RCMP encourages Nova Scotians to be scam smart ahead of busy shopping season

November 22, 2022
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

News release

As retailers offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, scammers are also looking to cash in.

"We're asking people to be aware," says Cpl. Wayne Ross of the Nova Scotia RCMP Financial Crime unit. "The more you know how to recognize scams, the less likely you are to become a victim; you can protect yourself from being ripped off."

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, more than 43,000 Canadians have been victims of fraud so far this year. Collectively, they've lost $362.7 million.

There are several red flags that could indicate scammers are behind a sale:

  • The prices are too good to be true – Leading up to the holidays is prime time for scammers to set up bogus e-commerce websites displaying low-cost inventory. These sites can look authentic. Often, the website will accept payment and the shopper will either be sent knock-off products or nothing at all.
  • The website has an odd URL, includes typos or is poorly designed – Genuine businesses invest in their e-commerce websites. The website addresses make sense, the content is well written, the pages are nicely designed, and the sites are easy to navigate while shopping and going through the check-out process. Real companies also share contact information, post privacy policies and outline how to return products.
  • The website includes an unusual payment process – Established e-commerce shops generally follow a standard ordering and payment process: the shopper selects their product, it's added to their shopping cart, and then they enter mailing and credit card information. If a consumer is asked for financial details without making a purchase, the site is fake. It's also unusual for a legitimate vendor to accept cash only.
  • Items are being promoted through unsolicited emails – Consumers need to be wary of emails from organizations they've never done business with. If a legitimate seller is sending promotions via email, their website is most likely also advertising the deal. It's generally safer to check a website directly rather than clicking on a link included in an unsolicited email message.

"By the use of various electronic scams, fraudsters steal personal information or payment data from unsuspecting shoppers or distribute malware designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a person's computer system," says Cpl. Ross.

"As Nova Scotians gear up to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, we urge them to be cautious and scam smart."


Contact information

Cpl. Chris Marshall
Public Information Officer
Nova Scotia RCMP

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