New "safe trading zone" to help Montrealers avoid fraud from online classified sites

Dec 22 2019, 12:18 pm

Stories of online sellers and buyers becoming the victim of swindlers, fraudsters, or even dognappers are increasingly in the news. To help combat these types of fraud appearing on Internet classified sites, the SPVM says it’s setting up a safe trading zone for those buying and selling online.

The concept is simple. It’s a public and surveilled trading area where sellers and buyers can meet knowing that police are typically nearby and that their transactions are being watched while they trade their goods.

In Montreal, one such area will be set up in Montreal at Police Station 20 at 1432 Sainte-Catherine West, near Bishop Street, according to a release.

“This safe space will be the first in a series of several safe trading zones to be deployed in 2020,” police said in a release. “Other announcements will follow during the next openings.”

Police also offered a few tips to anyone looking to stay safe when buying and selling goods online:

  • Avoid doing business only over the phone or online (e.g. buying without ever seeing the goods).
  • Make an appointment in a public place (e.g. safe trading zone).
  • Take precautions to identify the seller.
  • If an ad looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
  • Anyone who may have been a victim of fraud is asked to go to their neighbourhood police station to file an official complaint.