Over the past week officers from across Wiltshire and Swindon have been made aware of various incidents where people have sold mobile phones using Facebook Marketplace and been paid with fake notes.
Police have received reports from victims living in Melksham, Chippenham and Swindon and believe they are all linked.
These particular crimes occurred on April 30 and involve the use of counterfeit Bank of England plastic-type polymer £20 notes.
Counterfeit polymer £20s can be readily identified by first checking the hologram which can be found on the front of the note below the see-through window.
Tilt the note from side to side. Check the words change between ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’.
Secondly, look at the metallic image over the main window. Check the foil is gold and blue on the front of the note and silver on the back.
PC Jordan Gratton, from the Trowbridge Area Community Policing Team, said he was now liaising with other agencies, including the National Crime Agency.
He said: “We would urge people to be vigilant when buying or selling items via social media.
“As these incidents show, it is easy to be duped by someone posing as a legitimate buyer who then uses counterfeit currency to scam you.
“Our advice would be to try to check someone’s profile to see if it seems like a genuine person i.e. do they have a profile picture, friends in common or contact information.
“Also, when you receive cash, there are quick checks you can do to ensure the notes aren’t counterfeit. Go to the Bank of England’s website for more information on this.”
Police have also appealed for anyone who lives in the following streets and who may have video doorbell footage or car dash cam footage which could assist their enquiries to get in touch.
The police are interested in footage from residents in Rope Walk, Melksham; Westerleigh Close, Chippenham; Tedder Close, Pinehurst, Swindon, and Charter Road, Chippenham.
If you live in these streets and have footage of some kind, please call PC Gratton on 101, quoting crime reference 54210040959, and he will explain the dates and times that he is interested in.
For guidance about Bank of England Polymer £20s visit https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/20-pound-note
For more guidance from the Bank of England about all their notes visit https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/counterfeit-banknotes/how-to-check-your-banknotes
If you believe you may have been a victim of a similar or related crime then please call Wiltshire Police on 101, or visit our website www.wiltshire.police.uk
If you have information about persons passing, supplying or using counterfeit currency you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.