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FRAUD ALERT: Online Classifieds Scam


We’ve heard reports of scammers posting items for sale on online classified services in New Brunswick and asking potential buyers to pay a deposit to hold the item. The deposit is made through an online e-transfer. Once the deposit is made, the scammer provides a fake address for the buyer to collect their purchase. When the buyer shows up to pick up their item, the address is wrong, or doesn’t exist, and the scammer keeps the deposit.

How to recognize the Online Classifieds Scam:

  • The seller asks for a deposit to “hold” the item before you’ve seen it in person.
  • If the seller shares a picture of the item with you, try running a reverse Google image search to determine if it is actually someone else’s picture.

What to do if you receive a suspicious message from an online seller:

  • Never share banking information with someone you do not know.
  • Never transfer money to a seller unless you have seen the item in person.
  • Always conduct private sales in a public place and pay with cash.
  • Follow the best practices listed on the online classified website and report any suspicious activity through their channels.

Where to report the Online Classifieds Scam:

If you suspect you’ve been approached by a scam artist on an online classified service, or if you believe you have sent money to a scam artist, report it to the online site. Kijiji, for example, is aware of payment scams and they ask people who have received replies from sellers that appear to be payment scams to contact them so they can remove the scammer from their site.

Consider speaking to your bank, as they may be able to trace an e-transfer and help you track down the person.

Learn more about payment scams here.

Learn more about how to report fraud and where to report fraud.

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