E-bikes stolen in Stafford after being advertised online

A woman believes her two electric bikes were stolen after she put them up for sale on an online marketplace.

Rayner, from Stafford, advertised the bikes on Facebook marketplace because she wanted to get models with a smaller frame.

She said she was contacted by a man, thought to be using a fake name, who had asked to come and see the bikes.

After providing her postcode, she said the buyer "never showed up", but both bikes were stolen shortly afterwards.

Meta, the company which operates Facebook, said it worked with Stop Scams UK, a cross-industry group, to identify scams and provided advice to customers on its website.

'Feel quite vulnerable'

That includes advice on how to avoid online scams.

Rayner, who only wanted to give her first name, said one profile had seemed "quite interested" in the bikes and had asked for more information.

"Of course we said yes, [but] we only gave him the postcode and phone number, so that when he got into the street he could give us a call and we could go and find him," she said.

The bikes were then stolen from the shed and conservatory in the garden, with the perpetrators having broken the locks.

The theft has left her feeling quite "vulnerable" and "fed up with things", she said.

Police contacted

"We have a ring doorbell and a locked front gate and it never sounded at all, we checked our camera and nothing on there at all," she added.

She has urged others to be aware of information they give out when selling items online.

Meta said it encouraged Facebook Marketplace users to report people who do not appear to be acting in good faith.

Staffordshire Police has been contacted for a comment.

Meta's advice on avoiding scams

  • Check if the Facebook profile appears new or incomplete, as this could be a sign that the account has been set up for scamming.

  • Check reviews of online sellers to see what previous customers have said.

  • Insist on meeting in a public space to view the product before completing any transaction.

  • Don't hand over money until you see the item for sale, and use payment options that include strong protections, like PayPal.

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