A cellphone scam leaving a string of victims out of pocket is being investigated by police.

Offenders have been offering to sell phones, mainly Samsung Galaxies, online before bailing on the deal after receiving a sizeable down payment -- often half the agreed price.

After the payment is made, all communication stops.

Hawke's Bay police were investigating the fraud complaints, most of which came from Auckland although police believed the offenders were moving between Opotiki and Hastings.


Police said it was likely they would keep offending until they were caught.

Detective Kate Hyde reminded online shoppers not to trade with people via text.

"When making purchases online police urge potential buyers to not engage with unknown persons contacting them via text message offering the sale of a cell phone and encourage mediums such as 'Safe-Trader," she said.

Police were looking to speak with 18-year-old Sheryl Duckworth and 34-year-old Harry Broughton who may be able to assist with the investigation.

They or anyone who knows their whereabouts was asked to contact Hastings Police on 06 873 0500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.