Warning signs of a new fake banking app scam on social media ‘marketplaces’

Police are warning of a new fake banking app scam targeting people via social media.

West Yorkshire Police say criminals are using the scheme to extort money from those selling goods on social media websites and ‘marketplaces’.

Fraudsters use a fake banking app that makes it look like money has been transferred when in fact it hasn’t.

When a meeting is held to hand over the sold item, the victim inserts their bank details into a fake app on the criminal’s phone.

It then produces a screen that looks like all money has been transferred successfully.

But when the victim then checks his account, he finds that the funds have not been transferred.

The scammer will then pretend to call their bank, when told that it could take up to two hours for the funds to appear – but they are never received.

Officers from the West Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit have issued the following advice to avoid falling victim to the scam:

  • Check review history and buyer feedback – beware of accounts that may have been created very recently with many favorable reviews that seem similar.
  • Always use the payment site recommended by the site, such as PayPal, and read the terms and conditions to understand what you are protected for. If you pay other than through a recommended payment site, you may not be able to get your money back.
  • If you make cash payments, consider doing so at your home or at the seller’s bank premises for added protection.
  • Avoid direct bank transfers whenever possible. Use known third-party payment providers after checking the terms and conditions.
  • If payment is made by bank transfer, always check with your own bank if a payment is pending.
  • Hold all goods until you have received confirmation from your bank that payment has been successfully received.
  • Trust your instincts, refuse the sale if you have any doubts.

Police also urged people to stick to the originally agreed meeting place, not to hand over any goods until the money is in your account, and to avoid letting the buyer rush you before payment has not been made.

You can call the force on 101 to report an incident or go online to westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat

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