In 2020, frauds associated to Canadians buying or selling goods or services online accounted for more than $12.9 million in reported losses.

General Intrests The Covid Chronicle

**** Info via Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

In 2020, frauds associated to Canadians buying or selling goods or services online accounted for more than $12.9 million in reported losses. Non-delivery scams (including puppy scams, rental scams, and deceptive marketing of counterfeit goods) have all increased over the pandemic period.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide scammers with opportunities to take advantage of Canadians. March is Fraud Prevention Month. Here are some types of scams you should be wary of during these uncertain times. Note: a new topic will be added each week in March.

Buying and selling scams

During the pandemic, people who have never shopped online before have turned to the internet for groceries, everyday shopping, banking and companionship. In 2020, frauds associated to Canadians buying or selling goods or services online accounted for more than $12.9 million in reported losses.

Non-delivery scams (including puppy scams, rental scams, and deceptive marketing of counterfeit goods) have all increased over the pandemic period. Many non-delivery scams are related to the rising demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, hand sanitizers, gloves and face shields.

Beware of fraudsters looking to buy goods or services that you are selling online. Fraudsters will contact sellers via email or text with a generic message wanting to buy an item without seeing it. They will claim to be out-of-town and will offer to pay above the asking price to cover the cost of shipping. The seller will either receive a fraudulent payment in the form of a counterfeit cheque, compromised credit card, or a fake email notification stating that the payment is pending. The email message says that the money will only be transferred once a tracking number is provided by the seller. The seller will then ship the product and provide the tracking number to the fraudster. Shortly after, the seller will realize that the payment notification was fake and that no money is available.

Warning signs

  • Be cautious of blowout sales or greatly reduced prices (for example, 80% off)
  • Beware of rental units that are listed below fair market value
  • Notice text with spelling errors or references to the product as “the item”
  • Beware of pets being offered at below market value
  • Beware of overseas buyers who want to buy without seeing the product first
  • Beware of overpayments for items you are selling
  • Beware of high volume purchases that need to be shipped urgently

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