Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Halifax police warn about Kijiji-based car fraud

Reinforcing the mantra of "buy local, in person, with cash", here's a release just in from Halifax Regional Police:

Police Issue Warning to People Buying and Selling Cars

Police are warning people about a scam involving the buying and selling of vehicles using internet classified sites.

The HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit has received three complaints in the last two months involving the sale of vehicles advertised on-line. The suspect locates a vehicle for sale on line and makes arrangements to purchase the vehicle. The suspect uses a fraudulent cheque to buy the vehicle and then advertises it again on the internet right away for a lower price than the vehicle is worth and
sells the vehicle for cash. The original seller reports their vehicle stolen when they realize the check is fraudulent. The car is returned to the original seller and the person who purchased the vehicle from the suspect loses the vehicle and the money they paid to the suspect.

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud, HRM Partners in Policing offer the following tips:

- Confirm the identity of the person you are dealing with by way of identification such as a photo driver's license.
- Do not accept any cheque unless you have confirmed with the bank that it is a legitimate cheque and funds exist to cover the amount of the cheque.
- Do not purchase a vehicle unless the person selling it is the registered owner. The identity of the registered owner should be confirmed through picture identification.
- Be wary of any deal that is too good to be true, i.e. the advertised price is less then the item is worth, especially when the seller demands cash.

Frauds and scams, whether it involves buying something on-line or hiring a company to do work for you, can often be prevented by taking precautions and doing some research. Never provide any personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call or know who you are speaking with. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

If you think you have been the victim of a fraud, contact the HRP/RCMP Integrated Financial Crime Unit at 490-1985.

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