Tuesday, September 6, 2011

News: Another Kijiji Money Order scam investigated by police

If someone's exchanging "money" over Kijiji with Western Union Money Orders, 100% of the time, one of the parties is stupid. Usually a fraudster is sending you a fake money order for more than the required price and asks you to wire back the difference -- you get stuck with a fake money order. Or, they want you to send a wire transfer as deposit on, say, an apartment. The apartment doesn't exist.

IN PERSON. USE CASH. You've been warned. Now, on to the latest warning. This one's from police in Kingston, Ontario:

Public Safety Alert—Kijiji Secret Shopper Scam

The Kingston Police Criminal Investigation Unit has received numerous reports of a Secret Shopper Scam defrauding people of money.

The scam appears to be a legitimate job advertisement posted on Kijiji for work as a: Secret Shopper. The person applies via email to a contact person expressing an interest in the position, Instructions are sent to the applicant, and then a cheque arrives with further details. The applicant is asked to make a minor purchase at a local department store chain.

The applicant is told they are to evaluate the staff based on certain criteria laid out in one of the instructional emails. The second part of their assignment is to then cash the cheque provided and send the money minus the shopper’s commission of $300.00 via Western Union to an overseas address in order to evaluate the Western Union employees. The cheques sent to the shoppers are stolen from businesses in the GTA and altered; the shopper cashes the cheque and sends the remaining money to a false address in the United Kingdom.

These ads do appear legit, the perpetrators use disposable email addresses and fake names to communicate with the unsuspecting shoppers. These names and emails are discarded after the scam is completed.

If you are considering responding to such an advertisement, research the contact person and the company they are affiliated to. As well look at the company who issued the cheque, and see if they are involved in this type of activity.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Craig MacFarlane, of the Fraud Unit at 613-549-4660 Ext: 6144, CrimeStoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, on line at www.media@kpf.ca.

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