A woman forced to sell her late mother’s ring to make ends meet was conned out of hundreds of pounds by an online fraudster based in the borough.
Marie McConnell was scammed to the tune of more than £300 after selling her mother’s ring to an eBay
account which was registered to an address in Atherton.
The 33-year-old, who lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, inherited the three-piece cluster ring from mum Margaret, when she died of cancer aged 77 three years ago.
She had made the heartbreaking decision to sell it in order to ease her financial pressures over the Christmas period.
But after sending the ring in the post, no money was ever sent to her in return. She has now launched a desperate plea to any borough residents who might recognise it, so it can be returned to her.
Marie, a mum to 14-year-old Darragh, said: “I was stuck for Christmas and I was selling it to help me out.
“I had the item up for sale on eBay, then I got an email from this person asking about it, and they asked if they could pay me through PayPal.
“I’d never used PayPal or even eBay before. Everything seemed legitimate. I didn’t realise what was happening,” she added.
After agreeing to the sale, Marie set up a PayPal account and shipped the ring, with the fraudster promising to send payment through right away.
But when she had not received the cash after a few days, alarm bells began to ring for Marie.
“I made contact with PayPal and they told me no payment had been made to my account, and that this sounded like a scam, so I contacted the police in Greater Manchester.”
Officers from GMP went to investigate at the local sorting office, which confirmed that the ring had been collected by the person, believed to be a woman, just hours earlier.
Marie said: “I would like to get the ring back. It was my mum’s, and she passed away three years ago.
“My dad bought it for her for an anniversary gift about 10 years ago. Back then he paid about £700.”
Greater Manchester Police have asked that anyone with information about the fraud to ring them on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
An eBay spokesman said: “If you’ve been defrauded by a seller on eBay or have reason to believe you have discovered stolen goods, we strongly encourage you to contact your local police to report the incident and ensure that you obtain a crime reference number.
“If the police take the matter further, the investigating police officer will contact eBay; we’ll provide the information the police need to help with the investigation.
“The police will decide if it should be investigated as a crime or as a civil dispute. If the police feel that your case doesn’t involve a criminal intent by the other party, it’s possible that they may advise you to take civil action to recover your losses through a county (small claims) court. Advice and information can be found here. Should you require further advice on pursuing civil matters we suggest you contact Citizens Advice consumer service.
“You can report issues via http://www.actionfraud.police.uk”