Canada: police warn of Facebook Marketplace fraud in Ottawa

Asma Ahmed - | Arab News

The Ottawa Police Service has highlighted a concerning trend regarding an uptick in scams occurring on Facebook Marketplace.

According to the fraud unit, there has been a notable increase in reports from buyers who have fallen victim to fraudulent activities, including the purchase of counterfeit items or non-delivery of purchased goods. Notably, the police service receives an average of 30 to 35 fraud-related complaints daily, with approximately seven to eight of these complaints specifically linked to fraudulent transactions on Marketplace or similar platforms.

Instances involving the sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets on Facebook Marketplace serve as illustrative examples of the types of scams prevalent in this online marketplace. In response to these growing concerns, the police urge individuals who have been defrauded to promptly report such incidents through online channels.

Expanding beyond Ottawa, the Ontario Provincial Police has observed a surge in scam-related calls across eastern Ontario, encompassing various fraudulent schemes ranging from emergencies and gift card scams to counterfeit merchandise, online shopping, cryptocurrency investments, romance scams, and telecommunication provider scams.

To mitigate the risk of falling victim to fraud, law enforcement agencies offer practical tips for safeguarding oneself when engaging in online transactions:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the market value of the desired product.
  2. Seek out customer reviews to gauge credibility.
  3. Utilize secure payment methods, such as credit cards, with fraud protection.
  4. Preferably, opt for in-person transactions where items are inspected and payments exchanged face-to-face.
  5. Scrutinize all email communications to verify their authenticity.
  6. Patronize reputable websites with established track records.
  7. Conduct thorough online research to identify any reported fraudulent activities associated with specific buyers or sellers.
  8. In the event of suspected fraud, promptly contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center via their online reporting system at 1-888-495-8501.

By following these precautionary measures and remaining vigilant, individuals can better protect themselves from falling prey to the increasingly sophisticated tactics employed by scammers in the digital realm.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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