EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police in East Providence are warning residents about a social media scheme that is specifically targeting local crafters and vendors.
The scam stems from a post in a community Facebook group regarding a two-day craft fair at East Providence City Hall next month. It asks anyone who wants to participate to register online and pay a $70 vendor fee.
In his own social media post, Mayor Bob DaSilva advised everyone that the city is “not aware of any such crafts fair.”
“We suspect that this is a face Facebook account,” DaSilva wrote. “There appears to be a legitimate account with the same photo and name out of Texas. We have made attempts to reach out to the real Facebook account owner to make her aware.”
East Providence Police Captain James Nelson tells 12 News there are two red flags to look for when spotting schemes like this one: the way it is written and the location of the event.
“City Hall doesn’t have a huge open area, except for their lobby, which wouldn’t hold that many people,” Nelson explained.
“If the city was to put on an event, they would want it to be the best that it could be,” he continued. “They would put some time and effort into advertising and letting people know.”
Nelson suggested doing some research before responding to a social media advertisement like this one.
“Read the entire add,” he said. “[Look for] some of the links that might stand out, that kind of lead you to believe this may not be going to the actual person posting it.”
So far, no one has filed a police report regarding the post, according to Nelson. He urged anyone who did register and pay the vendor fee to contact the East Providence Police Department immediately, as it could help with their investigation.