Safe buying

  • Do not have items shipped or use payment methods other than cash.
  • When buying, you should always meet in-person to inspect the product and exchange funds.
  • Meet in a public place with many people around such as a coffee shop, public building or grocery store.
  • Inspect the item carefully before you exchange money
  • Do not give out personal or banking information (e.g. social insurance number, bank account number, licence) over the Internet.

Buying a Firearm
Do NOT send a photocopy of your identification or PAL over the internet. It is incumbent on all purchasers and vendors to have all the requisite registrations, licences and permits to own and transfer a firearm. Please call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000 and ask for help verifying the licence numbers of both parties before completing your transaction.

To buy safely online you should always be aware of the signs of a fraudulent seller. Here are some things to look out for:

The price of an item is well under market value.
If the price seems too good to be true it probably is.

The seller insists on email contact only.
If you're unable to speak to the seller by phone, and you are not comfortable arranging an inspection over email, then you shouldn't proceed with the transaction.

The seller is located overseas.
Sellers who don't live in Canada aren't permitted to sell items on

You're unable to inspect the item before making payment.
We recommend you always inspect items before making a payment.

You've been asked to pay using a cash transfer service.
All transactions should take place in person with cash.

Inform BuySellTrade of any attempted fraud or suspicious emails, Ads, or other activity by other users. In the case of fraud, file a police report and contact us.

Safe Selling

  • Do not ship items or accept payment methods other than cash.
  • When selling, meet in a public place with many people around.
  • If you are selling something you can’t transport from your home, make sure you’re not alone to meet potential buyers. Invite a friend or neighbor over to help you greet people.
  • Do not give out any personal or banking information (e.g. social insurance number, bank account number, licence) over the Internet.

Selling a Firearm

Do NOT send a photocopy of your identification or PAL over the internet. It is incumbent on all purchasers and vendors to have all the requisite registrations, licences and permits to own and transfer a firearm. Please call the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000 and ask for help verifying the licence numbers of both parties before completing your transaction.

To sell safely online you should be aware of the signs of a fraudulent buyer. Here are some things to look out for:
You're contacted by a buyer from overseas.
Buyers who aren't located in Canada aren't permitted to use Report the buyer to us, contact us with the details.

A buyer is offering more than the asking price.
Don't trust a buyer who offers to pay more than your asking price.

A buyer refuses to be contacted by phone.
Don't transact with buyers who can only be contacted via email.

Fraud Awareness
It's important to be aware of online scams and fraudulent activities and learn how to protect yourself against them. If you become aware of fraudulent activities on stop all contact with the suspicious trader and let us know about it.

Reporting a scam
If you see an ad that you think is fraudulent, receive a phishing email, are contacted by an overseas Buyer or Seller or if you’re suspicious of anything you see on please contact us.

If you've been the victim of fraud you should report it to immediately and make a report to the police.

Report Fraud
What to report
You should report suspicious ads that you think could be fraudulent, particularly if a seller won't provide their contact details or if they ask for payment to be sent overseas.

You should report ads that you think are advertising fake or counterfeit items.

You should report inappropriate behaviour such as:

  1. Activities that are dishonest, misleading, unauthorized or illegal.
  2. Behaviour or language that is personally abusive, damaging or offensive towards you.
  3. Comments that are profane, vulgar, obscene or racist.
  4. Phishing
  5. Fraudulent SMS/Text messages (Smishing)

Look for warning signs

  1. An item is advertised at a very low price - particularly an expensive item such as a car or boat.
  2. The buyer, seller or item is located overseas.
  3. The seller wants to change how they receive a payment to a less safe payment method.
  4. The seller insists on payment via Western Union or another cash transfer service.

Why you should report fraud

  1. Fraud is a criminal offense
  2. Reporting suspected fraud helps us:

    1. investigate an incident and take appropriate action.
    2. protect buyers and sellers like you.
    3. inform others of scams that may be operating on online buying, selling or trading sites so they can better protect themselves.

If you're not sure

Contact us anyway.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

Online fraud
Scammers place ads online that claim to be selling an item at a bargain price. In most cases, these fraudulent sellers are located overseas although they may pretend to live locally. Once you've paid your money they disappear and you can't trace them or the transaction.

Example: You see a great car online that's being advertised for half the market price. You try to contact the seller but they'll only deal with you by email (because they're located overseas). You agree to buy the car and they insist that you use a money transfer service to transfer the money to their account. Once the transaction has gone through you don't hear from them again.

How to protect yourself

  1. Be very wary of goods that are priced well below market rates – particularly big ticket items like cars and boats.
  2. Never use money transfer services such as Western Union to pay for an item.
  3. Make sure you speak to the seller on the phone and wherever possible don't make a payment until you see and inspect the item.

SMS/Text scams

SMS or text message scammers operate in a similar way to online fraudsters but initially contact the seller via text message, usually from an international number.

Example: You receive an SMS/Text from a new buyer who's really keen on the motorbike you've advertised on They tell you that they're located overseas but they're really keen on the bike and they'll pay for it using PayPal and have it shipped overseas. You receive a payment confirmation email and it looks like it's from PayPal but it's fake. The email requests a shipping payment from you and it includes a link to make a money transfer. You pay the shipping fee but then find out that the shipping company doesn't exist and your money has disappeared.

How to protect yourself
You should only deal with buyers and sellers who are located in Canada. Do not respond to SMS/Text messages from international numbers.

Spam is electronic junk mail and it's a common way to receive malicious software. It's used by scammers to trick people into giving them money.

How to protect yourself
Remember - if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Look for the following warning signs:

  1. The subject title of the email has nothing to do with the products on offer.
  2. The words in the email are spelt incorrectly or have apostrophes and spaces in the middle of them. This is done to try to avoid anti-spam filters.
  3. Don't open any spam. Delete it immediately and don't click on links within it or open any attachments.

Phishing is an email scam. Scammers pretend to be from a trusted organization and send you an email requesting that you verify your details or log-in to check your personal information. The email will include a link to a site that closely resembles the website of the organization they're impersonating. Once you enter your username and password the scammer will use your information to access your actual account.

Some emails even contain a program that installs itself on your computer and records your passwords and user names.

Example: You receive an email pretending to be from asking you to update your details. When you click on the link in the email you're taken to a website that looks just like but is in fact fake. You're asked to verify your username, password and credit card details. These details are collected and used by the scammer.

How to protect yourself

  1. Don't open attachments or follow links in emails from people you don't know.
  2. If you receive an email from or another trusted organization don't click on the links in their email. If you think there's a legitimate reason for you to log in, open your browser and go to their website rather than following a link.
  3. Don't use the same username and password for multiple accounts

Remember, will never send you an email asking you to log in and provide credit card or other financial information.

Malware is software that installs itself on your computer. It's often used to collect your username, passwords and other sensitive information. At other times it might install a virus on to your system that can spread to other computers.

Malware is distributed by:

  1. Attachments in spam emails.
  2. Emails from infected computers (these may come from your friends' computers).
  3. Websites that are linked to emails.
  4. Infected files that are shared or downloaded from the internet.

Malware can work quietly in the background so sometimes people don't realize that it's in their system.

How to protect yourself

  1. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.
  2. Scan your system using your anti-virus software regularly.
  3. If you receive an email from a friend that appears odd or out of character don't open any attachments.
  4. Delete spam messages without opening them.
  5. Never open attachments in emails from people you don't know.

Identifying Fake Items

People can use the internet to sell fake items such as software, DVDs, CDs, antiques, collectables, handbags, designer clothes, jewellery and other accessories.

To make sure you're buying the real thing carefully review the ad and research the seller before buying.

How can I tell if an item is a fake?

Here are some tips to identify a fake item.

  1. The cost of the item is well below market value.
  2. The seller has multiple listings for the same item.
  3. The seller avoids questions about the authenticity of the item or where it comes from.
  4. How can I work out if an item is genuine?

To know whether an item is genuine:

  1. Ask the seller for proof of authenticity Such as certificates, warranty cards, receipts and serial numbers.
  2. Make sure that the seller has the item Be suspicious of sellers who don't have the item in their possession or tell you that the item will be delivered from another location.
  3. Check the ad carefully Be suspicious of ads that use words like "authentic copy" or "genuine imitation". Some listings may refer to the brand name such as "Chanel like" or "Gucci style". Spend some time researching the item so you know what to look for.
  4. Make sure you can return it if it's not genuine Before purchasing an item ask the seller about their refund or return policy.

What should I do if I suspect a counterfeit or fake item?
If you suspect an item for sale on is counterfeit or fake please report it to us.’s Terms of Use prohibit the advertisement of fake items. If an item is counterfeit it will be removed from the site and action will be taken against the seller.

Protect yourself
There are lots of ways you can keep your personal data safe and protect yourself from online fraud.

How to keep your personal information private

  1. You should only provide information that's necessary for what you're doing
  2. Do not give out personal or banking information (e.g. social insurance number, bank account number, licence) over the Internet.
  3. If you're using a public computer make sure you log out before you leave and never let the computer save your passwords or username.
  4. When you choose a password use a number or symbol and both upper and lower case. Don't use the same password for all your accounts.

How to keep your computer safe

  1. Install anti-spyware and anti-virus software to stop intruders getting into your computer system. Run your anti-virus software regularly to scan your system and remove any malicious software.
  2. Install all the security patches for your operating system. Microsoft release these regularly. You need to reboot your computer when new software is installed.
  3. Use a firewall. It usually comes as part of your anti-virus software and a firewall keeps hackers from accessing your computer.

Emails and spam

  1. Don't click on a link in an email and then enter your credit card details, even if it seems to be coming from a reputable organization. These emails are often "phishing" for your personal information
  2. Never reply to an unsolicited email or spam. The links in these emails will install software on your computer that collects your usernames and passwords.
  3. Don't open attachments in emails from people that you don't know. Delete these emails before you open them.

Buying online

  1. Be very wary of sellers who ask you to send money overseas. requires that all sellers are based in Canada.
  2. If a deal seems too good to be true it probably is. Scammers will set low prices in order to tempt buyers.
  3. Collect as much information as you can about the seller before you make a purchase. You should be able to access their contact details. Make sure that they own the item for sale.

If you have any concerns or questions, or if you think that a seller is suspicious, contact us.

Pay Safely
Safest Payment Methods
Meet in person to buy or sell an item and always use cash.

Tips and advice

  1. Be suspicious if a seller wants to use payment methods other than cash.
  2. Keep up to date with common scams.
  3. Don't send money overseas. members must live in Canada. If you're asked to send money outside the country, we want to know about it. Contact us.

Password Protection

  1. Check the website address of the site you're on before you enter your password or personal information.
  2. Never send your username or password in an email.
  3. Avoid using public computers to trade and transact online. Public computers (i.e. computers at internet cafes or libraries) can store your personal information making it possible for other people to access it. It's important that you use a trusted and secure computer to access sites where you need to enter your personal details or use your credit card.
  4. Change your password regularly.
  5. Don't use the same password for your profile as you do for other websites.
  6. Create a strong password that contains a combination of numbers and letters. This will make it harder to guess.
  7. If you think your profile or password has been compromised change your password immediately and contact us.