An alleged serial fraudster went on a four-month crime spree in which he used a popular online marketplace to trick victims into trying to sell him products, police say.
The Melbourne man, who is in custody, faces 65 charges, including the alleged theft and taking of a $2,000 mobile phone that he claimed he was interested in purchasing from sellers on Facebook’s Marketplace.
Footage of the incident from two months ago shows the man meeting two men on the pretext of buying the phone, but instead he snatches it from the seller’s hand and runs down the street.
Nigel Phair, professor in the Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity at Monash University, said Seven news that not all thefts related to online platforms were high-tech.
A Melbourne man faces more than 60 charges over what police allege was a four-month crime spree using Facebook Marketplace
“Some of the scams are more sophisticated, but others simply rely on old confidence tricks,” he said.
“When there is a physical exchange, always meet that person in a public place, tell people you are going there, and actually bring other people with you.”
I call Online marketplaces invest much more money in their trust and security mechanisms.
“They need to remove those fake profiles and remove the legitimate profiles where people are scammers,” he said.
‘Australians are a rich jurisdiction. We love being online and we love buying and selling online.
In one of the alleged crimes, he pretended to be the buyer of a $2,000 mobile phone, but simply snatched it from the seller’s hands and ran.
“Criminals internationally and in Australia know this and are taking advantage of our vulnerabilities.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch service said it received 301,791 scam reports in 2023, up 26 per cent on 2022.
This represented financial losses totaling more than $480 million.