Facebook Marketplace scam: Masterton woman charged after tool sold 47 times, never delivered

A Masterton woman has been arrested after she allegedly sold a multi-tool 47 times over two weeks on Facebook Marketplace and never provided the product.

Police were alerted to the scam when they received a report from a member of the public who purchased a multi-tool on the social media site for $95, but never received it.

Senior Sergeant Ian Osland said Wairarapa police reviewed several bank statements in their investigation.

They allege the woman had sold the multi-tool 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”, Osland said

“Many people choose not to out of embarrassment at being deceived, however
they should be assured that police will take any report seriously.”

The 32-year-old woman will appear in Masterton District Court on August 19 in relation to the scam as well as shoplifting offences.

Osland said the offending on Facebook Marketplace was not an uncommon occurrence and involved other items like cellphones, vehicles, electronics and other goods.

He said, in general, police advise people to buy and sell using regulated websites like 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.”

How to protect yourself when buying on social media

• 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.

• 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.

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