AN ARMY veteran and his wife from Andover have been left angry after they were scammed, losing more than £1,000 worth of Canon equipment that they were selling through Facebook Marketplace.

Paul and Bev Campbell, who live in Roman Way in Andover, said they realised they had been scammed only after they sent items, including a camera lens worth £700 to a buyer who never paid them the money.

However, despite informing Royal Mail that there has been a scam, the couple was told that the postal service is legally bound to deliver the parcels.

“We are embarrassed and annoyed,” Bev told the Advertiser, as she revealed the details of the scam.

“I am angry because I've been selling online for years. This is the first time we have fallen for something like this. And we were scammed so easily and it was such a lot of money to lose.”

Paul and Bev, aged 67 and 62, first advertised their equipment for sale on Facebook Marketplace on April 11.

They had two people offer the sale price plus postage for the items – one from Leicester and the other from Birmingham.

“They said they banked with this new bank and the money would be released once the tracking number was sent to the buyer,” Bev said.

“It wasn’t until the parcels were on the way and we got home and had a look at the bank to find the money wasn’t deposited at all from either buyer!

“Paul told me he got a horrible feeling that we've been scammed. I said no, it will kind of drop through. After numerous frantic emails back and forth to the buyers, they started saying they would release £600 into our account if we paid £300 for data usage.

“But I said ‘you've caught us once, you ain't gonna catch us twice’. And then the other one said ‘no, I'm a good person, I'm a holy person, I'm a Christian, I believe in the Bible, I'll never scam you’.

“I don't believe that for a minute.”

At this point, Bev phoned Royal Mail but she was shocked to hear they couldn’t stop the parcels, as they were legally bound to deliver them even though they made them aware of the scam and the buyers were actually stealing their property.

“They sympathised, but said they were powerless. All they could do was change the address to a post office drop-off, so they wouldn’t be able to receive the parcels. However, we were told the parcels had been loaded at 3am and dispatched to Birmingham and Leicester!”

The couple then phoned the fraud line and the police. They even went to the Andover police station, but they were no help as the crimes were in Birmingham and Leicestershire.

“I spent two hours calling both area police and they could only report it to the relevant online fraud squad and give us a crime number. What now?

“We have lost £1,000 of camera equipment.”

They also understood later that the Facebook accounts through which the fraudsters had been communicating were also hacked. Royal Mail told the couple that the addresses given by the scammers are 'probably not theirs'.

“The person whose house it has been delivered to has got no idea because the scammer will be standing outside the house with his photo ID. And he'll probably say he is on his way out and show his ID and collect the expensive parcel. And then seconds later, he's gone off with the parcel. The home address owner has no idea and the person whose Facebook account has been hacked has no idea.”

Bev now has a word of advice for people who sell items online.

“Please be super careful when dealing online. My husband doesn’t expect to see his lenses again. We lost a lot of money out of pocket, and we want to warn readers.

“Beware. Online fraud is getting so clever. Even seasoned sellers are getting scammed. I’m sure these two buyers were the same people working as a team. Sellers be careful. Do not send anything until your bank says yes and it’s no longer pending. The better idea is to only deal in cash and collect.”

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