Phone switching scam in Richmond

RICHMOND RCMP have recently been investigating two fraudulent online cellphone sales. Buyers responded to ads that were placed on Facebook Marketplace for the latest generation of popular phones made by a well-known company named after a fruit.

On April 27, two buyers on separate occasions had arranged to purchase phones from a seller. Upon meeting, the victims viewed an authentic phone. After money had been exchanged, the authentic phone was switched with a counterfeit version by sleight of hand.

“Everyone likes to save money and finding a good deal can be very enticing. The vast majority of transactions are seamless and proceed without any issues. We simply wish to remind the community that there are some bad actors that do not have your best interests at heart,” cautioned Cpl. Dennis Hwang, Communications Officer, Richmond RCMP, on Tuesday.

Police recommend the following precautions for sellers and buyers for positive transactions:

* Select a very public location to meet with potential buyers or sellers. Public areas are generally safeguarded by security cameras and other patrons nearby.
* Choose sellers or buyers with a positive selling or buying history, if possible. Newly created accounts, typically on Facebook Marketplace should be viewed cautiously.
* Use good common sense – if a deal is too good to be true, then perhaps it is.
* Carrying large amounts of cash also carries risk. Richmond RCMP detachment has a safe transaction area in its lobby where transactions may be conducted. Check with your local police detachment if they offer such a provision in your area. If a buyer or seller refuses to meet at such a location, as it benefits the safety of both parties, consider avoiding the transaction altogether.


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