OPP reminds residents to exercise caution when buying online

If you believe you have been the victim of an online romance scam, the RCMP and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre are urging you to contact them immediately. (Negative Space/Pexels)

The Upper Ottawa Valley (UOV) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding local residents to be cautious when buying items online, as they say, there has been an increase in scams.

Specifically, OPP says there has been an increase in incidents where people agree to buy an item from someone online. The buyer then sends a deposit or the entire agreed-upon purchase price. Unfortunately, in some cases, the seller does not deliver and takes the money. 

The OPP is reminding online buyers to research the purchase and seller and when possible, meet in a public place prior to paying any money for the item. This way the buyer can ensure they see the item and make sure the condition is as advertised.

UOV OPP Detachment Commander Steph Neufeld stated, "Online property transactions are ever-increasing and the UOV OPP is proud to have launched a community safety initiative aimed at decreasing offences related to online marketplace transactions. Collaborative approaches like Project Safe Trade can help to reduce harm and victimization in our communities."

Online transaction safety tips from OPP:

- Meet in a busy public space
- Bring a trusted friend or family member as a witness
- Conduct transactions during daylight hours
- Do not erase emails, texts or voicemails between yourself and the buyer/seller

A person who thinks they have been a victim of digital or online cybercrime, is asked to contact the local police service or local OPP detachment, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray