In recent months, West Shore RCMP say they have been inundated with an escalating number of reports regarding fraudulent activities on Facebook Marketplace.
This concerning trend has seen innocent buyers falling victim to scams that involve sellers listing items for sale and requesting potential buyers to e-transfer a deposit to secure the purchase.
Unfortunately, these buyers often discover that the item they believed they were purchasing never materializes.
Cpl. Nancy Saggar, the Media Relations Officer for West Shore RCMP, expressed her concern over this growing issue and emphasized the importance of vigilance when conducting online transactions. “We wish to warn the public of this type of fraud,” she stated. “There is always a risk to buying items online, especially from sellers you don’t know.”
In response to this troubling situation, West Shore RCMP has offered some valuable tips to help consumers protect themselves when making online purchases through platforms like Facebook Marketplace:
1. Check Seller Reviews: One of the most effective ways to assess the legitimacy of a seller is by reviewing their ratings and feedback from previous buyers. Honest, trustworthy sellers often have a track record of positive transactions and satisfied customers.
2. Pay in Person and Inspect the Item: Whenever possible, opt to meet the seller in person to complete the transaction. This allows you to physically inspect the item before making any payment, reducing the risk of falling prey to fraudulent listings.
3. Use Cash Instead of E-Transfers: Avoid sending money via e-transfer before receiving the item. Instead, opt for cash payments upon inspecting and accepting the product. This provides an added layer of security, as it ensures you only pay when you’re satisfied with the purchase.
4. Refrain from Paying Holding Deposits: Be cautious when a seller requests a deposit to hold an item. Scammers often use this tactic to extract money without delivering the product. Refuse to pay any holding fees or deposits until you have the item in your possession.
5. Meet in Public Places: To minimize potential risks, arrange to meet the seller in a well-populated, public location. This safeguards both parties involved in the transaction.