Bandits using Facebook again to lure victims

South­ern Di­vi­sion po­lice are warn­ing about a trend where peo­ple are be­ing robbed af­ter go­ing to view ve­hi­cles ad­ver­tised for sale on so­cial me­dia.

At least two peo­ple fell prey to the cun­ning trap by crim­i­nals with­in the past few days with sev­er­al more in re­cent weeks. Snr Supt Zamsheed Mo­hammed said the trend was wor­ry­ing and has ad­vised peo­ple to use le­git­i­mate means of pur­chas­ing ve­hi­cles. But if they de­cid­ed to use so­cial me­dia as their mar­ket­place, he urged them to meet with the buy­ers at any po­lice sta­tion. 

His warn­ing came on Thurs­day af­ter the San Fer­nan­do Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions De­part­ment ob­served the trend in the rob­beries that oc­curred in the La Ro­maine dis­trict. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that po­ten­tial buy­ers were led to be­lieve that the sell­ers were in­ter­est­ed in le­git­i­mate busi­ness trans­ac­tions, name­ly, the buy­ing and sell­ing of ve­hi­cles through the use of pages on Face­book. The buy­ers would be in­vit­ed to view the ve­hi­cles and giv­en di­rec­tions to se­clud­ed ar­eas in La Ro­maine where they are then robbed at gun­point. Mo­hammed said these ve­hi­cles were be­ing ad­ver­tised at en­tic­ing prices.

The trend isn’t new.

Last Oc­to­ber, more than a dozen peo­ple were lured in­to lone­ly ar­eas and dead-end streets in La Ro­maine and robbed at gun­point. In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieved it was at the hands of a grow­ing crim­i­nal net­work who used Face­book to ad­ver­tise. The of­fers for sale were made through a fake pro­file with the name Ken Brown. The ad­ver­tise­ments were usu­al­ly fea­tured on a page ti­tled Old Mod­el Tri­ni Cars for Sale and showed a Nis­san Sun­ny B-13 for sale in Ram­bert Vil­lage, La Ro­maine.

How­ev­er, po­lice held three men, be­tween the ages of 18 and 19. Al­though the trend had stopped then, it has re­turned in re­cent weeks.

 - by Kevon Felmine

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