A FRAUDSTER stole a young woman’s identity and advertised items for sale at her home – and the first she knew of it was when buyers turned up at the door.
People from around the country have been travelling to the woman’s house in Bicester to collect their items, only to find out on arrival that they’ve been scammed through Facebook Marketplace.
The victim, who we have chosen not to name, was unaware her identity had been stolen until a stranger, who had travelled 150 miles from Sheffield, turned up at her front door asking for the Macbook he had paid for on Facebook Marketplace.
The victim told the Oxford Mail: “My mum was absolutely terrified when she saw this man at our doorstep wondering where his MacBook was that he had ordered. We didn’t know what to think.”
The woman’s identity was stolen when someone tried to help reunite her with her lost ID by posting a photo of it on a student Facebook page.
But this photo, which has since been removed, is now being used by the scammer to legitimise themselves on Facebook Marketplace.
The victim said that the scammer has been able to set up a bank account in her name, as well as take out loans which she has had to cancel.
She said: “It’s really scary to know that they have my details and I just don’t know when they’re going to stop.
“I hope the police get this sorted because its not nice having all of these people turn up at our house.”
So far people from as far as Birmingham, Manchester and Hull have turned up at the woman’s house expecting to receive electrical items they had paid for.
The most recent person to fall for the con was Tyrone Grove, a civil engineer from West Sussex.
He thought he had bought a MacBook for £450 from the young woman through the digital marketplace.
He said: “I sent her the money before Christmas, and I expected to receive the MacBook soon after but whenever I called, she wouldn’t pick up. Then I noticed she blocked me on Facebook. I was going to head to her house but decided to write a letter to her first.
“The owner of the house received the letter and rang me to explain that someone had sold me the laptop under his daughter’s name.
“I went onto Facebook later and the advertisement was back up they were selling the computer again.”
Mr Grove said the MacBook was going to be a Christmas present for his daughter. He reported the crime three weeks ago to Action Fraud.
A spokesman for Action Fraud said: “The report given to us is being looked into. The police will only start an investigation once we have gathered enough information to pass on to them and because of the online nature of the report, this will take some time.”
Unlike more well-known online marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace does not offer its own buyer and seller protection schemes.
It also does not have its own built-in payment feature and so it is down to the user to arrange to pay or meet up in person.
The father of the victim, who has set up a website to warn buyers about the fraud, said: “It seems like this has been very well set up because its pretty extensive.
“It’s not a nice position to find yourself in, having to tell people that they’ve lost hundreds of pounds.”
“It’s unfortunate that this has happened when the person who posted the initial photo on the student page was meaning good. It is really unpleasant for me and all those who have been scammed.”