Scam medium:

  • Email and text
  • Internet


  • Individuals
  • Businesses

Scammers are constantly creating fake ads online. To reach potential victims, they use:

Items offered for sale in these scams can be almost anything, including:

A good rule of thumb: if the asking price of a product is too good to be true, it is.

Watch out for the following scams:

Vendor fraud

If you've posted an online ad for yourself or your business, you may be contacted by a scammer. They claim to be located out of town and offer to buy the item unseen. When it comes time to pay, they use various tactics to scam you and avoid paying.

Tactic one: Spoofed payment

You receive a message or email money transfer notification that claims the payment is pending. The message says that the funds will cover the cost of the item, plus shipping. However, to release the funds, you must provide a tracking number for the shipment.

You ship the item and provide the tracking number, only to discover that the payment notification is spoofed and no payment is pending.

Tactic two: Account problems

The scammer tells you that they cannot send the payment due to a problem with your Paypal or bank account. According to the scammer, you need to pay $500 to get a business account with the selected payment provider to complete the transaction. The scammer offers to pay this fee if you reimburse them for the cost.

The scammer directs you to send the reimbursement using a money service business such as MoneyGram or Western Union. After you send the reimbursement, you discover that there is no payment pending.

Tactic three: Overpayment

You receive a payment for more than the asking price. The scammer asks you to deposit the funds and wire the excess funds immediately back to them. After sending the funds, you discover that the payment was fraudulent.

Scammers use compromised bank accounts, fraudulent cheques and stolen credit cards in overpayment scams.

Counterfeit merchandise

Counterfeiters use websites that have the same look and feel as a legitimate manufacturer to sell products at big discounts. The products are far inferior and could pose significant health risks. For example, counterfeit jackets have been found to contain bacteria, fungus and mildew.

Red flags to watch for:

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