Police are urging residents of Wyndham to beware when buying or selling mobile phones, laptops and other goods, including vehicles, via social media or online market places.
This warning follows a number of recent reports to police of robberies and thefts in the Wyndham area that have occurred during pre-arranged meetings with opportunistic criminals purporting to be online buyers or sellers.
In a few of these incidents vehicles have been stolen, and some victims have also been assaulted.
Using online market places can be a good way to sell or buy property, but the safety of the community is Victoria Police’s number one priority.
If you’re planning on using an online site to sell or buy property, there are a few simple preventative measures you can take:
• Arrange to meet in a well-lit public place where there are CCTV cameras e.g. a shopping centre or fast food outlet
• Consider what time of day you arrange to meet – choose a time when there’s likely to be a lot of people around
• Take a friend or a family member with you when you meet the buyer/seller
• Coordinate the exchange via phone call rather than a text message
• If selling a vehicle, request to see a copy of their driver’s licence prior to giving them access to the keys or vehicle
• Be mindful with electronic keys that the car can be driven without possession of the key once the engine has started
There are also a few behaviors from potential fake buyers or sellers that you should keep your eye out for:
• Changing the agreed transaction time and location at short notice
• Presenting themselves as a female buyer over the phone, but a male arrives to conduct the transaction
• Attending the exchange location with multiple people
• Requesting to handle the property before payment is made, often under the pretext of checking the IMEI number in the case of phones
Most importantly, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t take the chance.
If you need immediate police assistance always call Triple Zero (000). Report any suspicious behaviour to your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.