Woman charged with fraud in Edmonton Kijiji scam
Ad and seller vanish as soon as online payments made, police say
Edmonton police charged a 51-year-old woman with defrauding seven victims out of nearly $7,000 through Kijiji ads for vehicles, RVs and cargo trailers.
The economic crimes section of Edmonton police began investigating in October after receiving numerous reports of the Kijiji fraud, police said in a news release Tuesday.
The buyers paid a deposit for items advertised on the online listings site, only to have the original ad — and the seller — vanish once payment had been received, police said.
The investigation alleges that between April 10 and May 30, 2017, the woman scammed seven people of approximately $6,600.
She was arrested on Jan. 19 and charged with seven counts of fraud.
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Police are reminding online shoppers to be vigilant.
"We want to remind online classified shoppers not to send money without having received the item, because there's no protection for you," said Staff Sgt. Sid Kingma.
"Online classifieds like Kijiji are great resources for buying and selling second-hand goods, but they require users to take some precautions to protect themselves and their money."
Police recommend the following tips for shoppers using online classified sites:
- Never send money before you receive your items.
- Conduct all transactions in person, in a public location with video surveillance. If you can, bring a friend or family member.
- Ask for a bill of sale and identification from the seller. Ensure the identification provided matches the seller.
- Check the Canadian Police Information Centre database to see if an item has been reported stolen.
- Ask questions of the seller if an item is priced noticeably below market value: Why is the item discounted? Can the seller provide a purchase receipt?
Kijiji worked closely with Edmonton police throughout the case and continues to assist the department as they investigate similar complaints, police said.