If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is
2021-12-09 09:36 PST
File # 2021-182016 / 2021-184998
Surrey RCMP is cautioning the public about purchasing items through online marketplace applications after two recent attempted robberies in the Guildford area.
Tis’ the season for last minute gift purchases and trying to locate certain hot ticket items can pose a challenge. Often people resort to online marketplace applications to buy and sell merchandise that is difficult to locate in stores. Unfortunately, there are criminals who capitalize on people’s desire to get that perfect gift.
Online buy/sell applications enable criminals to arrange face-to-face meetings with their victims, who they know will be in possession of cash or high valued items. Goods are often advertised at significantly lower prices than their actual value, which is a tactic used to entice buyers and persuade them into making a deal.
Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit is currently investigating two separate attempted robberies stemming from online market place sales. In both instances, an arrangement was made to meet and purchase a PlayStation. The victims arrived at a pre-determined location with cash to purchase the item and were assaulted by the suspects who attempted to steal their cash, but did not succeed.
Last year, the Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit investigated 15 reports of personal robberies related to online marketplace apps. As a result, five suspects were charged in connection to a majority of the offenses. In almost all of the robberies, the victims reported the deal seeming too good to turn down.
Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit recommends these tips if you plan to meet an unknown person to buy or sell an item:
- Utilize stalls outside of your local police station for meetings and purchases;
- Insist on a public meeting place during the day, such as local businesses with regular foot traffic;
- Ensure there is camera coverage where you are meeting;
- Gather as much information as possible so you know whom you are dealing with, such as their full name and cell phone number;
- Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home;
- Only meet during daylight hours or in a well-lit and heavily populated area;
- Be especially careful when buying or selling high value items;
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you’re meeting the buyer/seller;
- Take your cell phone and a friend along to accompany you; and
- Always trust your instincts while arranging a meeting, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Anyone with information about these occurrences is asked to call Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, if you wish to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.
Cpl. Vanessa MunnMedia Relations Officer
14355 57 Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3X 1A9
- Date modified: