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A BRIT photographer was scammed out of £700 on his own doorstep after selling a mobile phone online.

According to Chronicle Live, Chris Gray believes he fell victim to the sinister ploy after he was tricked into using a fake banking app.

Just last month, West Yorkshire Police warned of a new scam that uses phoney finance apps to swindle people's cash.

Chris, from Howdon in Tyne and Wear, was hoodwinked by a scammer who bought an expensive smartphone from him online.

As agreed in social media messages, the buyer turned up at the 33-year-old's home to pick up the device and complete the sale.

They agreed to pay a £700 bank transfer using a mobile app in front of Chris.

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Gray says the app appeared to display the agreed sum being sent to his bank account.

However, it turns out that the app was fake and the money never arrived.

Gray is an IT graduate and describes himself as tech-savvy – the sort of person unlikely to fall for a digital scam.

He asked the buyer to wait around for the money to go through to ensure that the sale was completed.

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However, after it hadn't arrived for 20 minutes, he performed a quick Google search and, seeing that the transaction could take "up to two hours" to complete, sent the buyer on their way.

Chris believes that the buyer used a fake mobile banking app to make the transfer, as the money never arrived.

He later messages the buyer on social media to ask for proof that the transfer had been completed.

The buyer replied saying they would try to get one for him.

But when Chris contacted the buyer again, they had blocked him on social media.

He has reported the incident to the police and hopes that by sharing his experience he prevents other people from falling for the scam.

Chris said: "I'm aware of a lot of scams that are about and I never thought I would fall victim to one. I don't want anyone else to fall victim like I have.

"These days you have people struggling to feed themselves and pay their energy bills but then you have people stealing money from people who could really need it. For some people, £700 is like a month's wage."

West Yorkshire Police highlighted a rise in fake banking app scams in a report last month.

"When a meeting takes place to hand over the item being sold, the victim puts their bank details into a fake app on the criminal’s phone," they said.

"It then produces a screen which makes it appear that the money has been successfully transferred.

"But when the victim then checks their account, they find that the funds haven’t actually transferred.

"The criminal then pretends to call his bank saying that it takes up to two hours for the funds to show. But the money is never received by the victim."

Cops recommended that people selling goods online check buyers' review histories and feedback from other reviewers.

"Beware of accounts that may have been set up very recently with lots of favourable feedback that sounds similar, this could be an indication of fake reviews," they said.

"Always use the site’s recommended payment site (such as PayPal) and read the terms and conditions to understand what you are protected for. If you pay any other way than via a recommended payment site, you may not be able to recover your money.

"If you make payments in cash, consider carrying this out at your or the seller’s bank premises for added protection.

"Avoid direct bank transfers where possible. Use known third party payment providers after checking terms and conditions.

"If payment is made via bank transfer, always check with your own bank if any payment is shown pending.

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"Keep hold of any property until you have received confirmation from your bank that the payment has been received successfully.

"Trust your instincts, decline the sale if you have any doubts."

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