Carole Coughler and her partner are getting settled in their new apartment.
Although this was not their first choice. They had initially planned to rent a home they found on Kijiji.
Carole Coughler: “They actually sent a google map of where it was. We went by to look at it. I talked to them probably three or four times, and they sent several e-mails back and forth.”
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until after they paid a deposit and decided to visit their new home.
Carole Coughler: “Someone was actually there. So when the woman came to the door she was like ‘what are you doing at my house?’ So we kind of figured out it was a total scam.”
And it was too late to reverse the email money transfer.
She went to police and was surprised to hear that she’s not the first to fall victim to this sort of thing.
D/Sgt. Tom Fournier: “We had one complaint all of last year for a fair amount of money and since July of this year we’ve already had four. There’s been a lot of questions of Kijiji ads and apartment rentals at presentations I’ve been to and it’s becoming quite an issue.”
Police say there are several steps you can take in order to ensure you’re not getting scammed.
Those include always meeting with the landlord face-to-face, never send money electronically and never send money before stepping inside the rental unit.
And police also say they’re confident there are more victims who haven’t bothered to come forward.
D/Sgt. Tom Fournier: “Generally success breeds success, we believe it’s under reported. Some people have just washed their hands of it and said ‘we’ve lost the money, we’ve been taken’ and they don’t report it. So the reason that there’s more of them is they’ve been successful.”
Meanwhile, Coughler says she’s accepted the fact that she isn’t getting her 800 dollar deposit back, but wants to bring awareness to the issue so it doesn’t happen to others.
Carole Coughler: “It’s affected us a lot. We don’t have the money, we live paycheck to paycheck.”