Web con warning

INTERNET users in Suffolk are today being warned to be on the look out after spate of attempted cons.Have-a-go fraudsters are targeting sellers, particularly on sites like eBay, in a bid to obtain money through a non-existent transaction.

INTERNET users in Suffolk are today being warned to be on the look out after spate of attempted cons.

Have-a-go fraudsters are targeting sellers, particularly on sites like eBay, in a bid to obtain money through a non-existent transaction.

The "buyer", often based abroad, offers payment that is far greater than the price of the item, such as a car. They send a fake banker's draught or cheque to the seller and ask them to transfer the difference to an imaginary shipping agent once the funds have cleared.

The catch occurs because the stolen or fake cheque can be recalled by the bank even after the funds have shown on your account.


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As a result, the money the seller pays to the "shipping agent" is not from the cheque, but in fact their own money.

Evening Star worker Kevin Eagle nearly fell victim to such a scam when he placed his Golf Gti on eBay.

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He said: "I wanted about £5,400 for it. I got this e-mail from someone saying he was from Singapore.

"He said he would give me £5,700 for the car and a further £9,300 which I was supposed to pay into my bank and then pay it to a shipping agent."

The 31-year-old of Humber Doucy Lane, Ipswich, thought something was wrong and this was confirmed when he looked on the Metropolitan police website, which gave full details of similar scams. He then went to the police with the cheque.

Mr Eagle continued: "I told him (the 'buyer') I didn't want it, but he wouldn't have it. So I told him the car had been stolen.

"Then this cheque turned up anyway which had been posted with a British second-class stamp."

Mr Eagle put his car back on eBay a few days later and was contacted by another person asking for his bank information.

Mr Eagle said: "I e-mailed back, 'Yeah and I am Father Christmas and my son is Elvis'."

Two Evening Star readers also wrote in about a different internet scam which had siphoned hundreds of pounds from them.

In both cases, hackers diverted the unwitting users to premium rate phone lines, racking up huge bills.

Anthony Pyett, of Bramford Road, Ipswich, was shocked to find his monthly bill totalling £528.11 instead of the usual £17.

He said: "We checked out a website advertising IQ tests, only to find out we were unable to get results unless we registered with the site.

"We declined this and thought no more of it, until the phone bill arrived. We found out that we had been redirected to a premium rate number."

Suffolk police spokesman Simon Stevens said people with concerns about his type of crime should call police on 01473 613500.

You can also visit the Metropolitan Police website at www.met.police.uk and go to the Fraud Alert section for more information.

Is there a new scam we don't know about? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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