Kijiji scams have claimed over 1,500 victims and 2,100 complaints in 2017 The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre states

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According to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre states that more than 2,100 complaints and over 1,500 victims of merchandise being fraudulently sold on Kijiji, Canada’s most popular trading website.

A spokesman for Kijiji explained that a combination of “bots” and off-shore call centres comb popular reselling sites for new ads, especially for higher-end items like cars, real estate and cell phones. Then reply emails are sent, sometimes customizing them with regional landmarks or names of  local celebrities.

Sikstrom said these kind of “reply scam” frauds often originate in countries in Africa or Eastern Europe, with call centres, “account managers” and a sales force working on commission. “The more lines they cast, so to speak, the more fish they catch.”

The scams can be devilishly persuasive. Buyers can receive emails saying funds are pending to be dropped into a bank account, or even receive an actual deposit that is later retracted because it came from a stolen credit card. By then, the money the seller has wired to a shipping agent or a delivery company is gone.

Fraud centre spokesman Allan Boomhour said the PayPal scam can sound more convincing to the uninitiated. “If you’re a first-time user of PayPal in the scenario, you might not know any different and assume this is how it works, and bite on it.”

Be especially suspicious, said Sikstrom, if the buyer insists on communicating by text only. This put them outside Kijiji’s email system, which has filters to weed out illegitimate offers.

“You know the saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true’, is probably the truest advice we can give.”

Read the full story over at The Ottawa Citizen.

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.