A couple from Leek have been duped out of £2,000 after falling victim to an online scam when they tried to purchase a Mercedes Sprinter van.
Stephen and Renata Bradeley, from Leek, travelled by train to Cambridgeshire to complete the purchase of the £4,000 van after paying £2,000 up front.
However, on arrival they failed to seal the deal as neither the seller or the van showed up.
English tutor Stephen, 65, said: “I had called the guy and agreed on a price. He told me that somebody else was interested and if I paid him a deposit it was mine.
“I got on my phone, put his details in, and it came up as a bank account match. I paid him 50 per cent upfront and arranged to pick the van up.
“We had two or three conversations on the phone. When we got to Cambridge I messaged him and called him and there was nothing, I started to get a bit worried.
“When we arrived at the address, there was no van and no person.
“We knocked on a neighbour’s house and she instantly shouted to her husband ‘Dave, there’s another one’. It turns out we were the eighth that weekend to pick the same van up.”
All eight victims have now started a WhatsApp group – and even more victims have since come forward.
Action Fraud UK statistics show 16,352 people have fallen victim to online shopping and auction fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.