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‘Crafty’ scammers use local Summer Markets in latest online pocket-lightening ploy

'I asked them to refund immediately but I knew I didn't have a leg to stand on because I chose 'family and friends'

Tommy Makem Centre (TMAC)

A number of convincing market scams are beginning to appear across community pages and groups prompting one local woman to speak out in an effort to alert others.

The lady – who wishes to remain anonymous – fell prey to the scam, losing £40 through PayPal despite having been relatively aware of the signs.

She explained: “Someone tagged me in the County Armagh Events group and I saw that they had up a Saturday and Sunday in June in the Tommy Makem Arts and Community Centre in Keady. To secure your table you had to send a PayPal transfer.”

The woman – who typically sells perfumes at craft fairs and markets – is no stranger to the scene and at this point saw no cause for concern.

She continued: “I messaged and said I would be interested in a table and they told me to send money through to an email address and asked me to use the ‘family and friends’ option which they always do with the fairs, otherwise they get charged.

“I was in work and they kept phoning me for me to look at messages and when I answered they hung up. But they messaged to say someone else was interested in the table who was selling perfumes which pushed me on so I just sent it.

“I sent £40 and then they said it was £40 for one day and £80 for the two days so I told them to give the money to another girl because I could only commit to one day.

Screenshots of the conversation between the scammer and anonymous vendor

It was at this point that the unassuming vendor began to worry as bizarre requests for more money came through.

“They said ‘no’ and when I asked for a refund and they said they couldn’t refund me but said if I sent the remainder £40 they could refund me the whole amount.

“I asked them to refund immediately but I knew I didn’t have a leg to stand on because I chose ‘family and friends’.

“It was just awfully annoying because that was £40 just gone. I know it’s not a lot but I wanted to put it up online to alert other people.”

Armagh I contacted the Tommy Makem Arts and Community Centre where a representative confirmed that no such event is due to be held.

Dungannon Area Community Group has also issued a post to warn its members of a Summer Fair which a user had posted was to be held on June 29 and 30, at St Andrew’s Killyman Parish Hall.

Touted as a ‘craft market’ those interested in hosting stalls had been asked to forward £40 to hold their place and to contact the organisers via private message.

However, admins warn that this event is not genuine and that users should report instances like this to group admins.

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