Kwadukuza SAPS warns people to be vigilant when purchasing vehicles or other items advertised on social media.
It comes after police noticed a rise in online fraud, where scammers post an advertisement for reasonably priced products, take the money and disappear.
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KwaDukuza SAPS communications manager Priya Nunkumar said people should be wary of websites offering things that are too good to be true.
“In some cases, the buyer makes contact on social networks with the seller, and once the transaction is confirmed, the buyer makes the payment to a fraudulent bank account, the seller withdraws the money and disappears without a trace” , she said.
“To avoid being scammed when buying a vehicle on social media platforms, the buyer should ask for a police certificate before negotiating.
“Requesting a down payment or upfront payment should be a red flag, as well as the seller’s reluctance to provide more contact information.”
“Prospective buyers should still insist on physically viewing the vehicle, but should ensure the meeting location is safe and secure.”
Nunkumar added that when buying an item on social media, it is important to check where the seller lives.
“If the seller is on a local listings page but doesn’t live near you, that’s a red flag.”
She said other signs are when a salesperson has a lot of friends or just a few with names that seem made up; or if the position does not have a personal identifying profile picture.
KwaDukuza SAPS Station Commander, Brigadier SF Mhlongo advised anyone who suspects they are dealing with a scammer to notify the police and refrain from contact with the vendor.
“We urge people to beware of online scams and to research the goods and the buyer before buying the items,” she said.