Police and Facebook are warning the public to be aware of scammers operating on Facebook.
Police has received a number of recent reports in relation to a variety of Facebook pages of fraudulent companies claiming to sell computers and mobile phones.
The companies represented on the Facebook pages are legitimate NZ companies, however the Facebook pages are not associated with those companies.
Detective Senior Sergeant Bridget Doell from the Auckland City Police Financial Crime Unit, says these Facebook pages are being set up by scammers based offshore.
“Police have received multiple reports from people who transferred money into an account believing they were purchasing mobiles and laptops from fake Facebook pages and never received the items.
“We are warning the public to undertake due diligence before buying any goods online.
“Stick to verified, trusted online retailers and if you are purchasing goods online from a company you do not know, ensure the company is legitimate and has a publically listed phone number which connects to that business,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Doell.
Nick McDonnell, Public Policy Manager for FB New Zealand, says this year many of us have been more reliant on technology to stay connected with families and friends in New Zealand and around the world.
“Unfortunately, scammers know this, and it’s more important than ever that we all work together to stay vigilant against online scams.
“At Facebook, the safety and security of our users is our top priority.
All apps in the Facebook family use the most sophisticated security software available, and this year we’ve made it easier to report suspicious content.
We also publish guidelines on how to avoid online fraudsters, which can be found here.
“However, anyone using an online service is at risk from scamming attacks.
We encourage all users to report any suspicious activity – further information on how to report a page can be found here,” says Mr McDonnell.
While these scammers are based offshore, Police are aware of people ‘employed’ in NZ to work for them, who are operating as money mules by engaging in illegal money laundering activity.
The person in NZ is often enlisted by the scammers for ‘marketing’ of the page and that person receives deposits to their account, which they are told to transfer as payments into offshore accounts.
The scammers claim the deposits are refunds for product that is unable to be provided, however the funds are actually deposits from people who believe that they are purchasing mobiles and laptops from the company on the fake Facebook page.
Detective Senior Sergeant Doell says Police want to urge the public to be aware of money laundering, and anyone who knowingly has money put into their account for the purpose of transferring funds offshore risks being prosecuted.
“Anyone who is asked to partake in such activity is warned to not get involved.
“If any funds are put into your account from an unknown source, you should contact your bank immediately.”