Back in 2012 we did a blog post about a fraudster named Joshua Calthorpe. Calthorpe was apprehended by police in January 2013 and faced 19 fraud charges, for which he received a two-year prison sentence for Trade Me-related fraud.
On being released from that stint in the big house, Calthorpe went straight back to his old tricks, ripping off people who place their contact details in the Q&A section of listings.
Calthorpe, who also goes by the name Taorei-Calthorpe, escalated his offending to include aggravated robbery of a Trade Me member and blackmail.
On Friday 24 June 2016, Calthorpe was sentenced to five years and eight months’ jail time for aggravated robbery and blackmail, as well as eighteen months’ jail for multiple counts of obtaining by deception, all of which are to be served concurrently.
We were stoked to see this sentence, as it reflects the serious implications this kind of offending has for victims. A big thumbs-up to the excellent work done by our Trust & Safety team, who worked closely with the NZ Police to help stop this fraudster in his tracks.
Stay safe from scammers
When you find an awesome deal on Trade Me, we know it can be tempting to bend the rules and leave contact details in the Q&A section of listings to try and push through a quick sale.
Unfortunately, this leaves you vulnerable to text scamming. Text scammers are dirt-bag fraudsters who troll auction sites looking to trick people into paying them money for ‘offsite’ transactions, when they are not the actual seller of the item advertised. By leaving your contact details in Q&A, you set yourself up for scammers to scam you.
Scammers like Calthorpe are banned from having Trade Me memberships, so need to convince people to trade offsite for their scams to work.
From our perspective, the best way to prevent offenders like Calthorpe is not leaving your contact details in the Q&A section of listings. Secondly, ALWAYS complete the sale through Trade Me. Sure, this means we collect our success fees, but more importantly, it allows you to be sure you’re actually dealing with the member who has advertised the item for sale. If you’re buying high-value items, you may want to consider restricting your purchases to those sellers offering Pay Now.
Check out this link to learn a few more helpful tips to keeping safe on the site.
Stay safe everyone!