Avoiding SMS / Text Scams

At Kijiji, your security is a key priority! We act on tips from our user community in an attempt to ensure that only legitimate activity is taking place. This is driving fraudsters to be ever more creative and to find new ways to connect with Kijiji users, such as via their mobile phone number. They'll try tricking you by sending fake SMS messages via the internet asking to be contacted via email.  They do this because they wish to stay off our radar which they can't do if they reply through the usual channel; our reply email system.  

Please note that they may try to disguise themselves by using local area codes in an attempt to seem legitimate.

Text messages will look and sound similar to this example:

"Am Interested in item, Please email me back at blahblah2765@gmail.com as I am at work"

Your first signs that this may be a scam will be that the phone number isn’t local and the email address may contain gibberish or a lot of numbers. The text will also likely have strange punctuation and spelling. This should instantly ring alarm bells in your head because why would anyone want to be emailed if they’re contacting you through your phone? Kijiji has an email contact form that makes this easier for legitimate users! They choose to do this to cut the reply filters out of the equation. Once you are emailing with them, they can use google translate and paste their long winded stories much more easily (thus reaching the maximum number of potential victims).

Within the communication they will then give you a story, often that they can’t call you because they are working on an oil rig, or they are presently travelling the world and as such can only correspond via SMS text and email. They often claim to have jobs that they believe will make them seem more trustworthy; claims to be in the clergy, army, or Greenpeace are common with these types of scam attempts. They’ll feed you any excuse NOT to meet up with you, because they’re actually on the other side of the world doing their best to steal Canadians’ hard earned money far from the reach of Canadian law enforcement.

The usual next steps:
  • They’ll offer you several hundred dollars more than you’ve asked for, because they would apparently love your car, dining table, horse, diamond ring, etc., for their sister, cousin, brother somewhere around the world and want to outbid everyone else.
  • Even though they’re very interested in what you’re selling, they can’t inspect it and would rather have their shipping agent or courier pick it up, but, of course there is a catch!
  • They’ll ask if you have a PayPal account and if not, they’ll want you to create one. Once you’ve done that or even if you haven’t, they’ll advise that there’s been a problem and send you a story something like this:
  • Then of course they’ll follow up with a genuine looking PayPal receipt that shows the “extra amount” for you to forward on to the “UK head quarters”; this is of course to trick you in to believing that they’ve deposited cash into your account and want you to wire the shipping/agent fee via western union/moneygram. On occasions they’ve been known to even threaten you by claiming that, they’ll get the federal police and PayPal legal involved if you don’t go ahead with the deal. Please be assured such threats are fake and harmless, so simply ignore them! No such deposit has been made in to your PayPal account – to verify, simply log in to your PayPal account via the official PayPal website and/or contact Paypal to verify.

For more information about what may happen next, please click here.  If you are annoyed by such messages, we suggest that you remove your phone number from your ad. We know that listing your phone number helps transactions move along more quickly, but at this time we have no way of preventing this type of message, so it is your safest bet.
We also recommend that you report these messages to your mobile carrier by sending a text message to the number 7726 (that's S-P-A-M on most keypads). Your message must include details of the spam message as well as the phone number of the individual who sent you the message.  

Also, remember Kijiji always encourages anyone using the site to meet in person. Once the item has been thoroughly inspected, you can pay in cash, or as a safe alternative to carrying cash, consider choosing your preferred third party cashless payment method (at your own discretion). Secure cashless payment methods include electronic money transfers (Interac e-transfers). Never mail a cheque or wire money to sellers. Services like Western Union or MoneyGram should be avoided. Typically, scammers will use these services and will even falsify documents from a legitimate company. It’s best to avoid them entirely and keep things local!

If you have any questions or need clarification, simply contact us and we can help with any questions you might have.
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