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Woman tries to sell phone on Kijiji, gets scammed out of $12K

An Ontario woman was hoping to get some money by selling a smartphone she had through a classified website, but says she ended up being scammed out of $12,000.

“I had no knowledge of Kijiji as this was the first time I used the classified website,” Victoria Garcia-Gomez of Scarborough, Ont. told CTV News Toronto.

After Garcia-Gomez posted a Google Pixel 7 smartphone on Kijiji for $600, she said someone contacted her to buy it.

“The person said ‘I can send you the cash and then you can send the phone to me,’ and I’m like ok," said Garcia-Gomez.

Garcia-Gomez said the buyer told her that she would receive an email from Kijiji that would help them process the transaction.

“I did get something and it looked like it was from Kijiji. It looked legit,” she said.

Garcia-Gomez said she was instructed to enter her banking information into a link and send it back. But after she did that, her bank contacted her to say someone was in her bank accounts and they were being drained.

“I was shocked. I checked my account and there was a large amount of money that was taken from my chequing account and I’m like, ‘Ok, let me check my other account,’ and it was depleting, depleting, depleting," said Garcia-Gomez.

In the end, Garcia-Gomez says she had $12,000 drained from her chequing account and line of credit.

A spokesperson for Kijiji confirmed to CTV News Toronto it doesn’t have third-party payment or delivery services, adding users should not click on any external links when interacting with other users.

“In this instance, the scam occurred outside of the Kijiji platform, and we permanently blocked the phishing link,” the statement reads. “Kijiji takes all claims of fraud extremely seriously and has a dedicated Community Support team and a variety of technologies in place that are devoted to spotting fraudulent behaviour in a timely fashion.”

The classified website advises its users to always conduct their conversations “within the Kijiji ecosystem,” to consider the safety and privacy implications of sharing their phone number and to be mindful of potential scams or unwanted calls.

“The well-being of our community is our top priority and Kijiji encourages any victims of fraud or monetary loss to file a report with their local police department, and to report the incident to the Kijiji Community Support team,” Kijiji’s statement reads.

Francis Syms, a cybersecurity professor and Associate Dean at Humber College, told CTV News Toronto nobody should ever click on a link and enter their private information unless it’s from someone they know and it’s a trusted payment system.

“Once you click on that link you'll be asked to enter your personal information and that might allow them to take your account over," said Syms. “Before you click on a payment link you should actually Google it and find out is this a reputable company like PayPal or Interac."

Garcia-Gomez banks with the Bank of Montreal (BMO), and a spokesperson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that they have completed their investigation and been in touch with her.

“Given the priority we place on customer confidentiality, we’re unable to disclose details of this specific matter. In situations involving a suspected fraud, we always encourage customers to contact the police so we can fully support their investigation and the successful recovery of funds,” the bank said in a statement.

“With telephone fraud and digital crime on the rise, it is important to remember that protecting accounts is a partnership between customers and their bank.”

BMO says it’s the customer’s responsibility to protect their account information, PIN and online banking passwords at all times.

“We encourage customers to be diligent in protecting their online and mobile credentials, to closely monitor their account activity and frequently change their password or PIN,” the statement reads. “If customers think they are becoming victim of a scam or notice strange activity on their account, they should report it to their bank immediately and contact the police.”

After reviewing Garcia-Gomez’s case again, BMO agreed to return the $12,000 in funds that had been scammed from her bank accounts.

“They will refund the $12,000 to my account and they apologized for the confusion" said Garcia-Gomez. “This takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders.” Top Stories

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