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Be careful when online shopping this holiday season: OPP

Research before you buy, verify the business and read reviews before making an online purchase, OPP warn
Espanola OPP charged a 58-year-old man from Whitefish River First Nation for stunt driving on Sept. 7. Supplied photo.

Online shopping is convenient and popular especially in today's world while we are living with COVID 19.

Online Shopping: Fraudsters pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for items that do not exist. The listing price for almost any item (e.g. property rental, vehicle, pet) is usually too good to be true.

Counterfeit Merchandise: Look out for huge and flashy discount ads that direct you to websites that look like the legitimate manufacturers. If you do receive any inferior product, they could pose significant health risks.

To help protect yourself:

  • Research before you buy
  • Verify the business and read reviews
  • Check that the URL for the site begins with "https", making it secure
  • Understand the terms and conditions for payment, returns and warranties
  • Monitor your financial statements regularly for any fraudulent charges
  • Create strong passwords and change them frequently
  • Whenever possible use your credit card for payment.

When selling goods & services online: Be suspicious of payment offers that are more than the asking price and confirm that you have received a legitimate payment before you send the product.

Some tips to help keep delivered packages safe:

  • Track deliveries online and try to be home at the time a package is delivered.
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to receive your package at the time of delivery.
  • If allowed by an employer, have the packages delivered to your work.
  • Some stores provide a pickup-in-store service that allows you to pick up items.
  • Consider installing a motion-detection home security system that records video and sends immediate notice of activity to your cell phone.

If meeting in person to exchange:

  • Meet in a busy public place.
  • Bring a trusted friend or family member along as a witness.
  • Keep transactions to daylight hours.
  • Do not erase emails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the seller/buyer.

For helpful tips and links follow the OPP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use hashtags #CyberAware, #CyberSecurity.

For scams and/or Fraud contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you or someone you know have been a victim of digital or online cybercrime, contact your local police service or local OPP detachment.