Please attribute to Senior Sergeant Ian Osland, Wairarapa Prevention Manager:
Police have arrested and charged a 32-year-old Masterton woman, following an investigation into offending on Facebook Marketplace.
The woman has been bailed and will appear in Masterton District Court on Thursday 19 August in relation to this online offending and also shoplifting offences.
Police received a report from a member of the public who purchased a multitool on marketplace for $95, but never received the item.
As part of the investigation, Police reviewed a number of bank statements relating to the offender and found she had sold the multitool 47 times over a 13 day period.
Police, were particularly concerned over the number of people who fell victim to the scam and did not report it to Police.
Many people choose not to out of embarrassment at being deceived, however they should be assured that Police will take any report seriously.
This is not an uncommon occurrence, and is not limited to multitools but cell phones, vehicles, electronics and other goods sold on Facebook Marketplace.
In general, Police advise people to buy and sell off regulated websites such as Trade Me. Police also urge people not to hand over the goods they are selling until the payment has been cleared and the money is in their bank account. Verify the funds are cleared if you can with your bank. If you are buying items, avoid doing so on social media and purchase them from legitimate stores or companies.
If you decide to purchase off social media, we encourage you to take basic precautions to protect yourself. This includes:
• Insist on meeting to conduct transactions and examine the item before completing the transaction. Meet in a public place, and take a friend. DO NOT go into someone’s house or allow them into yours, DO NOT deposit money into another person’s account.
• Learning more about the person you are buying from or selling to. Note: You can tap on a person's profile on the product listing page to see if you have any friends in common, their marketplace activity, and any ratings they may have received.
• Protect yourself from online scams. Check out https://www.netsafe.org.nz/advice/scams/ or https://www.police.govt.nz/advice/email-and-internet-safety/internet-sca... and https://www.nzba.org.nz/consumer-information/smarter-banking/fraud-safet...
• Ensure friends and family, especially anyone vulnerable, understand what to do to protect themselves. Be the person to provide that ongoing support and advice.
• Trust your instincts – if it’s too good to be true or sounds like a scam, it probably is.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam should make a report to Police on 105 or visit their local station.
Issued by Police Media Centre