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Private Investigations Q&A: Online Scams

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My boyfriend and I recently decided to sell his truck as we no longer needed it. We were not familiar with selling items on Kijiji and other sites, but we have friends who have used various sites to sell all types of equipment and vehicles and never had an issue. We posted my boyfriend’s truck and had a few people come to see the vehicle but nothing that was set in stone. We finally got an email from a man who seemed very friendly, and if anything he was overly friendly however we were not aware of any online fraud, so we were not alarmed. We spoke with the man in a few emails, and he was ready to purchase the vehicle without even seeing it, again we thought this was odd, but he had a story that seemed legitimate that he was overseas for work and needed a truck upon his return to Canada.

The buyer said that he would only pay with PayPal even though my boyfriend was adamant about wanting cash only. We were just ready to sell the truck and be done with the process that we agreed to the PayPal process and asked the seller for instructions. My boyfriend did not have a PayPal account because he never needed one, so we set it up, then the buyer said that we had to pay him $500.00 as a fee to do the transfer as he was overseas. This seemed very odd, and we didn’t know what to do. We did not want to ask our friends and risk sounding weird asking if that was OK, so we called a local private investigator in Toronto. We were able to speak with the owner of the company who spoke to us free of charge and listened to our situation; she explained that this was a scam and that this is a very common fraudulent activity online. Consulting a private eye saved us a lot of trouble. It was also very eye-opening to all the dangers of internet scams and how to watch out for them, as well as avoid them. I would have never thought a private detective would be someone to call, but we are thankful that we did. We were able to not only save our $500.00, but we were able to find a local buyer in Barrie, Ontario.

I am certainly grateful that there are knowledgeable private investigators available to speak with and we are happy that the information we were given was free of charge. I would recommend calling a detective if you find yourself in a similar situation as it could save you time, and money and frustration.

J. P.

A Private Investigator’s Response:

We are certainly glad we could assist in your inquiry, and we are truly happy that you were not scammed and that you and your boyfriend were able to find a suitable buyer elsewhere with no issues.

As fraud is a highly growing issue, we suggest if you need to buy or sell items online that you ensure you get as much information from the seller or buyer as possible and to always have your meetings in public places. We suggest police stations as most now have individual parking spaces saved just for people who do online transactions. You’re in a safer environment and you can buy or sell at ease.

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