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Internet fraudsters caught in their own web

Friday, March 26th, 2010 | 3:46 pm

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The tables were turned on a pair of Internet fraudsters, after an undercover Mountie uncovered their scheme.

The incident revolved around a property rental scam that was being perpetrated on two  internet classified sites, explained Const. Steve Holmes in a press release.

“The rental ad appeared on one of the sites (March 11) and a 30 year old Kelowna resident responded to it,” he wrote. “After communicating with the female ‘landlord’ via email, the victim deposited money into  her bank account, even though she did not tour the property because the suspect said that the outgoing tenants did not want it shown. One day later she saw a warning, on the classified site, that a property rental scam was going on. The victim confirmed that the ad she had responded to was, in fact, a scam and she reported this to police.”

During the investigation, the victim advised police the fraudster continued to communicate with her, via email, in order to set up a meeting so she could collect the rest of the rent money and give her the keys to the  so-called rental property.

On March 19 a female plain clothes police officer, posing as the victim, met with the 17-year-old fraudster, who claimed she was the landlord’s daughter, at a local fast food restaurant.

“When the suspect provided the keys and asked for the remainder of the money, the officer arrested her for fraud. In that same restaurant was a male accomplice, who had been noticed by the female  plain clothes member, by his nervous behavior,” said Holmes. “When the female was arrested, the male made a hasty retreat but was intercepted and arrested by other plain clothes police officers outside the restaurant.”

The male, James Devon McCafferty, 21-years-old, from Vernon, appeared in court on March 23 and was remanded in custody for a second appearance on April 6.
The 17-year-old female, from Squamish, was released for a future court appearance. Both are facing multiple counts of Fraud as more victims have been identified for identical incidents.

Ongoing police investigation indicates that these victims have been bilked out of hundreds of dollars. There are simple steps that can be taken to ensure that you do not become a victim of a similar fraud.

Red flags should go up when:

  • The Landlord doesn’t want to show the property and makes up excuses like, the present tenants don’t want it shown.
  • The Landlord can’t remember the exact address.
  • The Landlord sends interior and exterior pictures that aren’t consistent because they are of two different properties.
  • The landlord sends someone else to complete the rental transaction.
  • The landlord creates an unreasonable urgency on completing a transaction, which could pressure you into making an ill informed decision.

If you believe that the ad is a scam and can provide rationale as to why, contact the classified site. If you’ve been victimized, call police.

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One Response to “Internet fraudsters caught in their own web”

  1. Mott Hoople says:
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    Good Police work…

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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