Sherwood Park, Alta. – Strathcona County RCMP warn residents that online scams are more prevalent than ever before and increased vigilance is necessary as scammers continue to find creative ways to victimize trusting people.
Recently a local resident was scammed and lost $1000 to an online scam. The complainant was selling a piece of machinery on Kijiji and had found an interested buyer. The suspect advised money for payment was currently tied up in a PayPal account and directed the complainant to open an account. The suspect was going to have a shipper pick up the machinery as he lived in another province but needed to provide the shipping agent money prior.
The suspect was able to convince the complainant to pay the shipper $1000 by email transfer with the notion that it would be paid back on top of the agreed price of the piece of machinery through PayPal. The complainant realized it was a scam once the suspect started asking for additional money to be sent to the shipping agent.
It's difficult to see who is real and who is just a scammer behind the monitor, but you can protect yourself - you just need to know what kind of frauds are out there and the best practices to keep your identity, money, and personal information safe.
Look for some common warning signs that someone may be trying to scam you:
- The buyer can’t meet you in person for a variety of reasons (ie. they are out of town, they are away on business, etc).
- The buyer asked you to send money and/or the item to their “shipping agent.”
- The buyer offered you more money then you were asking.
- The buyer only sends texts and won’t speak to you over the phone.
For more information on scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741.