Social media deal turns sour

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Scammers are still doing the rounds of South Canterbury, as one woman has discovered the hard way.

The woman, who declined to be named, bought a range of second-hand household items, including furniture, spending $600 all up.

She made the purchase via a buy-sell social media site, making the payment to the person’s account.

However, as time went on, the person, who said she was selling on behalf of someone else, made excuses as to why more money was needed, including transport costs because the items were stored in Dunedin.

The purchaser paid the extra money.

“There was all this pressure and at that point I should have known.”

However, the seller was a close associate of hers and, knowing that, she never believed the person would rip her off.

She paid the extra money, but the items never turned up.

“I even rang this person and spoke to them on the phone for 15 minutes.”

Another “big story” followed about how the seller needed more money for petrol.

“I said, ‘How about I give you the cash, but I would like to meet with you’.

“I said, ‘I’m not giving you any more money’.

“I had given her $700 at that point.”

The purchaser said although the woman was selling on behalf of a friend, the bank account she was insisting the money went into was her own.

“I was stupid but I trusted her because I knew her”.

After confronting the dealer, $600 was paid back, leaving the would be buyer $100 out of pocket.

She said she did not report the matter to the police, but was going to if the money was not paid back.

In future, the purchaser plans to stick to “old school values” and not trust anyone.

Depositing money into someone’s bank account will no longer be the way she goes about making a purchase.

“It’s not worth the risk,” she said.

She warned others considering a purchase online to visit the seller with a deposit if required.

Senior Sergeant Dylan Murray, of Timaru, said some large social media sites had few local controls or investigation teams to assist police when a crime was reported.

However, that was not to say people should not report online thefts to police.

“We will do our best to hold these criminals responsible and prevent other people from becoming their victims.”

He said the problem of scams was not new in the area.

“This problem has been an issue for a couple of years, but I wouldn’t say it is necessarily increasing.”