Caveat emptor: Be careful what you bid for
by law enforcement or banking officials. Anyone victimized by scams should re- port the incident immediately. If you find a scam, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre. Re- ports can be filed easily online through the
to wire money through Western Union or other similar services should be seen as a “red flag” and an immediate tip-off that this may be part of a scam. Funds sent via wire transfer are hard to track once received by scammers and are usually not recoverable
PhoneBusters site at: www.phonebusters. com , or by phone, toll free at 1-888-495- 8501. More information on fraud and crime prevention also available on the Crime pre- vention section of the OPP website at www. OPP.ca .
From Page 19 The vendor referred them to an online photo album, where pictures of the luxuri- ous trailer could be viewed. The listing was posted on a reputable site. “This is not the first time that I have used free shopping sites to buy products. I have been doing shopping online for years and never had any problems before,” recalls Bisson. So she sent off $2,900 plus about $90 to cover transaction fees. But suddenly the “vendor” had dis- appeared. E-mail messages were not re- turned; the account was closed. The couple realized that the “vendor” had been using two different spellings for her family name. The same trailer was later listed as being for sale on other websites as well. Would-be victims are been asked to wire money via Western Union or other money transfer ser- vices. Bisson and Séguin quickly realized that they had just been defrauded of about $3,000 of their hard-earned money. They never saw the trailer in person. “As far as we know, somebody could have just taken a photo of a trailer and pretended they were the owner,” observes Bisson. She contacted the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP Phone Busters fraud squad. “I was told that there was nothing the police could do,” says Bisson. Under normal circumstances, police will act if a formal complaint is made, explains Constable Pierre Dubois, spokesperson with the Hawkesbury Ontario Provincial Po- lice Hawkesbury detachment. “It is not right that people can be de- frauded of their money and there is noth- ing that we can do about it,” says Bisson. “There are fraud artists just waiting to prey on people. How many more people will lose money this way?” Everyday consumers are defrauded, ob- serves Dubois. “This is where prevention comes in. Consumers should always be aware that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The O.P.P. advises people to take precau- tions when dealing with internet sales. Although these websites are legitimate where thousands of honest transactions are executed each day, it is still impor- tant to take precautions. Requests made It is important to take precautions, even when using reputable sites on the Internet.
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