The Lloydminster RCMP is warning people to be careful when buying and selling online after several scams were reported to the detachment.
While a variety of scams relating to interactions on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace have been reported to police, they’re saying two are very common. One is the “Overpayment Scam,” where the scammer sends more money than the for-sale product is worth, using a real-looking cashier’s cheque or E-Transfer. They then ask for the money to either be used for shipping or returned via a gift card. This allows the scammer to get both someone’s money and their product, as the original cheque is a fake.
The second common scam the RCMP has seen in Online Marketplaces is a scammer asking the buyer to put a down-payment on a large ticket item, such as furniture or heavy machinery, then disappearing after receiving the online transfer. This scam has also been recently reported to the Lloydminster RCMP.
In an effort to protect people against these cons, the RCMP are providing several tips. They say before purchasing anything online, you should meet the person, preferably in a well lit, public area. Inspect the item and ask questions before buying and always use a trusted e-transfer service, or cash. Be cautious when taking a cheque, as they can take multiple days to clear and if it is a fake, the person receiving is on the hook for the fees associated with the bad cheque.
They also recommend not sending a down payment on any item before meeting the seller and seeing the item, and if they’re buying a used phone, ask the seller to unlock it. Inspect the box, inspect the SIM card holder, have the seller send you the IMEI number to verify the phone hasn’t been lost or stolen. The IMEI can also be found by dialling “#06#” on the phone being sold.
The Lloydminster RCMP says if someone believes they have been or could be the victim of a scam, should exit the situation and get in touch with their local police department.