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Ont. mother loses $6K during Facebook marketplace transaction

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An Ontario woman is sharing her story after she lost $6,000 by clicking a fraudulent link disguised to look like an e-transfer during a Facebook Marketplace exchange.

“It looked very legitimate,” Amanda Mazzotta-Sousa told CTV News Toronto.

Mazzotta-Sousa was selling a ‘Diaper Genie’ she no longer needed and listed it on Facebook Marketplace. Not long after, she said someone contacted her to say they would buy it for $40 and sent her a text message with a link that appeared to be for an e-transfer.

In reality, the link took Mazzotta Sousa to a website that ended up draining her bank account.

“I punched in my password and my card number. I pressed sign in and it directed me to another page,” Mazzotta-Sousa said.

After Mazzotta-Sousa did that, the website kept refreshing and the payment never went through. Then, she noticed someone hacked into her and her daughter’s bank accounts, taking $6,000 in total.

A screenshot of the link can be seen above.

Angela Dennis, CEO and President of Central Ontario’s Better Business Bureau, told CTV News Toronto scammers are manipulating links in texts in an effort to steal your information.

“It took her to a website that looked like her bank, so she didn’t question it,” Dennis said. “The scammers are getting very sophisticated and they know what the banking websites look like.”

Fortunately, when Mazzotta-Sousa complained to her bank, they conducted an investigation which took about ten days and they refunded her money, which was great news for her.

“I got all my money back. Thank goodness,” Mazzotta-Sousa said.

However, she said she wanted to warn others to be careful about accepting e-transfers from strangers.

“We are just moms trying to help other moms. I want to be aware of what happened so it doesn’t happen to them,” said Mazzotta-Sousa.

If you’re concerned about accepting an e-transfer when selling something, consider meeting the buyer in person and taking cash. It’s advisable to meet in a public space, like a police station. If they won’t meet you there, chances are it’s a scam. 

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