverts encouraging this, using online sites such as Facebook Marketplace. There are reports of many scams and frauds where fraudsters appear to be genuine buyers or sellers on market place sites. However the fraudsters target sellers who are advertising high value goods such as designer clothes, mobile phones, game consoles or other electronic gadgets – all of which can be easily posted to the buyer. After their item has sold, the seller is led to believe that payment has been made, or is pending, as the buyer has sent them a screenshot or email confirmation of a fake bank transfer.
However, it’s not until after they have posted or handed over the item, that the seller then discovers the payment has not been made and that the buyer’s contact details are false.
Although online buying and selling pages can be a good way to reduce clutter and help make some extra money, if you are selling on Marketplace we recommend that you check to ensure a payment has been cleared before handing over the item.
Here are some tips for online buyers and sellers:
• If anything doesn’t feel right about the transaction, cancel it!
• Always check your account or third-party payment facility to ensure a payment has been cleared before handing over or posting items
• Do not use links or websites supplied by the buyer to check for payment, as these can also be forged and look genuine.
• Always log in to payment providers directly on your device to verify you have received the payment.
• If a buyer becomes pushy, aggressive or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to block them and report them to Facebook
• Minimise the personal information you share in the advert, such as your address, email, or phone number
• If you’re meeting to exchange items, ensure your safety, take a friend or relative, and arrange to meet in a busy public place
• You could take images or videos in case of any dispute or theft
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or online by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
It’s also important to report all fraud-related incidents to Action Fraud to help build a national picture and help prevent others falling victim to scams.
Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter for May has just arrived and I see that there is an article about keeping online privacy by taking care when asked on a website to accept all cookies. I plan to give you some guidance next time.
If you or someone you know is struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts, Citizens Advice may be able to help. Citizens Advice Sefton telephone service is available: Help To Claim advice line number for help claiming Universal credit is 0800 144 8444. 8am to 6pm. Mon to Fri. For general advice . 0808 278 7841 (freephone) Mon – Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm and text relay for people with hearing impairment: Text relay: 03444 111 445 for people with hearing impairment .The debt number is 0151 318 6407. 9.30 to 4.30 Mon to Fri. Our local website address is- www.https://seftoncab.org.uk/Citizens Advice Lancashire West telephone is available between 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday, & 9.00am and 1.00pm Saturdays on Adviceline 0344 245 1294 and Help to Claim line 0800 144 8 444. Their website address is www.citizensadvicelancashirewest.org.uk