THUNDER BAY — The city police fraud unit is investigating recent incidents in which local residents were lured by online ads offering furniture and concert tickets.
Police said Tuesday they have received multiple reports that sellers of various items have accepted payment before deleting their accounts from services such as Facebook Marketplace.
In one instance, an unsuspecting Facebook user spotted an ad for a couch, and began conversing with the seller.
The individual interested in the item then agreed to send a down payment via email transfer, with the remainder to be paid upon pickup of the couch.
However, when the person arrived at the address provided by the seller, it turned out the occupant had no knowledge of either the seller or the furniture.
The original ad and the supposed seller's account had also disappeared from Facebook.
Another fraud unfolded the same way, but this time the buyer was looking to get concert tickets.
When the purchaser realized the offer had likely come from a fraudster, the advertiser's Facebook account had already vanished.
Thunder Bay police said it's important to practise extra caution when making purchases through online classified services such as Facebook Marketplace or Kijiiji.
Police advise against providing money to a seller prior to meeting the person face-to-face and confirming that the advertised item is actually available.