Police issue advice after string of St Helens scams over the year | #socialmedia

POLICE are offering residents advice after a string of scams have been carried out in St Helens over the past year.

A number of residents have reported that they have been scammed – or have attempted to be – by people with Irish accents, after being offered to buy their goods over social media.

On Monday, October 25, two young women came to Ian Gibson’s house in Rainford with the apparent intention to buy his Nintendo Switch bundle. After agreeing a price over Facebook Marketplace, the women arrived at Mr Gibson’s house around 4:50pm before trying to scam him.

Ian said: “They had Irish accents [and] tried to pay using a fake banking app which shows you the money has been sent but never pinged into my bank account.

“Some people have been unlucky and fell for this, and handed over the goods over only to find no money went into their account.”

Ian explained that after looking further into the people who contacted him on Facebook, he discovered they were using a fake account taken from a “deceased young girl from Scotland”.

A screenshot of payment for the goods through a fake banking app

Similar instances of this have occurred in St Helens where residents have unfortunately not been so lucky.

On Saturday, October 16, a woman – who wishes not to be identified – was also contacted over Facebook Marketplace with an offer to buy her Nintendo Switch Lite. Just like with Ian, two young women with Irish accents arrived at her house after agreeing to pay £130 for the goods.

After witnessing the women put her bank details into a legitimate-looking app, the Parr-based woman had no reason to believe she was being scammed. It was only once she had checked her account when she realised that she had not been paid, with the scammers long gone and unable to be contacted.

Earlier in the year, another woman in St Helens also lost out on payment for her goods, with a man with an Irish accent scamming her out of the sale of an iPhone 12.

On Saturday, April 24, a man arrived at the property after agreeing a price for the goods on Facebook Marketplace.

After taking the phone when asking to view it, the man stated he would buy the phone before putting it in his pocket. He said that he would transfer the money to her later that day and showed a screenshot of the bank transfer.

Checking her bank account numerous times, the victim experienced a “really sinking feeling” as she realised the money had not been transferred and she was shown fake confirmation instead.

Advice for residents

With this scam becoming a re-occurring problem across St Helens, and devastating to those to lose who have lost out on both their goods and payment, Merseyside Police have issued advice for residents worried about buying and selling goods.

They explain it is best to be wary of unexpected callers or messages in case it’s a scam, and to never let callers into your home without checking their ID.

Residents are wanted not to immediately agree to any offer or work you are unsure of, and not to share your personal or financial details with someone you do not trust.

With Christmas and Black Friday deals approaching, officers are concerned that residents may fall victim to fraudulent activity.

Giving further advice, they state it is best to be wary of any heavily discounted or considerably cheaper than usual service or product, and residents should be cautious of offers to pay by bank transfer rather than using an online platform’s secure payment options.

Additionally, any websites that were only launched recently or seemingly-legitimate emails that do not match with the websites domain should be avoided.

If someone believes they have fallen victim to any kind of fraud, they can contact Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling police on 101 @MerPolCC or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

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