Crafters are being warned about online scammers taking money for bookings as they claim to be hosting makers markets in big city venues.

Social media has been used to connect groups and people for many years but recently scammers have been targeting crafting groups.  

Fake accounts have been posting openings for stallholders at makers markets at big venues, including The Forum in Norwich.

Norwich Evening News: The Forum posted about the recent scam posts which were seen across social media sites The Forum posted about the recent scam posts which were seen across social media sites (Image: Submitted)

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Folk have been paying for their stall only to then find they have been blocked by the account of the apparent organisers.

Staff from The Forum posted warnings on social media last month warning of "a fake Christmas Craft Market" that was being advertised online.

Local councillor Gary Blundell, who represents Costteseey at district and town level, said: “There are loads of events popping up stating they are either as a venue or part of another established event asking people to be stallholders.  

“People pay money over PayPal to find they are suddenly blocked with little chance of getting their money back – it seems to be happening more and more.” 

Norwich Evening News: Costessey district and town councillor Gary BlundellCostessey district and town councillor Gary Blundell (Image: Newsquest)

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Gary said that sometimes there are multiple scam posts a day in city Facebook groups.  

The owner of city craft shop Piglet & Chestnut, Gem Spalding-Tunnicliffe, has also seen these posts popping up more.  

She said: “We have a stall in Chantry Place and often do local events. Unfortunately, this is a prime time of year for these scammers.” 

Recently Gem quizzed one of the scammers about a fake event and says that she has found some telltale signs to indicate it is not real.  

Norwich Evening News: Gem Spalding-Tunnicliffe has shared top tips on how to notice a scammer Gem Spalding-Tunnicliffe has shared top tips on how to notice a scammer (Image: Gem Spalding-Tunnicliffe)

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She said: “I am lucky that I have not been scammed in these instances, however, I really feel for fellow small businesses who are not only paying out for these fake events, but also the huge amount of prep usually required before a big event.  

“It is a significant waste of time and money for them and it would be incredibly disheartening and upsetting.” 

Gem's top tips for sniffing out a scam

  • They will ask you to privately message them rather than share the information publicly.  
  • They require payment via PayPal but only through ‘friends and family’ this gives the payer very little protection.  
  • They will be unable to provide any legitimate website or social media links.  
  • You will also see similarly worded posts by different people as the scammers use fake accounts.
  • They will also rush and pressure you into making a payment ‘before spaces run out’. 

Further information and advice can be found on the Trading Standards section of Norfolk County Council's website.