The public have been warned to be aware of a common scam involving the purchase of vehicles on Facebook marketplace.
Police have received more than 50 reports over the last year from vehicle owners who have been scammed after listing vehicles on this online platform.
The reports have led to nine people being charged with dishonesty offences as police continue to investigate these complaints across Auckland.
In the scam, a person buys the vehicle after it has been listed on Facebook marketplace.
The buyer pays by cheque, with the funds showing as “pending” in the seller’s bank account before the cheques are subsequently dishonoured or reversed due to insufficient funds three to six days later, when the vehicle is already in possession of the scammer.
Typically, the scammer has on-sold the vehicle to another member of the public.
The scammer can then not be contacted, either blocking the victim on Facebook or deactivating their account.
The victim will attempt to contact the scammer again, however the offender will block the seller or deactivate their Facebook account so they cannot be contacted.
Detective Senior Sergeant Callum McNeill says the public should be wary of the risks of selling vehicles on unregulated websites such as Facebook marketplace.
“We want the community to be cautious when accepting payments by cheques,” he said.
“You should not hand over possession of your vehicle until the payment has been cleared and is no longer showing as pending in your bank account.”
“We would also recommend that people selling vehicles online use regulated marketplace websites such as Trade Me.”
Anyone who has been a victim of this scam should make a report to police, McNeill said.