A COUPLE who thought they were meeting a pregnant woman to buy a car found themselves confronted by knife- wielding thugs.
Gardai have appealed to people who buy or sell items over the internet to be extremely cautious of an ongoing scam.
Officers are investigating a spate of crimes where people have been attacked after agreeing to meet someone following an online deal.
In the latest incident publicised by gardai, a couple were robbed in a car park in Athy, Co Kildare. The two male thieves fled with their cash along the canal towards Lennon's Bridge.
A source said: "This couple thought they were dealing with a pregnant mother-of-three who said she owned the Ford Focus they were interested in buying at a great price but, instead, they were robbed of their cash and left in a very traumatised state.
"The owner told them there was a lot of interest in the car so, if they were keen to buy, they should bring cash and, unfortunately, this turned out to be a big mistake for them. Figures show that this type of crime is increasing all the time."
In March, the Herald revealed that a doctor who was selling a Rolex watch online was shot at by a gunman who came to his home on an estate in Clonee, Dublin, with an accomplice.
When the seller opened the door, both men attempted to take the Rolex from him.
When the man refused to give them the watch, the gunman fired at least four shots in his direction.
The victim, Dr Umar Al Qadri, had advertised the watch on the donedeal.ie website.
In an even more horrific incident in April, a young mother was brutally sexually assaulted in her home when she answered an online advertisement for a cleaner.
The Tallaght mother-of-one had arranged to meet a man after she applied for a position that was advertised on a well-known 'jobs vacant' website.
She gave the man her home address and, when he called, they spoke briefly before he began pushing her about her sitting room. He then sexually assaulted her.
The woman resisted and the man ran from the house before calmly walking to a car that had been parked nearby.
A reconstruction of the Kildare incident will feature on Crimecall tomorrow night at 9.35pm on RTE One.