New online sales scam targeting Ontario residents


Published September 14, 2023 at 9:56 am

online scam ontario
Photo by Anna Shvets

Police are warning about a new scam that has seen Ontario residents losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The OPP say they have recently received reports of victims purchasing heavy machinery or farm equipment from sellers believed to be in the United States, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Much like the moving sale fraud seen in many Facebook groups, in this scam, a victim will see a “good deal” for heavy machinery or farm equipment while searching online.

The fraudster posts stolen images and information about the equipment from other websites or platforms.

And the victim contacts the poster and agrees on a price. The logistics for shipping are discussed and the fraudster requests payment in the form of a wire transfer to a financial institution located in the U.S., police say.

After receiving payment, the fraudsters stop communicating with the victim. And the victim never receives the equipment.

In 2022, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received fraud reports totalling $8.9 million in victim losses related to merchandise frauds.

But it is estimated that only five to 10 per cent of victims report scams and frauds.

Police offer the following prevention tips:

  • If a deal seems to be too good to be true, it is. Fraudsters use reputable websites to post stolen images and equipment information
  • If you don’t know the buyer/seller, investigate them thoroughly (i.e. internet map searches for the address, reverse image searches of the equipment, and consider contacting local heavy equipment repair companies)
  • If possible, physically inspect the equipment or consider having a professional conduct the inspection
  • Don’t be influenced by an extreme sense of urgency by the other party

To learn more about merchandise scams and other frauds visit

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