EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — East Providence police say they’re investigating a scam on Facebook Marketplace that may be connected to a “highly sophisticated fraud ring.”
The department wrote on Facebook that scammers have been posting to the marketplace claiming to be selling puppies from real addresses in the area and asking for electronic payment via PayPal or Venmo.
Police posted an example of one of these listings:
Chief Christopher Francesconi said police have received several reports of these scams over the past week. To make the operation seem legitimate, he said the scammers are creating fake accounts using real people’s Facebook information and images of their licenses.
Once the scammers get the money — usually around $50 to $125 — they close their PayPal or Venmo account, according to Francesconi. When victims begin asking questions, the Facebook account that made the post gets shuts down too.
“It really is tugging at people’s heartstrings,” Francesconi added. “They’re just trying to scam people out of money.”
Police said if a posting seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“Please be extremely cautious when making electronic purchases/deposits with unknown persons,” the department warned.