Portsmouth police warn of car purchase scam after Gumtree advert leads to vehicle theft in the city and Basingstoke
POLICE are warning residents to be aware of a car purchase scam that has stung residents across the area.
Victims in Portsmouth and Basingstoke had listed their cars for sale on Gumtree and had two men attend a viewing – before the vehicles were stolen shortly afterwards.
Police are now hoping to hear from anyone who has been the victim of similar incidents or has noticed any suspicious behaviour when advertising or selling a vehicle online.
A spokesman from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Enquiries are ongoing into the Portsmouth incident, but we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few simple steps in order to protect yourself when selling a vehicle online. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t seem right, walk away from it.
‘Where possible, try to arrange a first meeting in a safe, public place rather than giving the buyer your home address.
‘If possible, research the buyer and their bidding history or any reviews they have.
‘Ensure your property is secure at all times – make sure your rear fencing is in good repair, lock side gates/windows and doors, remembering to double lock UPVC doors by lifting the handle and turning the key.’
Police also advise keeping all keys out of reach and sight from the letterbox, and resident should consider installing security lighting and a burglar alarm if possible.
Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police by phoning 101, with 999 being dialled in an emergency.
Last week police warned about a scam on Facebook Marketplace in which con artists would pose as buyers of expensive electrical goods, and – by using a mocked-up mobile banking account – convince the sellers that money had been transferred when it had not. They then walk away with items.