Taken for a Reid

Danette Dooley
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RCMP says ticket scams common on classified ad websites

Cpl. Yvonne Walsh is with the commercial crime section of the RCMP. She said people have to realize that scammers can be posing as legitimate vendors on reputable websites such as Kijiji. — Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram

A woman from the St. John’s area was delighted recently to find tickets online to the Aug. 12 Johnny Reid concert at Mile One.

But her excitement soon dissipated when she found out how she was supposed to obtain them.

The seller insisted that payment be sent via Western Union before the tickets were couriered via FedEx.

When this reporter contacted the ticket seller, she was told the same tickets were still available.

While the ticket seller said they were in Gander, the person on the phone insisted the tickets could not be picked up. The only way a deal could be made was through Western Union and FedEx — the same deal the seller was offering to others.

When asked about sending money through Western Union, the seller suggested the reporter pass along her address. The person then suggested a Wal-Mart store in the area that had a Western Union outlet.

When it became obvious no such transaction was forthcoming, the seller became agitated: “Thanks for wasting my time!”

A Google search found other postings warning of the same scam involving other entertainment events.

“Shame on these people ripping off innocent people for their hard-earned money,” one posting read.

“Taylor Swift tickets were what I was looking for so I could take my nine-year-old daughter who is a huge fan.”

In a recent interview, RCMP Cpl. Yvonne Walsh said, “If it looks too good to be true, then nine chances out of 10, it is.”

Walsh is with the commercial crime section. Scams targeting classified advertising sites are common, she said.

She said the fact is, some people just believe in the truthfulness of others.

“Everybody knows Kijiji. It’s a good site and people don’t stop to think that scammers are going to start targeting these sites,” she said.

If the person selling a product isn’t willing to meet to make the transaction, or won’t use a secure site such as PayPal, Walsh said, it’s a good indication that you’re dealing with a scammer.

“It’s like going to the store. When you pay for your merchandise, you walk out with it,” she said.

When only an email address is provided, she said, the scammer could be operating from nearby or in another part of the world.

Oftentimes, she said, the scammer will ask that the money be sent to a post office box address to hide their identity.

Walsh said anyone who encounters a situation where they feel a scammer is at work — or where they have already been scammed — should pass the information along to the police or to the Ontario-based Phone Busters (www.phonebusters.com).

Phone Busters works with the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP. The organization analyzes the information it receives and sends it to the appropriate policing authority.

Information on new frauds and scams can also be found on the Phone Busters website, Walsh said.



Organizations: Western Union, RCMP, FedEx Wal-Mart Google PayPal Phone Busters Ontario Provincial Police

Geographic location: Gander

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Recent comments

  • Keith
    July 19, 2011 - 06:18

    Why is it that with today's technology they can't find these people and bring them to justice.

  • Amac
    July 18, 2011 - 12:29

    I posted a car for sale on Kijiji last week and had a guy contact me and offered me full asking price for the car, he just wanted me to click on the paypal link in the email he sent me to accept the offer. When I replied to his email, he was able to find out my phone number at work and started calling me trying to convince me into logging into paypal by following the link in his email. The link was not to Paypal, although it looked very much like it. The url was wrong...but similiar. He was just trying to obtain my paypal account information.

    • heather george
      July 18, 2011 - 13:08

      This Western union thing,I get e-mails all the time saying Iwon the lotto or someone perished and I have been left millions,I just hit delete.

  • Amanda
    July 18, 2011 - 08:45

    I almsot got caught in the same scam but for Steve Earle tickets. When I offered the seller face value for the tickets and they accepted it raised red flags. these tickets have been sold out from day one and people are offering well above the face value for a ticket. The seller suggested Western Union and I knew at once it was a scam, a warning on Craigslist said NEVER use Western Union if you do not know the person. I offered to drive to gander to meet the person and exchange money and tickets and they replied "too busy, won't be there anymore". I reported teh seller to Kijiji instantly. I'm glad I didn't get ripped off, but I can see how so many people are ripped off daily, it's in our nature to be trusting... shame on these scam artists!!

  • Donna
    July 18, 2011 - 08:36

    When selling a vehicle last year on Kijiji I had a couple of scammers offering to buy it for the full price I was asking without even seeing it. One guy emailed from China - first he requested more pics of the car. He loved it and said he would make all the arrangements for shipping. First I had to deposit the cost of shipping (into a Western Union Account) and he would then add that to the price of the car and deposit it back my account. No, I didn't fall for it.

    • almost had
      July 18, 2011 - 11:08

      Beware, I was selling some things for my Great Aunt, very interested buyer. However the same thing, this person went as far as to send me a money order. Luckily I had just sent my neice and nephew money orders and noticed a little difference in the money order, so I went to the bank to have them look at it before I changed or deposited it. Sure enough it was a fake, so note to all!!! Never deposit a money order you receive like that or go to the Western Unions always have it checked for the ink marks at the bank. Lucky for me the person hadn't received the product, I was supposed to change the money order (at a Western union) pay the shippers, and he was so kind to include a tip for all of my troubles. So be careful.

  • Joe
    July 18, 2011 - 07:52

    I believe that these may be the people that a friend of mine contacted. When she wanted to know where the seats were located in the stadium I pulled up the seat layout for the concert. The seats that were being sold are listed as Tech Kill seats and are not even seats for this show.