Fraud increasing on online marketplaces – Taylor Swift fans targeted

(Image credit: Ticketmaster Blog)

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is warning the public that there has been a significant increase in the risk of financial loss when conducting purchases through Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. 

In recent weeks, the Fraud Unit has received an increase in reports of fake ticket sales for the sold-out Taylor Swift concert, with some complainants losing upwards of $2,000. Ottawa residents have lost more than $12,000 to this scam in the last three days alone.  

Use caution if you are making an online purchase with an unknown seller. Fraud Unit Investigators are seeing a recent trend where buyers place large deposits on unseen goods with unknown sellers, only to never receive the product. It’s vital to take the time to meet with the seller, inspect what you are buying, and question anything that seems too good to be true. If you are not sure how to proceed, you can call our partners at Community Navigation of Eastern Ontario by dialling 211 or visiting, and they can help walk you through any questions.

New trend: Reverse e-transfer scams
We are also seeing a new trend of reverse e-transfer scams where residents think they receive payment or a deposit for goods. Sellers will often click links without carefully reviewing them, which gives criminals access to their banking information. Criminals are using fake and hacked social media accounts that look legitimate and then redirect the money to fraudulent bank accounts.

According to the RCMP, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported that they received fraud and cybercrime reports totalling a staggering $530 million in victim losses. Nearly a 40% increase from the unprecedented $380 million in losses in 2021. They further indicate that, unfortunately, the increase in financial loss isn’t tied to an increase in reporting—the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that only 5 to 10% of people report fraud.

“While police are there to help, and we will investigate and lay charges where warranted, a lot of these incidents rely on the courts to determine the process, including deciding what restitution is appropriate, which can often take years to resolve,” said Fraud Unit Investigator Constable Shaun Wahbeh. “This really is a buyer-beware situation, and residents need to be smart about how they shop online.” 

If you have been defrauded, please file a report online at If you’re not sure, contact 211.

Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which monitors trends that help to inform the public on how to avoid falling victim to new and emerging scams.


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