Fake eTransfers, other scams on marketplaces on the rise locally

The Nova Scotia RCMP is urging the public to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to safeguard themselves against scammers when buying, selling, or searching for a rental online. 

The digital flea market has grown to be a major part of people’s everyday lives. Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji have made it easier than ever to turn unwanted items into cash or search for your next apartment of vacation rental.

Unfortunately, it has also made it easier to become a victim of a scam. 

Online scams are one of the most commonly-reported frauds to police. Scammers will try to sell an item – often at a very cheap price – just so they can steal your payment card or personal information. They may also take your money and send you a worthless item, or sometimes nothing at all.

Scammers have also been known to contact sellers and offer to purchase items via e-Transfer. The victim is texted a QR code to accept the transfer and prompted to enter their banking information. The e-Transfer is fake, and the victim provides their banking information to the scammer.

Protect yourself when conducting business online by taking the following precautions:

  • If possible, conduct transactions in person, in public, and in cash.
  • Don’t provide passwords for e-Transfers ahead of receiving an item. Remember that it can be extremely difficult to reverse an e-Transfer sent to someone with autodeposit active.
  • Do not accept e-Transfers via QR codes or emailed cheques.
  • Beware of advertisements offering popular or hard-to-find items at a discount.
  • Do not send deposits to hold items. Also, it is illegal under the Residential Tenancy Act to require a deposit to apply for tenancy – any rental ad requiring a deposit is likely a scam.
  • Use a reverse image search program to see if the pictures in the ad have been used elsewhere.
  • Remember that social media accounts can be faked or compromised – just because someone is linked to you through a community or friends does not mean they are trustworthy.

If you or someone you know is a victim of this scam, or any other type of fraud, report it to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For more information, visit: https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm


Police intercept tractor-trailer carrying drugs, cigarettes, and cash

Two men charged with drug offences after traffic stop