A fraudster is wanted by police who say he has scammed
$30,000 from Trade Me users by texting them and offering them
Police say Joshua Colin Calthorpe, 32, does not have his own
account on the auction site, but trawls through other users'
listings to find victims.
He targets people who have left their contact details in the
question and answer section of an auction - usually for
"He views the auction listings and records the contact
details of the interested buyers. He will then text or email
them posing to be the seller from the auction they expressed
interest in," said Counties Manukau police spokeswoman
"He then offers them a deal they can't refuse, provided it is
done outside of Trade Me so he 'doesn't have to pay the Trade
Me fee'. They then deposit the money into his bank account
but never receive the iPhone."
Calthorpe has previously been convicted of 45 similar fraud
charges. He has two active warrants out for his arrest for
breaching court release conditions. He is also wanted for 19
"The cost of his recent offending is approximately $30,000,"
said Ms Gates-Bowey.
Calthorpe featured in the Herald last month among the 40
most-wanted offenders in the Counties Manukau district.
Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy said it was not
the first time Calthorpe, who also used the last name
Taorei-Calthorpe, had scammed users.
"We are aware that he is actively attempting to contact Trade
Me members leaving their details on the site, and we have
laid further police complaints relating to his most recent
scam attempts," Mr Duffy said, adding that scammers were
banned from having Trade Me memberships.
"It can be tempting to bend the rules and leave contact
details in the question and answer section of listings to try
to push through a quick sale. Unfortunately, this leaves you
vulnerable to text scamming."
- Anna Leask of the New Zealand Herald