Edmonton police warn Kijiji shoppers after uncovering scam targeting at least 7 victims

Edmonton police are reminding Kijiji shoppers not to send money before receiving the item they purchased. Kijiji/Handout

An Edmonton woman is facing charges after police allege she defrauded at least seven people through a scam involving the online buy-and-sell website Kijiji.

The EPS Economic Crimes Section began investigating reports of the Kijiji fraud last October.

The investigation revealed buyers had paid a deposit for items advertised on Kijiji, “only to have the original ad and the seller vanish once payment had been received,” police said in a statement Tuesday.

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The items allegedly listed for sale included vehicles, RVs and cargo trailers.

Police believe Tracy Clark, 51, defrauded seven victims of about $6,600 between April 10 and May 30, 2017. She was arrested on Jan. 19 and charged with seven counts of fraud.

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Police recommend the following tips when using online classified sites:

  • Never send money before you receive your items.
  • Conduct all transactions in person, in a public location with video surveillance. If you can, bring a friend or family member.
  • Ask for a bill of sale and identification from the seller. Ensure the identification provided matches the seller.
  • Check the Canadian Police Information Centre database to see if an item has been reported stolen.
  • Ask questions of the seller if an item is priced noticeably below market value: Why is the item discounted? Can the seller provide a purchase receipt?

“We want to remind online classified shoppers not to send money without having received the item, because there’s no protection for you,” Staff Sgt. Sid Kingma with EPS Economic Crimes Section said.

“Online classifieds like Kijiji are great resources for buying and selling second-hand goods, but they require users to take some precautions to protect themselves and their money.”

Police say Kijiji Canada has been working closely with the Edmonton Police Service throughout the investigation.

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