RCMP warns public to be wary of fraudsters when buying online

Staff ~ The Telegram
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The RCMP is warning the public to be careful when buying items online.
Sgt. Jacques Boucher, an investigator with the RCMP's Atlantic Region Integrated Technological Crime Unit, says that if an add online selling an item sounds too good to be true, be careful.
"We are seeing a rise in people who are being ripped off by on line ads," Boucher said in a news release.
"Look for red flags when you are buying large items online, such as cars and trucks. Websites such as buysell.com, autotrader.ca, kijiji and other similar ones are portals that allow sellers to post free ads, and potential buyers to browse them.
"The larger percentage of the ads on these sites are legitimate. However, because the ads can be posted for free, fraud artists will use these sites to post fake ads in order to try and defraud a potential buyer."
Some red flags to look for:
• The vehicle is being sold for considerably less than others of the same year and model;
• The same vehicle is listed multiple times on the site for various locations across Canada;
• Vehicle is advertised in one geographical location, but when you contact the buyer he/she states it's actually in another province or in the U.S.;
• When you indicate that you'd like to view the vehicle, or have a friend come over and look at it, they tell you that it's already in a shipping crate or make some other excuse;
• Seller displays poor English language skills;
• Seller says they need the money right away;
• The shipping is included in the price.
• Request to send money via MoneyGram, Western Union, or some other such service.
Boucher notes it is the presence of any one of the above potential red flags does not automatically mean it is a fraudulent ad.
"It should, however, cause you to be more diligent and watch for multiple red flags," Boucher said. "Resist the urge to act quickly for fear of losing out on a really good deal. These criminals count on people acting in haste."

Organizations: RCMP, Western Union

Geographic location: Canada, U.S.

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Recent comments

  • Joseph
    June 25, 2012 - 13:22

    Thanks for writing this post. I am so glad that you wrote about the dangers of buying items online. There are definitely plenty of benefits to buying online, but at the same time, there are way too many scams that go on. People need to realize that you can't just go and buy a utility trailer off of a website....

  • mercedes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    WE are so used to fraud now in every facet of life that we'd be crazy if we weren't wary of the internet!

  • Ulf
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Great post.

    Perhaps I can just add to this that the best way to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions of any kind, Craigslist and eBay includedand whether seller or buyeris to use a *bona fide* online escrow company. Especially for pricier items like antiques, jewelry and autos. Although it does add some cost, it takes the uncertainty out of the transaction, and thats a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is probably Escrow.com (http://escrow.com). In fact, its the only one that eBay recommends, and is the only online escrow company that is licensed to provide escrow services all across the United States.

    Take care,

    Ulf Wolf

  • mercedes
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    WE are so used to fraud now in every facet of life that we'd be crazy if we weren't wary of the internet!

  • Ulf
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Great post.

    Perhaps I can just add to this that the best way to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions of any kind, Craigslist and eBay includedand whether seller or buyeris to use a *bona fide* online escrow company. Especially for pricier items like antiques, jewelry and autos. Although it does add some cost, it takes the uncertainty out of the transaction, and thats a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is probably Escrow.com (http://escrow.com). In fact, its the only one that eBay recommends, and is the only online escrow company that is licensed to provide escrow services all across the United States.

    Take care,

    Ulf Wolf