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EPS warns the public about real estate and online garage sale scams

Police make recommendations to the public to prevent people from being victimized.
Estevan Police Service
The Estevan Police Service has received complaints about scams in the community.

ESTEVAN - The Estevan Police Service is advising the public of a couple of recent scams in the area.

The first involves the HelloGoodBuy website. Residents seeking rental properties have been deceived by unknown persons who claim to be property owners. Money is sent for a security deposit and a rental agreement is sent by email.

Police note that most people who have used HelloGoodBuy have had a good experience. 

The EPS offers the following recommendations:

•Keep transactions local and in-person; 

•When buying or selling an item, meet in person in a public place. If picking up an item at a seller’s house, bring a friend with you; 

•Never send money to a seller before seeing the item. Scammers will often ask for money to be sent to a separate mailing address or email address before meeting in person;

•Never use a personal, certified, or cashier’s cheque, never wire money to another user, and don’t send an advanced Interac e-transfers, which can’t be reversed; and 

•Beware of any seller who is conducting a transaction from another country or province, or is unwilling to meet face-to-face to complete a transaction. 

The EPS asks people to be suspicious of items that are priced unrealistically low or seem too good to be true. 

Also, the EPS advises the public not to trust users who make unusual requests, such as advance payment or sending more than the asking price of an item.

A common scam in the housing for rent category, according to the EPS, involves taking a house that is listed by a real estate company and faking it as a “for rent” ad. People should ask to view any rental property before sending a deposit.

Common scams in the pets category involve rare or exotic animals, as well as dog breeds such as English bulldogs, Yorkies, Maltese, Chihuahuas and corgis.

People are asked to contact police to report any attempted fraud or suspicious activity, and to report any cases of fraud to the police.

Police also received a report of a scam on Nov. 6. The victim reported to have attempted to buy a number of items from a Facebook garage sale site, and once the money was transferred, the seller made no further contact with the victim.

The victim went to the residence that the seller had given them. The residence was the home of a couple that had nothing to do with the selling of items.

Police remind the public to exercise caution when purchasing items online. If the seller has very little information on their profile, the EPS says they might not be safe to purchase from. This matter is still under investigation.