By Claire Corrigan
The latest scam in the Midlands area is someone pretending to be from a professional courier service calling in order to extract bank details to cover the cost of transporting items from people who are selling them on an Irish online marketplace.
Mullingar reader John Menton told Topic that he nearly fell victim to such a scam last week, but became suspicious due to the location of the potential buyer and also due to the size of the item he wished to sell.
He believed it was doubtful that the courier company mentioned by the caller would deliver the bulky range that he was selling. The caller wanted his bank details to pay for its transport to Limerick.
John told us: “I put an ad on DoneDeal about a week ago and I received a WhatsApp message from a lassie who claimed that she was interested in buying. Then she asked me where I was and I informed her I was in Mullingar, and she said she was in Limerick but she was still very interested.
“That rang alarm bells because it is the kind of thing that you’d want to look at before buying to make sure it was working.”
He subsequently contacted the courier company in Athlone regarding the maximum weight they would deliver. “They said that the largest package they would deliver is 30kg. I told them the story and said this range would be over 300kg and would take at least four men to lift it.”
John then contacted the woman again in order to try and identify her, but she realised she had been rumbled. “She said that she deals regularly with the courier company and that there would be no problem, and she would forward the necessary details.
“That was where the scam was probably going to come from – that she would take money out of my account (for the cost of transporting the range) if I gave her my details, I’d imagine.”
He said the official from the company said that they have received a number of calls relating to activity like this. “They said this type of scam has happened regularly in the Westmeath area of late. I rarely put an ad online but because we are going to put it new central heating system, I put the range up on DoneDeal.
“Professional couriers would deliver packages but it would never be anything of a significant weight. That’s what raised alarm bells with me.”