Action Fraud warning over ‘freecycle’ websites

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Fraudsters are targeting online advertising platforms where items are acquired for free, according to Action Fraud.

The fraudsters will list items on the website and advise any purchasers that they have recently moved from the area they were originally living in, and can arrange a courier to dispatch the items for a fee.

The payment requested for this service is usually via Money Transfer such as MoneyGram or Western Union, or an e-money voucher. The items they were promised are not received and any attempts to contact the individual to gain a refund are unsuccessful.

Action Fraud have provided the following advice:

• Stay within the auction guidelines stipulated on the website.

• Ask to view the item in person.

• Be cautions of making advance payments to a stranger via Money Transfer or e-money products.

• If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.