Craigslist rental scammer frustrates Kamloops woman
Police say there isn't much they can do because the scam originates from outside Canada
A Kamloops, B.C. woman says an internet fraudster won't stop using her personal details and one of her classified ads to scam would-be renters out of money.
Nicky Plato says she recently found out someone took information from her online rental listing on Kijiji, and created a fake ad with it on Craigslist.
On Sunday night, a woman showed up at her door, expecting to move in.
"She believed that it was her house, come September 1st," Plato said.
The woman pointed her to the Craigslist ad, which asks for a $450 deposit to be wired to secure the lease. Plato contacted the scammer, posing as an interested renter. She was shocked when the scammer sent her copies of her photos, including one of her in her home.
"Literally, the hair on my arms stood up. I really didn't think that my information would be that vulnerable when I am renting online to local people in Kamloops on Kijiji. I never thought it would be that vulnerable," she said. "He has my address, my licence plate number, my name, my picture — everything."
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Plato says she flagged the fake advertisement, but the scammer continues to re-post it on Craigslist — even after she spoke to the poster, a man who calls himself Justin Johnson, and told him to stop.
CBC news also contacted "Justin Johnson," who said he's in Africa doing missionary work.
"It's available for rent, $900. Free utilities, the fridge," he said of the rental property.
He hung up when CBC News asked him why he was trying to rent a house he didn't own.
The RCMP said there isn't much the force can do because it appears the scammers are working out of Africa.
Plato says she just wants it to stop.
"I feel very physically sick for other people giving him a deposit that is absolutely going nowhere," she said.
With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan