Halifax Regional Police reminds citizens of the importance of taking precautions when purchasing items through online classified ad websites.
Police routinely receive complaints from citizens regarding ads on local websites. In 2011, scams associated with online auctions and shopping were the second highest grossing scam, with $8 million in losses reported Canada-wide. Scams includes selling counterfeit or stolen merchandise, the buyer not receiving the items or receiving a product which is of inferior value/quality or is not what it is supposed to be. As well, in some instances personal and/or financial information may be compromised, which could lead to identity theft.
To reduce your risk of becoming a victim of an online scam:
- Ensure that all transactions take place locally and in person.
- When buying or selling, meet in person to see the product and exchange money.
- Meet in well-lit public places with many people around, like a coffee shop or grocery store parking lot.
- Do not give out personal or banking information over the phone or the internet.
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going or take them along with you.
- If you own a cell phone, take it with you.
- Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
Anyone who has been a victim of such a scam 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