People selling their items on online platforms are falling victim to a new type of advance fee fraud. This involves a fraudster, posing as a buyer, sending an email to the seller (victim), agreeing to the full asking price of the item. They state that they are unable to collect the item themselves and will arrange for a courier to pick it up instead.
The fraudster then sends a fake payment confirmation email from a different email address, one which falsely purports to be from a payment platform. In the course of the email exchange, the seller/victim is requested to pay the courier fee. Once the payment is made the contact is broken, the item is not picked up and the money paid for the ‘courier’ is gone.
An example of the most recent emails received by the victim/seller, from the ‘Buyer’, read:
“I want you to consider this a deal as i am willing to pay your full asking price! i actually want to buy it for a family member who is urgently in need of it, i have checked through your posting and i'm fully satisfied with it. Unfortunately, i would not be able to come personally to view/collect, i work offshore as an instructor on a oil rig so i dont have time at all, but like i said i am 100% OK with the advert”
- Be wary when buyers wish to purchase items at the full asking price without viewing them.
- Check the validity of the payment receipt confirmation
- Avoid paying an advanced fee if you are a seller; should you choose to use a courier, arrange your own.
- Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller/buyer. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers/sellers have made.
- If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.