News Archive

Online Sale Warning

by msecadm4921

Follow crime prevention measures when purchasing items from online community classified advert websites as they investigate a report of fraud, police are urging.

On Tuesday, June 14 a woman from Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, agreed to purchase a candy floss machine via classified advert site Gumtree. She agreed with the seller that she would collect the item from an address he gave her in Plymouth and that money would then be exchanged.

She travelled to the address she was given in Plymouth but discovered the address did not exist, and so contacted the seller who said that if she transferred the agreed money, £280, into a bank account he would post the item. The victim transferred the money but the item has not been received.

Crime Reduction Officer for the county, Paul Francis, said: “Whilst the vast majority of sales will be perfectly legitimate sadly there are a number of unscrupulous people who will take advantage of such sites to separate you from your hard earned cash.

“The Gumtree website does have a safety section to advise those using the site of what to keep an eye out for when it comes to potential scams, and we suggest that all users of the site have a look at those before committing to a purchase.

“If you are using an online auction site or classifieds website there are a few simple steps you can take to make things safer.”

Police suggest you:

Make sure you fully understand the purchase or auction process of a site before you buy or bid.
Read the website’s own safety advice.
Check the seller’s feedback and ask them questions.
Choose the safest way to pay possible, such as credit/debit card or PayPal.

If you are a victim of this kind of offence you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud reporting centre. Contact them on 0300 123 20 40 or via their website –

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