Column: From the Desk of RCMP Sgt. Mark Mathias

It’s November already. Winter is setting in and the kids are all settled into school. When you go to the malls the Christmas supplies are out and the news has reports of retailers hiring extra employees for the Christmas shopping season. Retailers know that this will be the busiest time of year for them and so do the criminals.

As more and more shopping is done online, criminals turn to this area for quick profit. The Internet’s promise of substantial consumer benefits is coupled with the potential for fraud and deception. There are many Internet frauds out there and by being careful you can avoid being a victim of these schemes.

Some tips for safe internet shopping are:

• If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• Only make purchases through secure payment sites. Many of the complaints received by police involve purchases made where payment has been made in advance usually through money order or wired money. After the money has been sent, the product is never shipped.

• Limit the amount that can be taken. If you are shopping with a credit card, ensure that the card you are using has a low limit on it.
For more information on internet scams and frauds go to the RCMP website or visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre on-line. To report a suspected scam or fraud, go to the national website at www.phonebusters.com.

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