The use of online buy and sell websites such as Ebay, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, to name a few, has gained popularity over that last few years for many citizens’ shopping experiences. It provides an easy method for people to connect to buy or sell their services or new or used goods. However, this innovative and cost-saving social experience comes with many risks.
Unfortunately, the increasing use of these services has seen the proliferation of its share of criminal activity associated to it, most commonly fraud, however can also include robbery, assaults, or worse in some instances.
Online Purchase Safety Tips
Meeting Safety Tips:
• Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
• Always meet in a public location that you are comfortable with. Daytime is best if possible and a location that has video surveillance.
• Have someone come with you when you meet the buyer or seller. If you cannot arrange for someone to come with you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you’re meeting, and all the details about who you are meeting. Let your contact know that everything is okay.
• Ask the buyer or seller for photo ID. Take a photo of it for your reference.
• Buying or selling a vehicle? Offer to meet at an automotive garage where the vehicle’s quality can be assured, instead of offering a test drive.
Buying Safety Tips:
• Do not disclose to the seller how you will be paying if it’s not necessary. If the seller is aware that you will be arriving with a large quantity of cash, it is an excellent opportunity for a personal robbery to take place.
• Obtain a bill of sale and verify the seller’s identity through photo ID. Inform the seller that you want this before meeting, this will deter those selling illegitimate property from selling the property.
• Check the serial number on CPIC to determine if it is stolen.
• If you’re purchasing a used bicycle, ask for the serial number and search it on CPIC and on Bike Index to see if it’s been reported stolen. • Ask the seller why they are selling the property.
• Always inspect the item to ensure that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. Often times, frauds are committed by persons selling items that are allegedly “authentic” however they are actually cheap replicas that are being sold at premium prices. Failing to properly inspect the item prior to handing over payment could result in losing your money. For buyers and sellers:
• Take screenshots of the advertisements, the advertisement ID number, the seller’s contact information, and all communications. • IMPORTANT: If you turn a blind eye to obvious clues that the property is stolen but buy it anyway, you can be found to be willfully blind to the fact that the property is stolen and you may be criminally charged.
• If you locate property being sold that you believe to be stolen, call LaSalle Police Service 519 969-5210
I found my stolen property for sale online
If you find your stolen property being sold online:
• Take screenshots of the ad – ensure the ad # and any seller contact information is recorded
• Have your proof of ownership ready
• Contact LaSalle Police immediately at 519 969-5210
NEVER contact the suspect or arrange to meet the suspect yourself. For your safety and proper investigative measures, please let police officers take care of this.
Take the time and do your research to protect yourself from online criminal activity.
Here are a couple a excellent resources to help protect yourself from frauds and scams: