Online fraud is on the rise in Campbell River, and it’s very much a ‘buyer beware’ scenario. But the warning extends island-wide, as police warn of ongoing online deposit scams.

Despite past warnings, Campbell River RCMP Constable Maury Tyre finds more and more locals are falling prey to online ads for goods – whose sellers ask for ‘substantial’ deposits, or full payment to hold the goods for them.

Once that money is sent to an email account, Tyre says a sender can mark the funds as gone. He says it’s ‘very unlikely’ these funds can be recovered or that the fraudster can be found through legal means.

“Posters of the ads on online sites rely on high traffic viewing of their ads, and hope to nab a few quick dollars before people catch on and report the person to the site host,” says Tyre.

But by then, he notes the fraudster has likely created a new email account, starting their process all over again. Essentially, defrauding people is their full-time job, Tyre adds.

According to Cst. Tyre, there are certain things locals can do to ensure they don’t fall victim to online fraudsters:

  • Stay away from deals that are too good to be true;
  • Confirm the identification of the seller (video chat with them, get them to show you a legitimate ID while they do it, and get them to show the item as well);
  • Use intermediary selling sites, that hold funds until the item is delivered as promised;
  • Don’t pre-send funds that you aren’t okay with losing; and
  • Stay away from sales that demand deposits to hold for you.

To report criminal or suspicious activity, get in touch with the Campbell River RCMP at (250) 286-6221. In an emergency, call 911.