August 22, 2014 10:43 am

WATCH: Okanagan vacationers victims of online rental fraud

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton family was left without a vacation home and out a thousand dollars, after falling victim to an alleged rental fraud scam. Chantal Coschizza explains. 

WEST KELOWNA- It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation for Hassan, (who has asked to keep his last name confidential) and his family.

Instead, the Edmonton family lost $1,000 and their promised vacation home in an online rental scam.

Hassan responded to an advertisement on Kijiji, a free classifieds website.

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The couple who allegedly posted the ad promised a West Kelowna vacation home with a pool, breathtaking view, and enough room for Hassan’s family.

He communicated with the couple, Hamza Asad and Jacqueline Eagle, by email and phone.

“They seemed very nice, the emails were well written and we agreed on a price. Then they asked for a deposit to confirm the reservation,” Hassan says.

The couple asked for a $1,000 renters deposit to be transferred electronically. Hassan refused to give them the money unless he was provided with their bank account number, to prove the legitimacy of the advertisement.
Once the couple gave Hassan their TD account number, he transferred over the money, believing he was safe.

However, when Hassan and his family arrived to their promised home on August 3, they were surprised to learn that there were people living there, and that it was never available for rent.

“The gentleman came out and asked me what I’m doing there, and I quickly realized something was wrong. I said I’m looking for Hamza Asad and Jacqueline Eagle and he said, I don’t know these people,” he explains.

Hassan, his wife, in-laws and three young children were left without a place to stay at 10:30pm.

The couple has not responded to Hassan’s recent emails and phone calls,and the  online ad has been taken down.

Hassan has since contacted the police, TD bank, and Kijiji in the hopes that the people responsible can be caught.

Both Kijiji and the RCMP warn that online users should never send or transfer money online, and that payments should always be made in person.

The RCMP offers more tips for online safety:
• Do not be fooled by prices that seem too good to be true.
• Try to communicate with the seller by talking to them on the phone, instead of just email.
• Do not give out any personal information including your bank account or credit card numbers.
• If possible, ask neighbors about the landowners and the history of the property.
Hassan hopes that by speaking out publically, he can make sure no other family is fooled by similar scams.

More info: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

© Shaw Media, 2014

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