Cape Town - With the festive season around the corner, scammers are crawling out of the woodwork to lure unsuspecting buyers by using non-existent goods – only to rob them.
The Facebook Marketplace robbers are at it again and the police have cautioned Cape Town residents not to fall victim to their scams.
Four people were robbed of their money in Lower Crossroads recently.
Philippi East police communications officer Granville Meyer told the Cape Argus that these incidents happened in the past few weeks.
“Just yesterday morning, I was informed by the detectives that someone saw a trumpet on Marketplace and drove to the township and they were robbed.
“There was a person who was attacked while trying to sell a guitar. They then came to the police station and reported the crime. I asked why they didn’t meet up in front of the police station and why they felt it was safe to go to meet the buyer alone.”
Meyer said they have communicated to people that they should refrain from buying items in this way.
“Another buyer came to report that scammers took his R8000. He saw a boat which is normally to the value of R80000 and he thought he would come and get it.
“He gave the seller money, and the suspect said he was going to get the boat from his brothers and that was the last time the victim saw him.”
Another man went to buy a drone, which was sold for R5000.
“People need to identify scams. Why would you go to buy a drone in Brown’s Farm. This has been all over the news, don’t go buy goods in such areas because it has been shown that people get robbed in them.
“We wish to warn people again, go to the police station even if the advert is real, rather be safe than sorry.”
Tiktoker @disnoulenou relived his horrific experience in Brown’s Farm when he went to buy an item.
“Tuesday, August 15 myself and a good friend drove to Philippi with the impression that we were going to buy a part that we found on Facebook Marketplace.
“On our way the directions were changed and we ended up at a house (in Bristol Street).
“A guy then came around the corner, I guess he was 17 years old, and he showed us that we should just go around the corner and park out of the way. I then got out and I had a moon bag in front of my chest and in the moon bag was R5 000 cash.”
The suspects robbed them at knife and gunpoint.
@disnoulenou FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE WAARSKUWING Daar is n sindikaat wat mense uitlok en vermoor deur Marketplace. Share asb en waarsku jou mense 🖤 #afrikaans #capetownfyp #fypcapetown #sabcnews #syndicate #robbery #murder #philipi #brownsfarm #southafricancitizens #southafricans #westerncapecrime #westerncape ♬ original sound - Noulen Basson
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said they were concerned about the number of cases reported where people who have used online platforms to advertise their goods fall victim to robberies or more serious crime after being lured by criminals acting as buyers to make a delivery in certain areas.
“It is advised to arrange a meeting with a potential buyer at a public place at a time when people are around or even in front of a police station. If the caller has an ulterior motive, he or she will in all probability make an alternative suggestion, which should raise a red flag.
“The SAPS by no means discourages people from making use of online advertising platforms, but to exercise caution when doing so to prevent becoming a criminal’s next victim.”