FACEBOOK CROOKS SCAM BUYERS …Cops unable to locate and arrest culprits
• Police unable to locate and arrest culprits
Many persons buying goods over the Internet, especially via social media, are being scammed out of their money, and the police are indicating that it is very difficult to track down the culprits.
Three weeks ago, Sandreen Thomas used a Facebook page, where users sell and buy gadgets, including cell phones, laptops and gaming devices, to search for a Samsung Galaxy S5. She identified a gadget of her choice, made arrangements for its purchase, and eventually handed over $28,000 in cash to the vendor.
"When I got the phone, everything seemed okay. I was satisfied, so I gave him the money and was happy about the new phone," Thomas said.
However, after a week, her happiness over the new purchase would change. Thomas said she found out the phone was a fake device after she attempted to buy a phone case from a retailer.
She told THE STAR that she has been unable to locate the seller of the phone because his user page has been deleted. She said, too, that he is no longer accessible by telephone.
But Delroy Johnson, a deputy superintendent of police, attached to the Fraud Squad, said there is not much the police can do to help Thomas because she does not have evidence of her transaction with the seller.
"She is going to have to monitor the other advert pages to find the culprit, but her reporting the case to the police doesn't mean we can help find him," he explained.
According to Johnson, the seller of the fake S5 could be arrested and charged under the Consumer Protection Act.
Johnson also warned persons conducting business over social media to exercise more caution when making purchases.
"They have to ensure they know someone who has done business with the person before or find out if they are reputable before handing over their money to them," he said.
"Persons selling and buying motor vehicles use the police station, so persons can use it for selling and buying of their gadgets to check authenticity, and also for their own safety," Johnson said.