WETASKIWIN, Alta. - Police in Alberta say that a couple of recent incidents are showing up the risks associated with online advertising sites such as Kijiji.
RCMP in Wetaskiwin say they were called this week to a report of an attempted robbery on a rural property outside the community.
They say the complainant was meeting someone who purported to be selling a vehicle on Kijiji, but instead the so-called seller smashed out the man's side window and pointed a gun at him.
The driver was able to get away and call police.
Meanwhile, RCMP in Grande Prairie are warning of a scam on Kijiji where people are posting fraudulent ads of properties for rent.
Officers say they learned of the scam when notified by a man that he was browsing the website when he saw his house — which he owns and lives in — listed as being for rent.
RCMP say the scammers are offering the properties under the guise of being out of the country for a time, then requesting money as a downpayment to hold the supposed rental property.
The victims only learn they've been duped when they show up at the home and find the owners living there.
"The RCMP have few avenues of investigation as the unknown persons responsible have been tracked to such places as Spain and Africa," said Cpl. Roy Kennedy.
He said anyone buying or selling any product on advertising websites should meet their counterpart in person and see the product before exchanging funds.
"Never send or wire money to sellers or buyers," said Kennedy. "This includes never mailing a cheque or using payment services like PayPal, eBay Motors Purchase Protection Program, Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram."
The RCMP also recommends meeting the buyer or seller in public places and having another person accompany them.
Kijiji posts similar warnings on its website.