Fraud Prevention Month: Top Safety Tips
If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. This is just as true for shopping via online classifieds. Fraud Facts 2017 estimates that online scams account for approximately 22 per cent of all fraud complaints in Canada, but many go unreported for fear of embarrassment.
The Competition Bureau of Canada established Fraud Prevention Month to help reduce the stigma of reporting and to provide tips on how to protect ourselves. Learn to protect yourself from online scams and fraudsters and make Used.ca a safe and fun place to exchange goods! Here are our top tips.
- Trust your instincts: Your instincts are often the best indicator if something is amiss. Use common sense and trust your spidey senses
- Protect your personal information: Beyond a phone number or email to arrange a purchase or sale, never give out any personal information such as your credit card number, your social insurance number, birthdays and so on. When possible, meet in public to avoid supplying your address
- Create tougher passwords: There is a reason many online accounts require a combination of numbers and symbols, as well as upper and lowercase letters. Protect your account information on any online site with tough passwords
- Bring a friend: This is especially true if you are selling (or buying) a valuable item
- Deal only in cash: Never wire money, send advance payments, or use your credit card. This also helps you to avoid any deals done through mail – a notorious method for running scams
- Keep it local: You can reduce your risk by keeping all transactions local. This eliminates the need to use anything other than cash when buying or selling
- Inspect before you buy: Never buy something that you can’t check out in-person first
- Check the IMEI number: When considering buying a mobile phone, check out the IMEI number to verify the phone hasn’t been reported stolen or lost
- Get the VIN number: Use the VIN number to check out a car’s history on CARFAX before buying
- Ask questions: don’t be afraid to ask questions! If something sounds shady, remember you don’t owe anyone anything and you can always back out of a transaction before any money is exchanged
- Report fishy ads: Don’t be afraid to make use of the “Report Ad” link if you feel that an ad smells funny. As a community-based site, we encourage you to alert us when you think something isn’t right
For more tips, check out the Little Black Book of Scams for more tips on how to protect yourself online and off.