Corporal Jodi Shelkie with the Fort St. John RCMP Crime Prevention Unit says the majority of these complaints have resulted from online auctions.
“In the past few weeks some citizens have come to the Fort St. John RCMP to report that they have fraudulently lost money when buying items from online auctions such as Craigslist and Kijiji.”
She adds, “Unfortunately there are people who purposely and fraudulently advertise an item for sale online. Innocent citizens are sending money to the supposed seller expecting to receive the item for a negotiated price only to find that there is no item and the seller cannot be found.”
As a result, Shelkie offers a variety of precautions to take when using online auctions. When buying or selling, a personal meeting is encouraged in order to personally exchange the product and funds. Busy, public places such a coffee shop are an ideal location.
One should never send or wire money to sellers or buyers, which can also include mailing a cheque, or using a payment service such as PayPal or Western Union. Despite the security and convenience of these sites, scammers usually only pretend to use them, and will even go as far as to falsify sales documents from a legitimate company.
Finally, Corporal Shelkie suggests holding the product before handing over any cash.
“A good rule of thumb is to have the item you have purchased in your hand before giving any money to the seller.”
If looking for more information on how to avoid being the victim of a fraud or scam, click here.