Buyers warned about online shopping “minefield” after Lowestoft teenager’s £13,000 internet fraud on Facebook

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Shoppers have been warned about the 'minefield' of buying online after a Lowestoft teenager carried out £13,000 of internet fraud on Facebook.

Joshua Jones, 18, of Arnold Street, Lowestoft, offered concert tickets and electrical items such as iPads and mobile phones for sale that did not exist over 113 transactions.

He was sentenced last year to 24 months detention, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work in the community.

He had admitted fraud by false representation in relation to the internet fraud and a separate offence of fraud relating to a mobile phone he obtained by giving a false name. He also admitted an offence of burglary at his grandmother's home.

However he was ordered to pay a nominal £1 confiscation order after Ipswich Crown Court heard he had no available assets.

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After the hearing on Monday, January 26 Graham Crisp, assistant county trading standards officer at Suffolk County Council, said that although people should not be discouraged from shopping online, they should be aware of the risks.

'It's a minefield but, at the same time, we want people to be conifdent in using the internet to get good value, see what's on sale in the high street and get the best prices,' he said.

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'The problem is there are so many types of internet fraud and you have got to be very cautious.

'The general advice is to only buy from people or businesses you know and trust. A lot of people have been taking chances, thinking they are getting a good deal. If it sounds too good to be true, it often is.'

He also urged people to only buy from sites with proper online payment protection and said that while trading standards officers are 'determined to take action where we can', the difficulty is now keeping up eith online fraudsters different scamming techniques as technology evolves.

Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee added: 'Internet crime is more prevalent now and is very much a part of modern life. It is something the county council would recommend people are very wary of.

'If at any time you're unsure about what you're being contact the council's trading standards service. It's something that trading standards takes very seriously.'

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