Hilde De Windt

Think twice if someone offers more than the asking price for something you are selling online

The police have issued a warning about fraudsters that react to advertisements on sites used to sell second hand goods. During the past week the Mechelen-Willebroek Local Police Service in Antwerp Province has received around ten reporters of fraudsters operating on second hand goods sites. In all cases the way in which they conned or tried to con their victims was the same. 

The fraudster(s) offered more than the asking price in an effort to grab the attention of the vendor. Once the sale had been agree the “customer” informed the vendor that as he is currently not in the country he would like to enlist the services of a courier to send the goods abroad to him. The vendor then receives an email containing a form, supposedly for a courrier company, that requires filling in.

Having obtained the vendor’s telephone number and bank details. The fraudster then rings the vendor asking him log into a site using his/her bank card and card reader, in the same way that people log in to internet banking sites. The fraudster then asked his victim for the 8 digit code that appears on the screen of the card reader. With this he is able to fraudulently take money from his victim’s account.

The courier company proposed by the fraudsters is often DPD. However, in a statement the police say that “DPD has said that it never uses these kinds of practices with relation to its services or its customers”.

It is still unclear whether this is the work of one fraudster or the work of a gang. The police have launched an investigation and crime reports have been drafted for each of the incidents reported.

The police advise the public not to be fooled and to report any attempted fraud to them.