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Nancy Phillips

This long weekend we had an unpleasant and unexpected event occur, one of my relatives was scammed when selling a piece of furniture on Kijiji. Online fraud is known to be growing at double digit rates each year and is currently a $20+ billion-dollar industry. Like other personal finance lessons, none of us are really being educated about it in an effective way, it’s more by hearsay. That is of course only if the person shares their experience with the people around them, many are too ashamed. I hope this blog helps you, or your family and friends, avoid this harrowing experience. Please share.

Here’s what happened:

  1. They said they wanted to buy the item, then they ask for your email – so they can “pay” you.
  2. They overpay because there is a movers fee or some strange tax charge that you must forward first, “before the mover can come and pick it up.” In this case the item was $1,000 but they sent $1,400 that “included the moving fee.”
  3. They would only use PayPal, not etransfer.
  4. They create urgency and bully with phone calls, “the mover is coming in two hours.” They get you stressed, your increased cortisol levels decrease your ability to think clearly, and they often pray on the elderly or young adults. In this case they played good cop, bad cop with the mother playing the sweet role, and then having her son call four times over the course of the afternoon to push my relative to take action. They said the full payment had already been taken from their account, and “couldn’t understand why my family member couldn’t see it in their PayPal account.”

* Be sure to Google the phone number with the word ‘scam’ after it to see if there is a history.

This second scam email asks for Tax Fee Fund $500. The first email asked for a fee of $400 for movers.
  • They make the payment confirmation email look professional with the email title and logos. Be sure to look closer and read the real email to the right if you receive one.
  • They often target items around $1,000 so they can stay below the fraud radar. 
  • They evidently increase their scamming on weekends when the police fraud offices are closed, I guess in hopes people won’t follow up with calls or submitting the fraud forms – not happening in this case!

Here’s what the police site says to do if you are a victim:

A. Gather all information about the fraud. This includes documents, receipts, copies of emails and/or text messages.

B. Report the incident to your local police. This ensures that they are aware of which scams are targeting their residents and businesses. Keep a log of all your calls and record all file or occurrence numbers.

C. Contact your national anti-fraud centre. 

D. Report the incident to the financial institution where the money was sent (e.g., bank or credit union, credit card company or internet payment service provider).

E. If the fraud took place online through facebook, eBay, a classified ad such as Kijiji or a dating website, be sure to report the incident directly to the website. These details can be found under “report abuse” or “report an ad.”

As always, let me know if you have anything to add.

Please share this so more people can prevent this from happening to their loved ones.

Thank you,

Nancy

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