Kijiji Scams: What to do, and how to avoid them
October 23, 2014
We all hear about scams that happen to other people, but we all feel “I’m smart enough, they won’t get me!” or “How can people fall for that kind of thing?!”. The answer is, its easy. These people target you where you are vulnerable. Trying to sell your car? Of course you are going to respond to an email in which the person sounds interested! Advertising via Kijiji to fill a space or two in your dayhome, and the parent in the email sounds lovely, sends you a photo and just wants you to hold the space? You bet!! Unfortunately, the people on the other end of the inter-tubes are smart, and know exactly how to target you. So, you need to tune in to your Spidey Senses, and know how to recognize and avoid them!
So, here’s how most of these Kijiji scams work. You offer a product or service. I’m going to use a dayhome spot as an example, because we have had a lot of concerned dayhome providers contacting us about this. You use Kijiji to advertise a space in your dayhome. A parent, vacationing in Mexico, emails you and tells you they really love the look of your dayhome, and they will be back in town on xxx date. They would like to send you a certified cheque for $50 to hold the spot. They may even tell you all about their child and even send you a photo!! Sounds legit, right? Nope. Here’s the goods. They will send you a cheque, but they will “accidentally” make the cheque out for $250, or $500. Then, you will get a “panicked” email saying they sent you the wrong amount, but to cash it anyways, and then, here’s where they get you, send them back the difference! So, you merrily trot off to the bank to deposit the cheque, and mail off the difference to them. THEN, a few days later, you get a call from the bank telling you the cheque you deposited is fraudulent, or bounced. And now, you are out the difference. And they are long gone.
This happens for all kinds of different products on kijiji. Cars, furniture, toys, etc. However, as a dayhome owner, it is particularly worrisome because you have small children in your care! And now you have sent your address to someone you don’t know, and who may well be involved in criminal activity. YIKES! Now, I’m not a police officer, but I truly feel you likely don’t have to worry about the safety of the children. These scammers are after your money, and once they’ve got it, they move on to the next person. However, if you are concerned, your best course of action is to contact your local police, and consider removing your ad from Kijiji.
There are more secure and effective methods of advertising. www.dayhomeregistry.com is the top in my mind. And if you are registered on Dayhome Registry, you are also available for parents to find you via Facebook!
Above all, trust your gut. If communication with a potential parent/family seems fishy, it probably is. I, as a parent, would never offer to pay someone for childcare if I hadn’t met the person first! The bigger the community we can create of support for dayhomes, the more we will all know about these kinds of things, and can stop these people in their tracks. Register today to become part of the Dayhome Registry community.
Until next time,