Hundreds of complaints about cons involving second-hand websites

Last year Belgium’s economic inspection service received nearly 900 complaints about people being conned on second-hand sales platforms. Conmen and women are believed to have got away with at least 434,884.34 euros says Lien Meurisse of the economic inspection.

The case of VRT listener Eva may be instructive.

“I wanted to sell second-hand children’s clothes on the platform. These were the clothes my children grew up in. I thought it was a fun idea giving them a second life and was happy to make a little extra”.

Eva got a quick response: “The guy even wanted to offer more than the ask price.  He was unable to collect the goods himself but suggested using a courier service”.

Eva then received a call from somebody claiming to represent DHL.

“I had to create a profile on a website.  I needed to log in using bank card and card reader.  In that way they could sort the delivery”.

Eva was not at all suspicious. 

“Everything looked very professional.  I did what they instructed.  I never imagined the conmen would get hold of my details in this way”.

Lien Meurisse of the economic inspection speaks of a classic trick.

“The minute a buyer says they can’t collect and wish to enlist the aid of a courier service this should set alarm bells ringing!  People post items on second-hand sales platforms online.  They get an enthusiastic response from a potential buyer.  Often, they are offered above the ask price, but are told the buyer can’t collect and wants to use a courier service. You get an email with a link to what is supposed to be the courier service.  You need to create an account. Identification and banking details are requested.  It’s a con!”

The economic inspection urges people never to reveal banking details in this way.

“Once conmen get hold of your details, they can empty your account.  They log into your account using your codes and withdraw everything”.   

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