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Pawnbroker spots Facebook scam
12:00pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in News
A PAWNBROKER spotted a scam on Facebook where a company was trading under its name.
The con affected people who were trying to buy from Essex Cash Xchange, in Ness Road, Shoebury.
The victims would pay for the goods via Paypal in good faith, but they would never receive their items.
The owner of the shop, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “They used our shop name and they put on their page our full address and phone number.
“We found out because a lady from Yorkshire rang us and asked to speak to ‘Joe’ but nobody with that name works here.”
It turned out the woman had been conned out of her money.
Another man then came into the shop asking where his headphones were -only to discover he had been conned.
The matter was reported to police and soon Essex Cash XChange saw their details had been pulled off the Facebook page.
But instead the company was now proporting to be Cash-In-Hand, which has shop branches in Queen Street, Colchester, and New Street, Braintree.
It even used a picture of the shop to make it seem more genuine - while flogging iPhones and Xboxes.
Branch manager Kevin Fisher was alerted by Essex Cash XChange about the scam.
He said: “We want everyone to know this is not us. “We don’t sell stuff through our Facebook page. If you are unsure then please ring the store.
“Hopefully the police will be able to trace them before it drags our reputation through the mud.”
The fake profile claims to be from Hales, Norfolk, and Cash-In-Hand’s genuine account does not sell goods via PayPal.
No local victims have come forward but people as far away as Kings Lynn and Bristol have complained, demanding the goods they have paid for.
Mr Fisher reported the scam to both Facebook and the police and it is now being investigated by the Home Office’s anti-fraud squad, Action Fraud.
A spokesman said: “It is too early to comment on this specific case."
He added: “If you are a victim of shopping or auction fraud, the most immediate problem is that you have no real prospect of returning the goods or having your money refunded.
“If the seller has misrepresented the goods you’ve bought, report the fraud to Action Fraud.”