The NSW Police Force is warning members of the community about an elaborate scam targeting retirees and other Australians looking to purchase recreational vehicles and vessels, and machinery, NSW Police say.
Police from across NSW have received numerous reports in recent weeks relating to the resurfacing of a scam involving illegitimate sellers of motor homes, machinery, and boats.
Investigators have been told the scam begins with what appears to be a genuine seller of an item advertising through the classifieds. In many cases, the advertised sale price is below market value.
The advertisement will feature a mobile number, which will not be answered, instead responding via text message that they are unable to talk on the phone.
After asking if the buyer is interested in the item, the scammer may direct the conversation to email to conduct price negotiations.
Once a price is agreed, the scammer requests a considerable payment (up to 50%) upfront by electronic transfer, then provide instructions to contact a freight company to arrange delivery and make final payment.
It is understood that the freight company contact details provided by the scammer defer to another scammer, who takes a final payment before providing a fraudulent tracking number.
The goods are never delivered, and the money is not able to be recovered.
Inquiries have revealed the scam also involves identity takeovers, phishing, and mobile phone porting, which further attempt to disguise the identities of those involved.
Detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad have commenced an investigation and are urging the public to be vigilant when purchasing items through online or newspaper classifieds.
If you have been the victim of a scam, you can report it to local police or to ACCC Scamwatch at: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam or by calling 1300 795 995.
Further, victims of identity theft can contact IDCARE for assistance to reduce the harm experienced from the compromise and misuse of identity information: https://www.idcare.org
To find out more information about this and similar scams or to find out other ways to protect yourself, visit https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/buying-or-selling/classified-scams.