Public needs to be cautious when purchasing items online

By Angela Brown
March 9, 2017 - 12:00pm

Police want to remind local residents using Kijiji and other online shoppers’ sites to be careful when conducting transactions online to make sure they don’t become victims of fraud.

North Battleford RCMP Cpl. Jeff Carter said while he hasn’t received any recent local reports of scams on Kijiji targeting residents, he is aware of scams on Kijiji from around the country.

He advises the public to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre if they have been defrauded.

The officer recommends people take heed of the old adage: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Carter said the RCMP doesn’t have any issues with Kijiji itself, but knows fraud can occur, similar to any other online buying site.

“People are allowed to post ads on there for whatever,” Carter said. “I’m not sure if there is a way to fact check to make sure it is a legitimate sale or offering. If you respond and are defrauded, then it becomes an issue for the RCMP. But there is not much we can do about people posting these ads on Kijiji. You just have to educate yourself and be aware of what to look for.”

The officer said the majority of calls the RCMP receive complaints about relate to cases where the buyer sends a cheque to the person selling an item that is more than the cost of the product. When the seller cashes the fraudulent cheque and sends back the money, he become the victim of fraud.

“Unfortunately, the cheque or money order is bogus and the victims are out that money because they are the ones who cashed it at the bank. There is no way to trace the cheque because it’s a fake cheque,” explains Carter.

Carter recommends people verify the name of the person they are dealing with on Kijiji and the sale advertised by doing a simple Google search to see if the results show anything suspicious.  

The local RCMP have followed up on seven fraud cases in the past couple of weeks, although they were not related to Kijiji. Many of the complaints police receive are from people saying they received a call from someone posing as a Canada Revenue Agency representative asking for personal information for possible identity theft cases. They haven’t received any complaints of late related to Internet buyers’ sites. Carter said people should be aware Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t contact people by phone so they shouldn’t give out their person information to callers.

While the police are not able to monitor Kijiji activities because of the vast number of postings on the site, they do respond to any reports or concerns from residents.

The local RCMP do continue to monitor local pawn shops, however, to keep track of goods these establishments purchase from customers for re-sale when police receive reports of thefts in the area.

Law enforcers don’t have a way to track all the products on global online sites such as Kijiji however.

“I don’t know how someone could monitor Kijiji because it’s very difficult to track the real ones (legitimate ads) from the fake ones,” Carter added. 


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