Nova Scotia RCMP have been getting a lot of reports lately from victims of online scams and are offering up tips to help the public protest themselves.
A lot of them involve fraudsters striking up an online relationship, then asking for money.
Mounties warn these scammers can spend a lot of time establishing a bond before asking for bitcoin or gift cards.
Another scam involves online ads where the fraudster demands a deposit or down payment before they'll arrange for the item to be picked up. Once they get the cash, the ad disappears and the poster can no longer be reached.
Police are asking the public to keep the following tips in mind:
- Do not send money, gift cards, Bitcoin or anything else of value to someone you've never met in-person.
- Before sending money to an online seller, make sure you see the item in-person. It is risky to put a deposit or down-payment on something you have never seen.
- If you have a feeling that something is not right, it is best to trust your gut and stop communicating with that person.
RCMP say scammers can be very persistent and convincing.
"Being defrauded is never the victim's fault," police said in a news release. "If you have been defrauded, you are not alone. Please report it to your local police."
If you encounter a scam, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online.