Action Fraud says e-scooter scams are a growing problem with 350 reports last year of bogus sales where scooters never arrived
Almost £150,000 has been lost by people attempting to buy e-scooters that are never delivered.
Despite a ban on the electric scooters in public places their rise in popularity is leading to growing numbers of bogus sales, says Action Fraud.
Victims reporting suspected scams to the National Cyber Security Centre say they are being caught out ordering from bogus companies selling e-scooters on fake websites only to find the order never arrives and when they return to the website they bought from they find it has disappeared or been shut down.
Officers have also received numerous reports of individual sellers offering e-scooters for sale via online market places and social media platforms, taking payment, and then failing to deliver the scooter once the money has been sent.
Owning or trying to buy an e-scooter is not illegal.
But unless you're living in an area where a government backed trial of the up and coming mode of transport is taking place then riding them on public roads, pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas currently remains illegal.
Those caught breaking the law could face a fine or points on their driving licence while police can also seize the scooter.
But despite the restrictions on where they can be used the popularity of electric scooters has continued to increase with more and more people buying them, which you are allowed to use on your own private land.
Since the start of 2021 Action Fraud estimates that over £145,000 has been lost by unsuspecting victims trying to buy themselves new wheels and more than 350 reports have been compiled where people have been caught out by a scam sale.
Those wishing to shop for a scooter, says Action Fraud, should exercise the same caution as they might for any other online purchase.
This includes using a credit card if you have one when it comes to paying for items or using an online payment provider such as PayPal which can offer additional security and protection.
If you're unsure about the legitimacy of the product listing then it is advisable to arrange to meet the seller in person to inspect what you want to buy and be cautious if the seller asks for unusual details from you such as the name of your former primary school or mother's maiden name.
Anyone who has visited a website they then suspect might be a scam should report it to the National Cyber Securuty Centre here and if you've lost money to an online shopping scam then report it to your bank straight away and report it as a crime to Action Fraud.