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We are urging those selling high value off-road motorcycles, quad-bikes and ATVs online, particularly on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, to be vigilant following a number of reports of thefts or attempted thefts.
It comes after numerous sellers have received a call or message from people pretending to be ‘buyers’ and requesting an image or a video of the vehicle engine running from the seller.
Those pretending to be ‘buyers’ have then extracted the image metadata – which allows users to see when and where the image or video was taken – allowing the bike to be pinpointed to a specific location. The vehicles are then targeted by criminals and are often stolen or attempts made to steal the vehicles.
We know online buying and selling sites have grown in popularity in recent months, however we want to remind people to please be vigilant when selling items in this way.
Our advice would be:
• Ensure that ‘location’ settings are switched off on your mobile device / camera if you’re then sending images to prospective ‘buyers’; this would mitigate against the location metadata being extracted and the vehicle located
• If asked for additional images or videos from prospective buyers, upload them directly to your online listing; do not send them directly.
• Do not provide you home or work address to buyers; arrange to meet them in a public place or neutral location
• Report any crimes or suspicious activity via our online reporting tool Report a crime | Hampshire Constabulary