The West Shore RCMP is warning residents about fraud this holiday season after a spate of scams on online shopping sites.
Two people reported suspicious buyers in separate incidents after trying they tried to sell an expensive bike and vehicle on the online classified site Used Victoria.
In both instances, a buyer approached the seller, sending them a cheque or money order for a much larger amount than the item is listed for. The buyer then asked the person to cash the cheque, deposit the cost of the item into their own account and send the extra, via e-transfer or wire, into a third-party account that belongs to the buyer. The scams were all done online without meeting the buyer in person.
The first woman, who was selling a car, became suspicious after a buyer approached her with an offer for more than she’d listed the vehicle on Dec. 8. She called the police right after she sent thousands of dollars. She was able to call her bank in time and freeze the transfer, avoiding losing any money, according to Cpl. Nancy Saggar, spokesperson for West Shore RCMP.
The second person, who was selling a bike, transferred the money to the buyer’s other account on Dec. 7 and is now working with their bank to recover the other transfer worth thousands of dollars.
“We see scams like this year-round and we want the public to be extra cautious around the holiday season when it comes to online buying and selling of goods,” Saggar said in a statement.
West Shore RCMP advises people to beware of buyers who send more money than being asked for, and refuse money orders and cheques in favour of e-transfers or cash.
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