RAYNE, La. (KLFY) — Fraud on Facebook. The Rayne Police Department is warning citizens not to fall prey to a Facebook Marketplace scam.
Rayne Police say they’ve received several complaints of theft by fraud recently, but there are things you can do to prevent becoming a victim.
“I felt like I wouldn’t be that person,” Odessa Hancock admitted. She is one of several people filing a report to the Rayne Police Department (RPD) after a purchase made on Facebook Marketplace took their money but gave nothing in exchange.
Captain Tony Olinger said RPD received at least four complaints and they all have some things in common.
“It’s always $100 or less, and it’s never more than that, and usually if it’s a big item like a large refrigerator or a washer they ask for a deposit toward the item,” Olinger said.
The scammer will usually ask for payment through an app or gift card which doesn’t offer protection against scams. Olinger said Facebook Checkout and PayPal do. The best protection is to only operate locally where you can see the item in person and make an exchange in a public place.
According to Captain Olinger, “You have to be able to protect yourself and be able to recoup the money if it is a scam, and that definitely is a red flag, or if you get an item worth a lot of money for a lot less, it’s usually too good to be true.”
Hancokc said “That’s what it was, and I was wary, but you know I did my research. I came back. It was like a day later. I looked at it again. I was like, ‘Let me see what happens, and I got bamboozled.”
The seller’s account is usually deleted soon after the payment is received making it difficult for law enforcement to track. Many culprits are tracked overseas where local law enforcement has no legal authority to make arrests.
Hancock said she is not embarrassed. She wants others not to make the mistake she did. “I just want people to be really careful. I’m a really careful person anyways, and I felt like crap that I got got.”
After her experience, Hancock is avoiding Facebook Marketplace entirely. Another tip from the police is to buy from well-reviewed sellers. If they just created an account a month ago, for example, that’s a red flag that you want to stay away from.