Beware of scams on Kijiji: RCMP

Three separate rental scams on Kijiji have been reported to police in Red Deer since March 25.

Three separate rental scams on Kijiji have been reported to police in Red Deer since March 25.

“Three times since March 25 raises some red flags that perhaps this is something that’s starting to trend more in Red Deer,” said Red Deer City RCMP Cpl. Sarah Knelsen on Tuesday.

“We can’t take down ads on Kijiji. All we can do is warn the public on how to be safe and how to avoid becoming a victim of this kind of type of scam.”

Two of the houses listed on the online classified advertisement site were actually for sale and the other house was located in Red Deer but listed a Calgary address. None of them were available for rent.

Scammers copy information from online listings of homes for sale and present them as rental opportunities.

When contacted by potential tenants, the rental scammers claim to be out of the country and instruct victims to send the damage deposit and first month’s rent through an untraceable wire transfer service, such as Moneygram or Western Union. Victims are told they will be sent the keys once the money is received.

Some scammers also ask victims to fill out rental applications that request personal information that could be used for identity theft and other financial fraud.

Knelson said one victim did lose money in the recent scams.

“Once the scammer received the money, he then advised the victim to contact the real estate agent that the house was listed through. The real estate agent had no idea what was going on.”

Here are some safety tips when looking to rent:

l If you can’t view the inside of the place, don’t put down a deposit.

l Be cautious if the price seems low for the size and location. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

l If the photos look professional or appear to be model homes, they may have been copied from a real estate website. Also be cautious if the photos are very low resolution or of little relevance, for example, showing only the bathroom. That may indicate the person claiming to be the owner doesn’t have access to the inside of the home.

l If you’re looking at rental ads, be leery of long, flowery descriptions and lists of features; these are more likely to be copied from realtor listings of houses for sale. Descriptions of roof and furnace repairs are also a flag as they aren’t relevant to renters.

l Steer clear of ads that ask you to respond with information such as your age, occupation, income, gender, bank information or social insurance number.

RCMP want to remind the public that increased vigilance is necessary as scammers continue to find creative ways to victimize trusting people. To learn how to protect yourself and the vulnerable people in your life, visit

“People will try these scams anywhere to see if they can get victims,” Knelsen said.

Kijiji also has a “Staying Safe on Kijiji” section on their website with tips for detecting scammers, including examples of scammer emails.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more provincial funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by FCSS

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month