Internet Fraud Warning
(FREDERICTON, NB) – Internet classifieds websites, such as Kijiji, Craigslist, Ebay, Auto Trader, etc, have become popular in recent years. They’re used by all kinds of people and businesses to sell a variety of items online, but you must be careful who you are selling to and taking money from.
In June, 2011, the RCMP’s Commercial Crime Section, along with the Canada Border Services Agency, seized $1.5 million worth of forged Canadian bank drafts and money orders. The investigation allowed the RCMP to disrupt an ongoing internet-based scam that aimed to distribute an additional $727,000 worth of forged bank drafts and money orders across Canada. The investigation into this fraud is ongoing.
The perpetrators were using the forged notes to purchase items online. The RCMP contacted a number of potential victims to advise them of the scam and are reminding the public to use caution when selling items over the Internet. Here are some common signs of potential internet fraud:
- the buyer is out of town and cannot view, pick up, or pay for the item in person;
- the buyer requests that a shipping or delivery company be used to deliver the item;
- the buyer uses a money order or bank draft that is missing some pieces of information, or is written by hand;
- the buyer sends additional funds and asks that the seller send the extra money back to them via a money transfer service.
While money orders, bank drafts and PayPal are some of the safer means of purchasing items online, it is always possible that they could be fraudulent. Bank drafts and money orders should be complete, and printed by a bank employee, never hand-written. The seller should always have a bank draft or money order verified at a bank before shipping the item. If using a payment service like PayPal, ensure the payment goes through before shipping the item. Sellers who do not take these precautions could lose the payment entirely and even be asked to reimburse the bank for the full amount of the forged document.
If you suspect fraudulent activity, stop all communication with the individual in question and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, contact your local police.
Reducing the impact of commercial crime on Canadians, and maintaining the integrity of our economy through enforcement, public education and crime prevention is one of the strategic priorities of the RCMP.
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