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Small dollars add up for criminals when it comes to online shopping

keyboard, bank card, and a lock

FROM A NOVEMBER 4, GREY BRUCE OPP MEDIA RELEASE — There are ways to maintain online security and avoid being scammed when shopping online, according to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Online shopping is convenient and popular with consumers, but it also increases the likelihood shoppers will be financially victimized. Last year, 1179 Ontarians lost more than $1.2 million through online shopping transactions, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. This is nearly half of the total $2.7 million lost by all victims in Canada. These transactions occurred on online shopping, trading, selling, renting and social media sites. So far this year, 607 victims have lost more than $862,000. This number is expected to rise, especially during the holiday buying season.

Here are some ways to stay safe while shopping online:

  • Verify the business and read their reviews
  • Check that the URL for the site begins with 'https', indicating that it is secure
  • Understand the terms and conditions for payment, returns and warranties
  • Monitor your financial statements regularly for any fraudulent charges
  • Create strong passwords and change them frequently
  • Use private WI-FI for transactions

Personal safety is important, particularly for shoppers who use sites where property transactions are expected to occur in person. A number of OPP detachments are inviting members of the public to use OPP Detachment parking lots to facilitate transactions at designated parking spaces. For more information visit

For helpful tips and links, follow the OPP on Twitter (@OPP_News), Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #CyberAware.

For scams and/or fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre If you or someone you know have been a victim of digital or online cybercrime, contact your local police service or local OPP detachment.


Get Cyber Safe is a national, multi-jurisdiction, public awareness campaign created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online. 

Cyber Security Awareness Month toolkit (courtesy of Public Safety Canada)

Cyber Security Risks (courtesy of Public Safety Canada)


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Updated March 12, 2020.

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