Internet justice: Vigilantes are finding marked up products online and reporting the sellers
VANCOUVER -- Even during a pandemic some people are trying to make a quick buck by targeting those in need of certain items.
All over the internet, sellers who purchased items including masks en masse are attempting to resell those goods at inflated prices.
Those feeling frustrated about the phenomenon tied to COVID-19 may take comfort in knowing that there are also unsung heroes online, who are trying to put a stop to it.
The internet vigilantes have been working hard. They said they didn't want their names published due to safety concerns, and because they don't want someone trying to stop them.
But they told CTV News they're finding hundreds of posts on sites like Craigslist and Kijiji for boxes of masks, respirators and gloves. The boxes are listed at absurdly high prices, and the posts are all over Metro Vancouver.
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Among them, one poster asked $10 for a single roll of toilet paper.
A woman from East Vancouver who's been self-isolating at home said she's one of the people reporting these posts.
She said instead of feeling helpless as she watches updates on the pandemic from home, this is her way of doing something good for others.
Over the last two weeks, when she saw inappropriate posts, she flagged them to the host site. The posts were then removed.
She does not report legitimate posts, like those of people trying to do good by hand-sewing masks and then selling their products online.
But she says she's been watching hourly, and her work appears to be paying off. She told CTV there used to be hundreds of these posts, but on Monday, there were fewer than a dozen in the area.
She believes the posters are trying to circumvent her efforts by relabelling their ads – for example, one post refers to a product being resold as a "fashion mask."
Craigslist has made it clear that the sale of prescription drugs and medical equipment is not allowed.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander