Winnipeg woman's house sale ad used for online rental scam
Kijiji ad repurposes Re/Max ads to scam Winnipeg renters
A Winnipeg woman wants online classified site Kijiji to better monitor its postings after a string of strangers showed up at her home over the weekend.
Nezihe Ucar recently listed her house for sale with a Re/Max agent. She wants to sell the house and move to Montreal to be closer to her daughter.
But on Sunday, a bunch of strangers showed up at her door, saying they'd seen an ad that the home was for rent — and they wanted a tour inside.
"I was totally shocked. I didn't know what to make of it at first," said Ucar.
Eventually, one woman showed Ucar a Kijiji ad — almost identical to the Re/Max posting from her real estate agent.
Ucar said other people were already contacting her real estate agent, asking if the house was actually for rent.
"I just want to simply sell the house — that's all," said Ucar. "For the people coming to the door, they are simply looking to rent the place for themselves."
The ad was removed from Kijiji within about 24 hours, but it was reposted on Tuesday.
He also said only photos of the home were available, and a tour wouldn't be possible because he wasn't in the city.
Later, a CBC producer called the person who posted the ad.
The man who answered was insistent everything be discussed over email, but he did say the person living in the house currently was going to be moving out as soon as possible.
He also requested a security deposit and $900 per month for rent be sent over email.
"She'll be moving out as soon as you've got the key," the man said.
Homeowner wants more oversight at Kijiji
"I don't know who did that. I don't know what's the purpose," said Ucar. "They just want to make money, in how do you say -- a criminal way?"
A spokesperson for Kijiji Canada said verifying every ad prior to posting isn't possible, but there is a team that looks into common "flags" that signify a dishonest posting.
In Ucar's case, the ad has been identified as a scam attempt, and the user has been banned.
The spokesperson said the company warns users to follow a set of rules when responding to ads on their site.
- All transactions should be done in person
- Never send money electronically
- If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is
- Meet in a public place with many people around, such as a coffee shop
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Winnipeg police commercial crime unit had not received any complaints about the scam, but a spokesperson for the service said Ucar is encouraged to make a police report.
Manitoba RCMP said they haven't had any Kijiji rental home complaints over the last year, but a spokesperson said occurrences often go unreported.
- RCMP recommends protecting yourself by following these tips:
- Do not provide personal information online
- Do background research before renting a place, including checking references
- Do not send money through a money service business for a product you have not seen or a service you have not verified