In light of recent incidents, HRM Partners in Policing is again reminding citizens to take precautions when buying and selling items through online classified websites.
Police have received numerous complaints from citizens who have recently posted electronic items for sale on online classified websites. In these cases, the seller would be contacted by a potential buyer, and a meeting place to exchange cash for the goods would be arranged. Once at the meeting place, the buyer would claim that they only had a personal cheque. Some sellers chose to go ahead with the transaction, only to have the cheque bounce or be returned as stolen.
To reduce your risk of becoming a victim:
- Meet in well-lit and populated public places, like a coffee shop or grocery store parking lot during business hours.
- Agree to meet in a place that you are comfortable with; don’t be forced to accept a last minute change in location.
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you will be back, or take them along with you.
- If you own a cell phone, take it with you.
- When buying or selling, meet in person and deal with cash.
- Do not give out personal or banking information over the phone or the internet.
- Ask for ID if test driving a car, leave that information behind with someone else.
Most importantly, remember to trust your instincts; if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
Anyone who has been scammed is encouraged to report it to the HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit at 490-1985 or online at https://www.halifax.ca/police/NonDispatch/index.html