We are actively on KIJIJI every single day and love the power this site brings to both buyers and sellers of nearly everything. Generally, it is a safe place for transacting when proper steps are taken. Like many things, there are scammers on the platform taking advantage of unsuspecting visitors. In this post, we cover some common scams as well as some lesser-known ones. Be sure to also check out our follow up post on red flags to watch out for and how to avoid getting scammed.
Requesting Funds vs Sending Funds
This scam is relatively simple in nature. A buyer will reach out to you seeming to be extremely interested in buying your item. They will ask if they can place a deposit which is usually a substantial amount compared to your asking price. They will promise to pay the rest upon pickup. They will say that they sent the e-transfer to the email you provided. Everything sounds great, right?
Wrong. If you have auto-deposit set up, you'll be confused as to why the funds didn't automatically land. The buyer will usually mirror your confusion but insist that you simply accept the transfer. The caveat is that the "transfer" they sent to you is actually a money request in which you are sending them cash. This is sometimes accomplished by stating that the bank they use is a French bank and that the request will arrive in French rather than English.
Fake Payment Confirmation
This is another simple scam that has a couple of variations. The first is when a buyer will set to come to pick up an item from a seller and everything appears normal. When the scammer arrives to buy the item they will ask if they can send an e-transfer to pay for it. The scammer then will show the seller that the transfer was sent on their phone from their bank in hopes that the seller will hastily decide to let the item go. If the seller doesn't immediately let the scammer leave with the item - the scammer might try to push it along and suggest that e-transfers can sometimes take hours to arrive. They will push the seller to let them leave. In this scam, the "transfer sent" screen is fake the entire time and the buyer will never get the money. If the seller does not release the item, the buyer will typically back out citing that they do not have the time to wait for the transfer. They will never be heard from again.
A variation of this scam is a bit more complex. When receiving an e-transfer you'll typically get an email from the official account which is currently "firstname.lastname@example.org". The scamming buyer would register a domain and email that looks similar such as "intrac", "intterac", etc. This would give them access to an email that might look identical at first glance. The scammer would then show up to purchase in person and ask to pay via e-transfer. Different from the previous scam, they would ask for your email and then send you "confirmation" using the fake email in hopes that you don't realize the URL is slightly off. Always double-check your actual account prior to letting the item go.
The Delivery Scheme
These scams should be obvious but happen on a regular basis and unfortunately tend to involve high-ticket items. Many of these start via text with an auto-responder trying to get someone to take the bait. Most of these are pretty obvious with the title of your post in full typed out. For example, you'll receive a text saying "Hi there, I am interested in your 2018 Harley Davidson Fat Bob Fully Serviced is it still available?". Clearly not how people talk. The scammer will then mention something about how busy they are and ask if they can pay you the full amount plus the shipping cost to have someone else pick the item up. This may seem plausible but this is where things fall apart.
They typically will ask to pay via cheque or money order - some sort of reversible or easily forged payment method. In most cases, they will send you an e-cheque which you can deposit digitally. Banks will need time to review and bounce fake cheques that are deposited online which gives the scammer time to do their work. They will ask that you withdraw the amount that the paid extra to give cash to the person picking up. The scammer will work quickly to have someone pick up both the cash and the item. Inevitably the fake payment will bounce and you will be left out of both those funds and the item being sold.
Phishing Emails from "KIJIJI"
This is a relatively common occurrence online and in general, you should avoid clicking links when you do not know where they lead. This scam will start with someone reaching out either via KIJIJI messenger or text and getting your personal email. Once they have an email address to use for the scam they will send out an email that seems to be from KIJIJI saying something about your account being compromised, expiring, needing to be updated, or anything else along those lines. It will usually contain a link that leads to what would appear to be the KIJIJI login page asking for your email and password. From there it might even give you a confirmation message thanking you for confirming their scheme. You've now given them your password which they will use to hijack other accounts under your name.
Credit Union Reversible Deposits
While most major banks and credit unions in Canada typically do not allow reversals on e-transfers once the deposit has been accepted, recently it has been discovered that some credit unions do give the sender a window to cancel any transfer they have sent. An article in CTV news outlined how this happened to them and the video below shows a more recent occurrence just a couple of months ago. This opens the door to scammers sending you a transfer, having it deposited, and then having it canceled shortly after they retrieve the items. It is important to understand which banks allow reversals and, if any questions, require cash only or a minimum time before the item can be picked up.
Fake Items for Sale
Over the past decade, there has been a massive influx of fake items landing in North America. In many cases, fake items may come sealed in packaging that is nearly an exact replica of the actual product making it easy for scammers to pass off the item as most buyers won't realize until it is too late. Always ensure that the item isn't a cheap copy even if it requires you to open the packaging of a gift.
If you're buying a vehicle, ensure that the work they have done has paperwork or at the very least can be visually confirmed. There are a lot of cheap parts on sites like Amazon and Alibaba which are not nearly as valuable as their true counterparts.
A bit lesser-known scam is when people list items that are entirely nonexistent. These may be used to try and pull a deposit (see below) or to offer delivery with payment up-front. Many will seem overly kind suggesting that they can just bring it to you instead of you having to drive all the way to them to pick it up. For this kindness, they will generally ask for a partial payment upfront. The item will never arrive and you will never hear from them again.
This is a fairly well-known and easily avoidable scam. In this scheme, the scammer will suggest that there is overwhelming interest in the item for sale. They push the buyer to leave a deposit on the item with the intention to hold it. After a deposit is sent, they will ghost the buyer and disappear with the cash.
Third-Party Website Scams
This is a newer scheme that mainly targets vehicle sellers which have most recently flown under the radar. The scammer will reach out as a potential buyer of your vehicle, typically with a script asking if it's still available and suggesting that they are going to come soon to view it and take it away. They will then ask for a vehicle history report but rather than a reputable source like CARFAX, they will have a site that they suggest that you have likely never heard of. This is because the website in itself is a scam. The scammer will hope that you simply go to the site, enter the VIN and buy the report. One of two things happens from here.
First, and least malicious, the payment will be processed by a reputable processing partner and you will purchase a fake CARFAX-style report. The scammer will stop contacting you after you send the document or come up with a reason to back out of the deal. They have already achieved their goal of having you pay for the fake report.
Second, and more harmful, the payment processor itself is the scam that will collect your credit card information. In these cases, you'll want to immediately cancel your credit card before the info is used or sold.
Whether you're buying or selling on KIJIJI, we hope this post gives you some insight into some key scams to watch out for. We will work to update this article as we come across more schemes as we are actively on KIJIJI every single day. As a follow-up, be sure to check out our article on KIJIJI Red Flags: How to Avoid Getting Scammed which goes over some important tips and warning signs. Thanks for reading! Your friend, Fred