Protect Yourself from Online Scams

The Salt Spring Exchange continues to grow and get used by more and more of our community, visitors and fans of Salt Spring around the world. Regrettably, that also puts us on the radar of people who are known to frequent places like Craigslist for scams and other fraudulent activity. There have been recent reports by the RCMP of scams targeting people looking to rent on Salt Spring. Someone has been contacting people posting on the Exchange looking to rent with offers for rentals and then asking them to send deposit cheques/wire transfers without first seeing the place or meeting the landlord in person. This is a scam.

Tips for avoiding scams:

  • Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
  • Do not extend payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  • Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person.
  • Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union) - anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
  • Don't accept cashier/certified checks or money orders - banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
  • Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a "guarantee".
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, paypal account, etc).
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.
  • Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.

We work hard to do all we can to prevent spam listings. If you ever encounter a listing that looks like spam, please alert us immediately. We work seven days a week, multiple times a day to moderate content and one of the things we regularly have to do is delete spam listings from all the spam hot spots around the world.

However, one thing we can't control are people who respond to listings. If we locked this up, no one would be able to use the site. Here's the tip. If you ever receive a response to something you have listed on the Exchange and the person is asking for money, something doesn't seem right about they have written, they use unusual email addresses and names that don't match, or change in different communication, this is likely a spammer. Never give money for anything in advance and take steps to ensure you know who you are communicating with when you use the Exchange. If you are ever concerned with your safety for any reason, contact the RCMP immediately. If you think it is a scam, there is a good chance it is. Fortunately, relative to the volume of postings on the Exchange each day, these are few of these issues from time to time.

We do everything we can to protect all of our community members, but we all have to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves online by using common sense.

Thank you,

Salt Spring Exchange

April 24, 2015 10:13 AM