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Police Issue Warning To Facebook Marketplace Users As Man Faces The Court

A man has been charged after Auckland City Police unravelled multiple alleged Facebook Marketplace scams that ripped off victims across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton, Auckland City CIB, says Police have been making enquiries into the 26-year-old man who had a warrant to arrest in relation to a number of fraud incidents across Tāmaki Makaurau in recent weeks.

“On Saturday evening, Police executed a search warrant at an address in Glen Innes, where the man was located and arrested without incident.

“He is due to appear in the Auckland District Court today on 27 charges of fraud, all of which are alleged to relate to incidents involving Facebook Marketplace.”

His bail has been opposed by Police.

The arrest comes at a time when Auckland City Police are seeing a concerning amount of reports of people being duped by other online users.

“While it is a very successful buy and sell platform, it’s also a successful hunting ground for criminals to buy items using a fake bank transfer or sell items that don’t exist and don’t deliver,” Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says.

“Every day, our officers in the Financial Crime Unit are assessing and, unfortunately, filing files where a fake bank transfer has been used by these offenders.

“We’ve noticed the fake images have become more and more convincing, which means more people have fallen victim to their trap.”

The Financial Crime Unit estimate they are seeing up to 60 files coming across their desks a month relating to this type of crime – sometimes up to three reports a day.

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“These types of scams are notoriously difficult for Police to investigate so we are urging those who use the buy and sell platform to exercise caution and do their due-diligence first.

“Prevention will always be the best tactic to avoid becoming a victim.”

Police encourage anyone choosing to use the buy and sell platform to follow the following advice:

• 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 before you have received the item • 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 • 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.

If you believe you are or have been a victim of fraud, contact Police at www.police.govt.nz/use-105, or call Police on 105 and report the matter. If you have handed over your bank details, contact your bank and immediately suspend your account

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