A teenager from Farley Hill was the victim of an alleged online personal shopper scam.
The 16-year-old girl, who is too embarrassed to be named, was contacted by a man on the Gumtree website after posting an advert saying she was looking for work.
The man said he was a sailor based in Spain and asked her to buy £1,500 worth of shopping for him using Travellers Cheques he posted to her.
The victim’s mother said: “I was suspicious of the cheques so I took them to the bank where they said they were likely to be fakes, and told us one girl in Luton had already fallen for the scam and got a criminal record for fraud. My daughter is lucky she didn’t go through with it. I don’t want anyone else being caught out.”
When someone cashes travellers cheques they must show their ID, so fraudulent ones will be traced back to them.
An Action Fraud spokesperson said: “We advise people to consider employment opportunities like this very carefully. Be aware that schemes like this could be a money laundering scheme by criminals trying to legitimise their illegal gains. If an individual helps them then they are committing a criminal offence.
“We advise that whenever you receive cheques, travellers cheques or Bankers drafts by way of payment, do not assume that they are genuine. Make sure that they have cleared through the banking process before you treat the money as cash.”