Thames Valley Police records thousands of online fraud cases involving items advertised on social media

A high number of crimes are being committed by supposed buyers and sellers online
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Thames Valley Police has released new data showing that a high number of fraudulent crimes are being committed using social media across the area.

The police force has revealed that a number of crimes are being committed by people claiming to buy and sell goods via social media.

Data posted by Thames Valley Police obtained by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau shows that there have been 2,925 victims within the Thames Valley.

Thames Valley Police has recorded a high number of instances of fraud using social media over the past year (Photo Illustration by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)Thames Valley Police has recorded a high number of instances of fraud using social media over the past year (Photo Illustration by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Thames Valley Police has recorded a high number of instances of fraud using social media over the past year (Photo Illustration by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Thames Valley Police adds that this is 21 per cent of all different types of fraud reported in the area and cumulatively it has led to losses of £2.3 million.

The police force says there are two common ways people are being conned online:

  1. Victims are contacted by the suspects who show a real interest in the goods, attending the address to look at the item with a view of purchasing it. The suspect will obtain the victim’s bank details and show the victim their mobile phone which details the payment has been made via the banking app and then walk away with the goods. This is a fake banking app and the profile used and contact details are also fake.
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A force spokesman added: “Please be mindful in these scenarios that you may be providing fraudsters with a lot of personal information, name, address, bank account. Be careful with how you protect your information.”

  1. The other type of offending is online shopping where the suspect agrees to purchase the item but will not pay for the goods until proof of purchase has been provided to them. The victim will arrange for the parcel to be sent in the post and will provide the tracking number to the suspect. The suspect is then able to track or redirect the parcel. This results in the payment not being received and the parcel has gone. The addresses where the parcels are being sent to are either used for a day, or the parcel is redirected to another address resulting in the loss of the item which is at a cost to the victim.

Whilst the police accepts that spotting are fraudster is not easy, it has provided residents with some helpful steps to avoid conmen and women.

  1. Make sure you receive payment before sending the goods
  2. Carry out your research before parting with your items or money; how long have they been online? Are there any reviews or sellers feedback? Do they have many associates or linked groups?
  3. Always check your account online or ask your bank to make sure the funds have been received
  4. Take pictures of items before posting them
  5. Keep any video footage which can be shared with law enforcement
  6. Make a report to Action Fraud online Action Fraud or via telephone 0300 123 2040

Detective Inspector Duncan Wynn of the Thames Valley Police Central Fraud Unit said: “These are common scams which are occurring across the Thames Valley and the rest of the UK and we ask that the public become aware of these tactics to prevent them from being targeted in this way and being at a financial loss."