Warning After Scammers Buy Facebook Marketplace Items Using Fake Banking App

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A watch collector who was scammed by men using a fake banking app discovered that other victims fell prey to the same trick.

Steve Bower, who lives in Hugglescote, was selling a few watches from his collection and two men came to his house to buy one for £ 750. After Steve’s wife Rachel entered her bank details into their banking app over the phone, the money appeared to send but did not call on her account.

She called her bank and was told it could take up to two hours for the money to appear in her account, so she let the men – who said they were in a hurry – leave with the Tag Heuer watch.

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After posting the scam on Facebook, Steve received comments from people across the UK who had the exact same experience selling valuables including phones, watches and laptops.

Steve, 37, said: “I collect watches and I would sell a few to buy a new one and put them up for sale on Facebook.

“A boy said he was interested and I was out when he came to our house with another man.

Rachel showed them the watch and one of them made a wire transfer from the Halifax app on her own phone. She put in her bank details and it all looked pretty legitimate.

“He said the money was sent to his account.”

After the men left and the money never appeared in his wife’s account, Steve told the police what had happened but was told it was a fraud rather than a theft.

He said: “The insurance sucks because they’ve been invited into the house and everything and the police don’t consider it to be theft.

“But there’s a lot about it – I’ve written about it online and I’ve had people all over the place the same has happened to them.”

He said the men spoke with Irish accents and one of them had multiple tattoos. They were driving a silver blue Ford Focus.

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson confirmed that the incident was reported on Tuesday, September 7 to police, who referred it to Action Fraud for review.

Action Fraud said he was unable to say how many similar incidents had been reported, as they were all classified as bank fraud.

A spokesperson for Finance UK, which represents UK banks, urged anyone selling items not to hand them over until the money has been received into their account.

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