WINNIPEG, MB. - The Winnipeg Police Service would like to advise the public of precautions that should be taken when conducting transactions utilizing online classified platforms and offering items for sale.
During the pandemic, the WPS has seen a marked increase in reports of fraudulent activity on these platforms. The bulk of these instances relate to items posted for sale. After communicating with the seller electronically, the buyer is asked to place a deposit via e-Transfer to hold the item as there is significant interest.
Once the e-Transfer is sent, the seller ceases communication or directs the buyer to a fabricated address for pickup. In many instances, the posted ad is entirely fraudulent and is often posted on multiple classified platforms.
When utilizing these platforms, buyers should refrain from sending e-Transfer deposits. In addition, buyers should be aware that once an e-Transfer is sent and received, it is not recoverable by the sending parties' financial institution. e-Transfer payments should only be utilized for payment when the buyer meets the seller in person, at a safe location, to complete the sale.
Other tips for buying and selling online can be found here: https://www.winnipeg.ca/police/TakeAction/buy_and_sell.stm