Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald

Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald says she was scammed out of $1,000 after posting an online ad offering cleaning services. (CBC)

A Cornwall, P.E.I., woman hoping to make some extra money before Christmas by cleaning houses says she is out $1,000 after an online scam.

Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald is now warning others to be careful.

She wanted to make some additional money to help pay for her daughter's Christmas presents, so she posted an online ad offering to do cleaning work.

MacDonald said a man answered the ad saying he was about to move to Charlottetown, and asking her to clean his apartment before he and his family arrived.

"We talked on the phone numerous times, we emailed, text messaged back and forth, and talked about his family and my family," she said.

"He said how he wanted to help me, so I could get money to support my daughter."

MacDonald said the man gave her a specific address and sent her a money order for $1,400. He asked her to forward $1,000 to a mover, which she did.

She said the $1,000 left her account, but the money order the bank had accepted turned out to be a fraud.

She reported it to police, but said there’s little that can be done now.

"We can't call the phone number that I had for them, it's not legit anymore," MacDonald said.

"The email is no longer active, and there's no way of getting a hold of this guy. Same with the moving company."

Charlottetown Police say scams like this are common. They pass on all information they receive to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Police say there are some red flags people can look for.

"It's sending money back, giving your personal information, giving your SIN number, giving your bank account number," said Richard Collins, deputy chief of the Charlottetown Police Service.

"Those things you should not be doing unless you know the individual, you've identified that individual, and you are certain that either the service they're providing, or the item that they're selling you is there to start with."

The Canadian Bankers Association says it's hard for banks to tell when a money order is real. The organization suggests that electronic payments are the safest form of transaction.