A 19-year-old Auckland man is facing charges following a series of alleged fake computer sales on various buy, sell and trade Facebook pages throughout the country, police say.
Isaac James Culmer, who also went by the names Isaac Calmer, Isaac James or James Culmer, had also been using the Facebook name "Sumwone Speshal" while allegedly advertising a Mac Book Pro for sale.
The advertisements said the seller wanted about $650 for the notebook, which was in excellent condition, because he needed money fast. The ad also said the mac Book Pro had run out of warranty but for an extra $300 it could be extended for 12 months.
Culmer was alleged to have provided potential buyers with a copy of his hospitality ID card with his name, and also his phone number.
Once the buyer had deposited the money he was then alleged to have couriered them an empty track and trace bag.
North Shore Police said they believed there might be others who had been caught in the alleged scam and would like to hear from them.
"Enquiries so far have established that the alleged offending has taken place over the past 8-12 weeks but we believe there could be others who've dealt with the accused as far back as 12 months ago, and we need to hear from anyone else who has paid money for a computer from Isaac Culmer and never received it," Sergeant Mike Flatt said.
"So far we have a total of 17 cases.
"We're collating them here on the North Shore but we have victims from across the country including Papamoa, Tokoroa, Katikati, Auckland, Wairoa, Waikanae and Queenstown."
The downside of buying items on Facebook pages was that buyers needed to be extremely careful who they bought from, Mr Flatt said.
"They're heavily reliant on people's honesty and offer little to nothing in the way of screening their vendors.
"There's no such as thing as a 'gentleman's agreement' any more, and it can be very difficult to get your money back if someone doesn't give you what you paid for."
Anyone wanting to contact the enquiry team with information related to Culmer could call 0508 596 739.
Culmer will appear in the North Shore District Court tomorrow.