Police warn of threat of thieves targeting Facebook sellers

The Suffolk Police are warning people who choose to sell motorcycles on Facebook to be wary of thieves after a spate of robberies

THE police are warning the public to be extra wary when selling motorcycles on Facebook after five motorcycles are stolen in just one county over the course of two weeks.

The five thefts occurred between October 27th and November 11th, with the thieves arranging to view the bikes through the Facebook website. In all five cases mentioned above, the thief made off on the bike under the premise of taking it for a test ride before not returning.

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East Anglian Daily Times reports that four of these thefts occurred in the Parkway area of Bury St Edmunds, with the fifth taking place in the Brandon area.

It is also reported that three victims described the thief as a white man, between 5ft 10in and 6ft 2in tall, of a slim build and with short brown hair. Another described the suspect as a black man with a shaved head, while the suspect in Brandon is described as a white man with a scruffy goatee beard who spoke with a local accent.

While the news being reported shines a light on a small area of the UK, the risk to those selling bikes on Facebook is very high. A Facebook profile, bogus or otherwise, can be set up in just a few minutes, and can make it very difficult to get a positive ID on who the perpetrator of the crime really is. There are a few steps that you can take to try and prevent being duped in the future though.

How to avoid being scammed when selling a motorcycle

  • Never allow a test ride without security

It should go without saying but, always get some form of security from the person wanting a test ride, full payment in cash is the best form. Don’t just trust they have handed you the full amount, count it in front of them before handing them the keys.

  • Invite some mates around when the seller is visiting

It goes without saying but, strength in numbers is always a good thing. If there is a group of you there, the potential buyer is less likely to strong-arm a test ride out of you when actually you really don’t want to let them to do it.

  • If you don’t meet at your house, meet on your terms

It’s sensible to now want a stranger to come to your house, they can after all scope out the security of your garage and home while they are viewing the bike. If that’s the case, get them to meet you at a place of your choosing, not of theirs. They may push for a motorway service station for instance, but this is an area that they can easily get to know, lying in wait until you nip to the loo before scooping your bike up and putting it in a van for instance.

Good places to meet are motorcycle dealerships or garages, especially if you know the staff well. Well-known bike cafes are a good spot too, they will (when not in lockdown!) be full of likeminded bikers who all take a very dim view of scamming thieves!

  • Get forensic with their Facebook profile

Take a look at the Facebook or social media profile they have used. If it is very new and they have very few friends, likes, pictures, and posts, it might be a profile that was recently set up, purely for the purposes of scamming people out of their bikes.

  • Don’t be afraid to decline the viewing

If you smell a rat (literally), don’t be afraid to decline the sale and wait for a person to enquire about the bike that doesn’t ring alarm bells.

Comments

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