By Megan Mattice
The death of Anacaster man, Tim Bosma, has many authorities warning people about buying and selling online.
Belleville Police Staff Sergeant Al Portt, says that conducting purchases over the internet, it is always a case of ‘buyer beware’.
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with. You don’t know the motives behind the people selling or buying. There are good people genuinely looking to get rid of their used car, but there are also people who use those websites for other, more disturbing reasons,” said Portt.
Not only is the option for fraud a major issue, but there is always a chance for an outcome far worse.
In the case of Tim Bosma, who was selling his truck through an online ad, the result of a test drive ended with his death.
Bosma went missing on May 6th, after he went on a test drive with two men interested in buying his black Dodge Ram truck.
On Tuesday, police on horseback were searching a large, rural property near Kitchener where it is believed the charred remains of Bosma were found.
Originally Bosma registered his truck on the famous buy-sell website Kijiji and, after his remains were found, the website released a statement:
“We confirmed to the police that the ad posted by Mr. Bosma on Kijiji did not feature contact information, nor did it receive any replies, which determines the incident did not occur as a result of his ad posting on Kijii.”
Bosma also registered his truck on Autotrader.com and they have not commented.
Ruth Ragan, an admin on Belleville’s 24/7 Yard Sale Facebook page, says she isn’t responsible, but still tries to caution people using the page.
“Since this is just a yard sale site, I am not responsible for selling the things, but the only thing I tell people is to meet in a public place during the day and not to go alone,” said Ragan.
Ragan says, as the admin, she do not add anyone with a profile that has a closed or private Facebook that she cannot determine, to at least some degree, who the person is.
“Not all people are bad, but you need to be sure you’re protecting yourself because there are people who use these ads for luring,” says Sergeant Portt.
Luring, defined by the Criminal Code of Canada under section 172.1, is when the accused tries to contact or come in contact with anyone under the age of 18 using any form of telecommunication, i.e. the Internet.
Sergeant Portt’s advice for when buying or selling online is simple:
“Have a buddy system when picking up or selling a purchase. Chose a neutral site to meet, preferably in the public area.”
Portt also says that if there are any suspicions, to contact your local police.
“We all have what I call ‘spidy senses’. If something doesn’t feel right, contact the appropriate people who can take control of the situation properly,” said Portt.
“It’s important to do your homework and to know who you are selling to or buying from.”