Online marketplaces can be a great source for deals, but only if you are careful to watch for fraudulent postings.
Popular online marketplace sites or social networks may have fraudulent advertisements posted within them. Fraudsters may also create websites that share the look and feel of legitimate manufacturers. Be wary of products advertised at a deep discount – if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Customers may receive counterfeit products, lesser valued and unrelated goods, or sometimes even nothing at all. Verify that the site you are visiting is the legitimate site of the product manufacturer before making a purchase.
Consumers offering service or selling merchandise are also at risk of becoming a victim of fraud through receiving fraudulent payments. In most cases, victims will receive an overpayment with instructions to forward the difference to a third party (i.e. shipping company) to complete the transaction. Victims that follow the instructions are then left without their merchandise or payment. Sellers may also receive fraudulent cheques, transfers with insufficient funds, or failed e-transfers.
If you are buying or selling items through online marketplaces, ensure you feel comfortable with the person you are conducting the transaction with before money or goods are exchanged.
March is Fraud Prevention Month and throughout the month we’ll be sharing Fraud Alerts and additional information on how to recognize, reject and report fraud.