How to Stay Safe When Buying and Selling Online in Mississauga

For the past few weeks, potential safety issues surrounding the buying and selling of goods listed online has been top of mind for many.

To be fair, most transactions are arranged and made without incident. It is, after all, relatively rare to hear about a Craigslist or Kijiji meetup gone wrong—especially considering how many purchases and sales are made on those two sites alone on a daily basis.

That said, there have been instances in which sales arranged online have gone wrong. Recently, two cars that were listed for sale on a popular buy and sell website were stolen in the same night. Earlier this month, an encounter at Square One turned violent when a buyer allegedly stole an iPhone he expressed in interest in purchasing.

While Peel police have tried to mitigate the risk by launching two Buy and Sell Exchange Zones—one in Brampton and one in Mississauga—there are some other tips sellers and purchasers can keep in mind when moving online communications to real-world ones.

According to this Peel police document, people purchasing and selling goods online are, in some cases, vulnerable to robbery, fraud and theft. While serious incidents are not necessarily the norm, there are ways to protect yourself.

Some tips?

  • Always meet the buyer or seller in a public place, preferably a busy one. Options include Buy and Sell Exchange Zones and crowded malls
  • Do not agree to meet up at your home or a remote location
  • Bring a friend with you
  • Be extra cautious when selling a small device, such as a smart phone. It's easier for thieves to grab small objects and run away with them.
  • If you're buying, bring only the cash you need to make the purchase

Fraud Prevention:

  • To prevent fraud, try to arrange a face to face exchange if possible (although this isn't always necessary or even possible with eBay or Amazon, you might want to meet with a local buyer or seller you've been communicating with online to complete the transaction)
  • Provide minimal personal information during the transaction
  • If buying online, do not agree to a wire transfer and insist on using PayPal or Google Checkout

Safe shopping, everyone!

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