Police warn citizens of recent twist on a common scam

General Intrests

**** HRP Media Release

Police warn citizens of recent twist on a common scam

Halifax Regional Police is advising the public of a recent twist on a common scam where fraudsters are targeting university students who are selling their books online.

Over the last month, members of the Integrated Financial Crime Unit have investigated a number of reports of fraudsters contacting people who have put their text books for sale on an online advertising site. They claim to represent a book store located outside of Canada. The book store is real, but the fraudsters are not associated to it in any way.​ The fraudsters say that they will purchase the books, but they are not able to send an e-transfers to Canada from their location.​ The fraudsters send a cheque in an amount larger than the cost of the books and directs the seller to deposit the cheque and send an e-transfer of the extra funds to other university students in Canada from whom the fraudster has also purchased books.​ The seller is promised a commission for sending the e-transfer. The cheque turns out to be fraudulent, and the seller loses the money they have e-transferred.

What to do if you encounter a fraud:

  • Be vigilant and don’t provide any money or financial or personal information until you have verified the legitimacy of the person or the organization they claim to represent. To check the legitimacy, contact the organization directly using information from an official website.
  • Check the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for information on current scams.
  • Call police at 902.490.5016 if you’ve lost money or your identity has been compromised as a result of a fraud. You can report a scam where you haven’t been a victim to the​ Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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