ACT Policing is issuing a reminder to the Canberra community to be aware of personal safety when selling mobile phones after phones were stolen from sellers in recent incidents.
In these incidents, sellers arranged to meet with a ‘buyer’ to complete the sale of the item. The buyer asks for the phone to be unlocked to ensure it works correctly, and then they steal it. ACT Policing believes the stolen phones may then be used to conduct other offences.
In some cases, social media accounts were hijacked and data, including personal information, harvested from them.
ACT Policing Officer in Charge of Intelligence, Detective Acting Inspector Paul Reynolds said caution should be a sellers top priority.
“We are investigating several cases where offenders have arranged a face-to-face meeting, only to steal the phone as soon as it was unlocked,” Detective Acting Inspector Reynolds said.
“While phones are valuable, they are also portable. Anyone looking to sell one should do the same as they would any other small but expensive item, and hold onto their property until the sale is complete.”
Police urge anyone selling goods online, especially phones or tablet computers, to take precautions that ensure their personal safety and that of their property.
- Choose a location you are familiar with, preferably a well-lit public area where CCTV is operating, to meet a buyer for the first time or to exchange the goods;
- Avoid meeting in vulnerable areas, including the buyer’s home, your own home, car parks or playing fields, especially after dark;
- Don’t meet alone – if possible, take a friend or family member with you; and
- Plan ahead to have an exit strategy if things don’t feel right. Identify an exit route, and ensure you have access to a telephone to contact police if necessary.
Anyone who has been a victim of this type of incident, or who has information about recent incidents, is urged to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Information can be provided anonymously.
For more information about scams and how to protect yourself, visit the Scamwatch website at https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/