Kijiji ad for $800 cultivator goes sideways quickly
An Ontario farmer wants others to watch out for scammers trying to buy farm equipment. The crop farmer, who asked that he not be identified, said he almost lost $2,500 in a sophisticated scam that was recovered by the OPP fraud squad.
Mr. Farmer wanted to sell a 10- ft. cultivator for $800 and listed it on the Kijiji website. He got a call from a buyer, who said he was in Kenora, in Northern Ontario, asking for more photos of the cultivator.
Mr. Farmer sent the photos and got a call back almost immediately. The first clue that something was amiss was that the buyer was willing to pay full price going by photos alone, he said. “Most people dicker a little bit.”
The buyer said he didn’t use e-transfers and sent a cheque through Purolator Courier to the farmer but it was not for $800. When the cheque arrived it was for $3,200.
The buyer called Mr. Farmer instructing him to e-transfer $2,500 to the trucker who would pick up the cultivator. Mr. Farmer then e-transfered the $2,500 and “that’s where you get rooked.” Mr. Farmer suddenly got suspicious about the cheque, which he discovered was from a dentist in Scarborough. He figured he was now out $2,500 and had no real buyer for the cultivator.
He immediately called his bank, which alerted the fraud squad. After a few weeks of investigating police were able to retrieve the $2,500 but Mr. Farmer doesn’t know if anyone was arrested.
Mr. Farmer also decided to Google the dentist on the cheque, found his phone number and called him. The dentist said that he had also called the police because someone was using his name to write fraudulent cheques.
Mr. Farmer said he knows of other farmers who have been called by scammers but they stopped the transaction when the buyer was quick to offer full price without seeing the equipment. People need to be warned of this new scam, Mr. Farmer said, adding that people have to be more suspicious as there is an explosion of scams. “I get calls every day. Duct cleaning, there’s a charge on your account, border service has a parcel.”
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre lists 85 different scams and reports that there are 250 successful scams committed each day. Last year, 57,000 Canadians lost $531 million from scams, the anti-fraud centre reported.