Online buy and sell websites are becoming a common "storefront" for many citizens' shopping experiences. However, this innovative and cost-saving social experience comes with many risks.
The online sale of goods/services is the most common type of online fraud in Edmonton and just over the span of 2019, the Edmonton Police Service received reports of online scams with an overall loss of $5,690,629.10. Learn more about online frauds.
Online Purchase Safety Tips
Meeting Safety Tips:
- The Edmonton Police Service is piloting safe exchange zones at Southwest Division station only. EPS' other stations do not have designated spots in our parking lots for internet meetings. If you do come to a police station to make an online purchase exchange, please remember to still practice these safety tips - do not put yourself under a false sense of security! Our stations are not open 24/7, our officers are not monitoring the parking lots, and we cannot guarantee that an officer would be able to respond if something goes awry.
Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
Have someone come with you when you meet. If you cannot arrange for someone to come with you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you're meeting, and all the details about who you are meeting. Let your contact know that everything is okay.
- Ask the buyer for photo ID. Take a photo of it for your reference.
Buying or selling a vehicle? Offer to meet at an automotive garage where the vehicle's quality can be assured, instead of offering a test drive.
Buying Safety Tips:
- Do not disclose to the seller how you will be paying if it's not necessary. If the seller is aware that you will be arriving with a large quantity of cash, it is an excellent opportunity for a personal robbery to take place.
Obtain a bill of sale and verify the seller's identity through photo ID. Inform the seller that you want this before meeting, this will deter those selling illegitimate property from selling the property.
Check the serial number on CPIC to determine if it is stolen.
- If you're purchasing a used bicycle, ask for the serial number and search it on CPIC and on Bike Index to see if it's been reported stolen. Download our brochure for more tips on how not to buy a stolen bicycle.
Ask the seller why they are selling the property.
For buyers and sellers:
- Take screenshots of the advertisements, the advertisement ID number, the seller's contact information, and all communications.
- IMPORTANT: If you turn a blind eye to obvious clues that the property is stolen but buy it anyway, you can be found to be willfully blind to the fact that the property is stolen and you may be criminally charged.
- If you locate property being sold that you believe to be stolen, call police at 780-423-4567.
I found my stolen property for sale online:
If you find your stolen property being sold online:
- Take screenshots of the ad – ensure the ad # and any seller contact information is recorded
- Have your proof of ownership ready
- Contact police immediately at 780-423-4567 or come to a police station
NEVER contact the suspect or arrange to meet the suspect yourself. For your safety and proper investigative measures, please let police officers take care of this.