Online clothes sellers targeted by ‘creepy men asking for sex’ as inappropriate messages boom during lockdown

WOMEN trying to make some extra cash during lockdown are being targeted by creeps who send messages asking for sex, an investigation has revealed.

BBC spoke to sellers on Facebook, Instagram, eBay and Depop, who revealed a worrying trend – one which is worsening during lockdown.

"During lockdown, the messages have gotten really creepy," said Sara Faye, who has sold her clothes on Depop for years.

Sara's been forced to stop putting images of herself on the site because of the crude messages – asking her how many times things have been worn and if they're "dirty".

She added: "Don't message me on an innocent second-hand website, just because you can see a hot girl in the photos.

"It feels like a violation, you should be able to sell your clothes online without getting harassed."

Lovely's Vintage Emporium owner Lynette Peck says she gets several inappropriate messages every week – as well as explicit photos sent on Facebook Messenger.

She said: "I get a lot of messages about the model, especially if there are shirts with close-up images.

"I had a fetishist asking what (shoes) smelt like, who wore them and if I could take a photo of myself wearing them."

What to do if you’re targeted & how the sites are responding

Some of the women the BBC spoke to said they hadn't reported the messages because they were "embarrassed", "ashamed" or "didn't want to risk losing their accounts".

Others successfully blocked and reported profiles.

Facebook, Instagram, Depop and eBay all said they take these kinds of messages seriously and would take action against those who violated policy.

They all urged users to report and block any accounts which break the rules.

Facebook – which also owns Instagram – said it has built a "global safety and security team as well as powerful technology" to remove accounts as quickly as possible.

Depop said it aims to respond to 95% reports of inappropriate behaviour within three hours, during business hours.

Naomi Edmondson, who runs lingerie brand Edge o'Beyond said they are "bombarded" by messages from creeps, often asking for sex.

She added: "We get so many creepy messages and comments it's too time-consuming to report them all. A few times I have felt concerned for safety.

"We create lingerie to empower women, we do not welcome the minority of men who think it's acceptable to send explicit pictures."

Earlier this week, a mum-of-six's dating profile went viral as she demanded husband-material only… but that’s not why people are talking.

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