A woman is thousands of pounds out of pocket after she fell victim to Facebook Marketplace scammers who sold her a garden office which was never delivered.

Beauty therapist Lucy Fletcher, 46, bought a £3,600 ready built shipping container office from a man after spotting the listing online.

She transferred the cash after exchanging messages and phone calls - and receiving official looking invoices on business headed paper.

But the office was never delivered and now she's out of pocket - for the £3,600 office, loss of earnings, and buying and converting a new container.

To make matters worse she'd burned her old office to make room for the new one - and her bank will only refund half the amount.

News Shopper: Beauty therapist Lucy Fletcher is thousands of pounds out of pocket after she fell victim to Facebook Marketplace scammersBeauty therapist Lucy Fletcher is thousands of pounds out of pocket after she fell victim to Facebook Marketplace scammers (Image: SWNS)

Lucy is speaking out after a recent study showed the number of scams on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp surging.

Lucy said: “I feel really vulnerable now - this guy now has my address, he’s had a lot of my money and I've lost out on work, so I’ve lost business as well.

“It was just how professional the scammers were – I had no reason to doubt any of it at all.

“The emotional stress has been unbelievable. It’s been an absolute mess.

“If I've been scammed – and I think I'm quite switched onto it – if other people aren’t already then they need to be more aware basically.”

Lucy wanted to upgrade to her beauty therapy studio so she could offer laser hair removal.

The seller on Facebook said the room would be delivered to her property and provided her a quote from a business email address on headed paper.

She also received an invoice on headed paper with bank details – and when she transferred the money, the details matched with a business bank account.

Before the transfer was completed, Santander rang Lucy to check she was happy to go ahead and she confirmed she was.

After the payment had been made, Lucy arranged delivery on July 24 - but five days on she hadn't heard from the seller.

On the day of delivery, she was told the salesman she had spoken to was out of office.

Then her husband called and he was told the container was on the way.

But it never arrived.

Lucy has been unable to work because she demolished her old studio to make way for the new one.

She said when she complained to Santander they told her they weren’t going to refund her as they called to check she was happy, and suggested she should have checked Trustpilot.

Lucy feels Santander should have told her what checks to do to make sure the business was legitimate.

Lucy said: “I feel really annoyed – Santander should have given me a bit more security other than ‘are you happy with this’.

"They should have said we won't process this until you’ve checked Trustpilot.”

A spokesperson for Santander said: “Our fraud prevention measures detected that this transaction was potentially fraudulent and blocked the initial payment.

"However, following a phone conversation with Mrs Fletcher the payment was completed.

"We have thoroughly reviewed this case and in line with the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code, given the specific circumstances, have offered to reimburse half of the money lost to Mrs Fletcher.”