Beware of Electronics Fraud – 21-14073

Date: June 25, 2021

File: 21-14073

Sometimes a deal can be too good to be true.

On June 23, 2021 an individual was approached by two suspects in a commercial parking lot in the 3900 block of Shelbourne Street asking if they wanted to purchase a home theatre projection unit. The deal included a projector, speakers, and a theatre screen, all of which were packaged in what appeared to be original condition. Once a price was negotiated, the buyer paid cash and the transaction was completed.

The buyer took these items home and quickly discovered the contents were not as advertised. The speakers were old and defective, the projector was an outdated model that was not as advertised on the box, and one box contained heavy cement blocks. While the sale of the items was not criminal, the false claims about the merchandise were and constitute a criminal charge of fraud.

The suspects operated out of a van that was tracked back to a rental company from the lower Mainland. A similar incident occurred in the same parking lot back in March of 2021, which was reported and investigated by our officers. The suspects in that case remain outstanding.

Some tips to protect yourself and share with your friends and family:

– Purchase electronics from a reputable electronics store.

– Ask to inspect the contents prior to purchase.

– The seller says the items are “extra or surplus stock” from an install.

– Check and compare the model and serial number to the items inside the box.

– Slow down and take your time. Research the make and model online.

– Cash deals to avoid sales tax may be a sign of a counterfeit operation.

– Walk away if the seller(s) becomes aggressive or if the price is too good to be true.

– Selling electronics out of a vehicle is a warning sign.

If you purchased counterfeit electronics item(s), or if you want to report suspicious sellers, please call the Saanich Police Department using our non-emergency phone line at 250-475-4321. 

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