Posts in Trust & Safety

Want to Save Big on Electronics? 8 Ways to Stay Safe Buying Used Technology

Looking for a new cell phone, laptop or tablet? There are tonnes on Kijiji, and a secondhand model is a great way of getting the device you have been lusting after, at a budget friendly price. Staying safe is particularly important when dealing with small, high value items, so here are our tips on how to have a great transaction.

Meet face to face. Never send a seller money from your bank account before inspecting the item in person, and don’t send payment via money transfer services.

Ask for a receipt. Get the seller to sign and write his/her name and address on the back of a receipt.

Take a screenshot. Have a copy of the Kijiji ad so you have it as a reference for the transaction.

Be suspicious of a nearly-new phone being sold without packaging or accessories. If the seller can’t produce a receipt or even a charger, it could be a stolen phone. Here is how to check whether a smartphone is legal for sale.

Establish the condition of the phone. Use the phone, open a few apps, and try to find out what state the battery life is in if you can.

Don’t accept a phone laptop or device in a sealed box. As great as sealed boxes may seem, you need to be able to inspect the item. It is not hard to fake a seal on a box, so if the seller won’t allow you to take the item out of the box to test it, it could be faulty or even a fake.

Be careful of malware and viruses on a used device. If possible start with a clean slate by reinstalling the operating system or wiping the phone.

Take your time, and don’t rush into any decisions. If you see an iPhone or similar expensive device advertised at a very significant discount (even if it’s not the most recent model), then it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t pay until you have the device in your hands, and if in doubt, just walk away.

What to do when you can’t properly check an item for defects

At Kijiji, we recommend that you always meet up in a neutral public place for your transactions. We also recommend that you thoroughly test, inspect, or try out any items you are purchasing, especially when it comes to electronics, cars, and other items that might break or malfunction in ways that might not be immediately noticeable. In most cases, both of these conditions can be met, but what about the times when you can’t do both? Some things you might not be able to test, or a test might not reveal potential issues – for example, a disconnected dishwasher, a slow cooker (who has 8 hours to hang around to test a product?), or a vacuum (turning it on for more than a minute is not always possible, and not all neutral public places have outlets). Here are some ideas to get around issues that you might not be able to test for.

  • Ask the seller if it is in good working order. Sure, you can’t verify that they will tell you the whole truth, but you may be surprised at how forthcoming people can be. If it has minor issues that you might not notice they tell you about right up front, they are likely an honest person. Try rephrasing the question a few different ways during conversation and see if you get a different answer.
  • Ask the seller why they are selling it. Maybe they have multiples of the same object, maybe they are moving, maybe they are renovating – check out their “Posters Other Ads” page, as it will likely verify what you have been told.
  • Ask for a video of the product in use. If you are meeting outside a local coffee shop and can’t plug in the item in question, ask them to upload a video of the item in good working order. A video demonstrating that the blender blends will ease your mind going into the transaction.
  • Get it in writing. Most private sellers will not give you a money back guarantee, but a simple contract stating that in their best knowledge, the product is in good working order gives you some documentation just in case.
  • Remember, buying items on Kijiji are never guaranteed by Kijiji or other third parties. We always recommend that every item be checked out for defects before purchase, so if you don’t do an inspection, you are taking a chance.

    Buying Second-Hand Designer Bags (and recognizing counterfeits)

    Some things in life should be bought first-hand and brand new- most food products, eye glasses, underwear (to name a few.) But then there are many things that just make sense to buy used- especially if the value depreciates over time. Most of the luxury items we buy such as cars, watches and jewelry depreciate as soon as we take it out of the box or wrapping and begin using them.

    Case in point: designer bags. We love them, we want them, we scour the Internet looking at celebrities using them, and every so often we’ll let ourselves browse through the designer’s website casually checking out the prices. However, the logic of paying thousands of dollars for a bag that begins to lose its worth as soon as you take it out for a spin seems odd.

    Buying second hand a designer bag can be one of the easiest and smartest ways to have the bag you want without putting a serious dent in your bank account. As long as the previous owner has taken decent care of the bag, no one would be the wiser that your bag didn’t come from a store.

    The only major con of buying a designer bag used, is the risk that you’re spending a chunk of change on something that could be potentially “fake”, or a knock-off of the original. We’ve all seen the tables or carts set up on the streets of many major North American cities with piles upon piles of “Chanel”, “Hermes”, and “Prada” designer bags lumped together being sold by someone yelling out “DESIGNER BAGS FOR SALE. Hey…are you looking for a Gucci bag?” That happens everyday (minus the tables and carts) online. Smart Kijiji shoppers know that when it comes to buying anything designer, it’s important to know the markers of a genuine item.

    Avoiding Counterfeit Handbags

    To help make sure you’re never duped into buying a designer bag that isn’t actually designer, here are a few tips on what to look for in a used bag and what to ask the seller before hanging over your hard-earned cash.

    1. Look for the “Obvious” Clues First

    • Check for spelling! Knock-offs often will spell just one letter incorrectly and if you’re just skimming the hardware of the bag or the inside stitching, it’s very easy to miss.
    • Take a sniff! Designers use real leather. Real leather smells like leather. You shouldn’t smell glue, rubber, or any other synthetic materials no matter how “used” the bag is.
    • Take a close look! Genuine handbags have a consistent coloration throughout the bag, and if it’s a printed bag or one with a logo, they should be consistent throughout the bag. Also, the stitching on designer bags are almost always with real stitches, not glue or other adhesives. Don’t forget about the hardware! Genuine handbags use quality metal for their hardware so there shouldn’t be severe rusting or discoloration. Any sign of deep damage could be a big hint that the bag isn’t authentic.

    2. Know Your Bag Inside and Out

    • Before you purchase the second-hand bag, go to an actual store that sells verified new handbags and take a look at the details. Don’t be afraid to get a little handsy and get a good feel of the leather, the weight of the bag, and the smoothness of the stitching and lining so you can compare it to the second-hand bag later on. Never buy a bag without seeing it in person first!

    3. Be Realistic About Pricing

    • A true, genuine bag (even a second-hand designer bag) will be expensive. If someone is offering a Celine, or Birkin, or Chanel for a couple hundred dollars when the real bag retails for over a few thousand dollars, that’s a huge red flag. It may be tempting to seize a deal but in this case, the old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” fits the situation.

    4. Get the Proof

    • When buying from second-hand stores or sellers, it’s always safer to buy from someone who can offer you proof of purchase or has a card of authenticity that’s included with the bag when it was originally purchased.

    Buying and “Celling” on Kijiji: How to Check if a Phone for sale is Lost or Stolen

    Buying a used phone makes a lot of sense. Much like a new car, new phones depreciate quickly. The hottest new phone can only maintain the title of “most coveted telecommunications accessory” for so long before it is displaced by one even newer and shinier – which is exactly what makes them a great buy on classifieds. Whether you are the one always in hot pursuit of the newest phone (and find yourself constantly wanting to unload the flavor of last month to finance your new toy), or you want to score a great deal on a great phone by buying gently used, connecting with another local Canadian to make your money go farther just makes sense.

    Many are concerned when buying a new phone that they might not be dealing with the rightful owner – a very legitimate concern, considering no one wants to be unknowingly funding illicit activities, or end up with an unusable phone.

    Buying and Celling: How to check if a used phone is safe to buy

    How to Check if an iPhone is Lost or Stolen.

    Look at the lock screen.
    If the iPhone offered for sale has been erased remotely or put into lost mode, it should show either that or that it is lost or stolen on the lock screen. If it says that on the lock screen, this is how you can verify that the phone is being sold by the rightful owner.

    Ask the seller to reset the iPhone while you watch.
    They can do this by going to Settings > General > Reset >Erase All Content and Settings. The process should take a few minutes in which the apple logo and a progress bar will be on the screen. If the seller refuses to do this, do not buy the phone! Claims that the password is forgotten or they are in too much of a rush are big red flags.

    After they reset, go through the phone set up with them – make sure to select, the language, location, and network. After that, it will ask you to enter your apple ID and password (hopefully), which means you are safe to buy the iphone.

    If there is not a prompt for you to enter an ID and password, and instead it asks for the previous owners ID and password, or a message that says that the phone was lost and erased, something is wrong. Ask the seller to enter the credentials. If they cannot get past this screen, you know that the phone was found or stolen.

    What about other smart phones? How do I know if an Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone is stolen?

    The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (or CWTA) has set up a page to check whether IMEI numbers belong to cells that are available for sale before you buy. Seller doesn’t know their IMEI? It is easy to find (and replicate to verify that they gave you the right number). Open the dialler and enter *#06#, which works on most major smart phones including BlackBerry, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as many other cell phone brands.

    As the list is populated by reports from carriers after their customers report phones lost or stolen, there can be a lag of up to 48 hours before an IMEI number appears on the list. If you are replying to a newly posted ad and meeting up same day, ask the seller for some verification that they bought this phone originally (or if it is an iPhone, just follow the steps above). If they can’t demonstrate that this is their phone, set a meeting time that will give enough time between the ad being posted and the CWTA list being updated to ensure your peace of mind.

    To learn more about mobile phone theft and how to protect yourself, visit the GSMA website.

    Back to School Scams to Watch Out For

    With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, students are facing many transitions. Many will be looking for a part time job that will be flexible enough to hold through the rigors of exam writing, and many post-secondary students are seeking affordable housing close to campus. The urgency of the situation can make you an easy target for those looking to victimize. Here are some tips from our resident fraud experts on how to avoid falling for fraud when you are heading back to school.

    Avoiding back to school scams

    Securing a Back to School Job
    For most students in college or university (or who aspire to go), securing an income source is a big part of what will enable the budget to balance. Finding a job close to campus with flexible hours is a popular way to add some cash flow during the year. Working in retail, finding work in hospitality, babysitting on the side, or cleaning houses for money are all options that can supplement incomes part time that work with student schedules. Here is how to stay safe while looking for work:

    Guard your personal information until you know who you are dealing with. Sending a resume to a legitimate company is no problem, but avoid sending out a resume with all your contact details and address to every ad you see. When dealing with anonymous ads, have a version of your resume that doesn’t give too much about yourself away. Wait until you get a reply from someone with a company name (if applicable) before sharing your contact details. Never share your social insurance number online.

    Know the average wages for the field. Job scams generally will advertise a wage that is much higher than average for positions that don’t require much (if at all) in the way of specialized skills or training. Drivers, assistants, data entry, and secret shoppers are especially popular targets for fraud. Frequently, scam artists will post ads for positions at much higher pay than average, and will be in a rush to hire without an interview.

    Never pay for a job. If the “job” involves start up costs, refunding “over paid” cheques, wiring money, or anything else that involves you sending or spending money, stay away! A real job will pay you, and won’t make you foot the bill for your own training or pay up front for a uniform or kit.

    Check out more job ad red flags, or learn how students can improve their resume for more information on getting a part time position.

    Finding Student Accommodations
    With over 2 million unique monthly visitors, the Real Estate category on Kijiji has become an immensely popular destination for those seeking short-term or long-term rentals. It can be very difficult to secure accommodations in a new city, but don’t let panic get the best of you and allow yourself to be victimized by a fraudulent landlord. Here are some tips to ensure that moving day doesn’t end in tears:

    Only deal with local landlords. The majority of scam artists operate out of foreign countries. The poster behind the ad might say they’re out of the country indefinitely, or that they won’t return until after you would need to agree to the rental (and pay up).

    Never wire funds. As a prospective tenant, you should never be expected to send money in advance without having met the landlord or seen the rental unit. It’s crucial to physically visit any place you’re considering renting, rather than relying on scanned photos or website links – even if the apartment is real, there can be major shortcomings that are not clear without checking out the space.

    Be skeptical of especially low rental prices. Check rental rates in the same area. Often, fraudsters will try to entice their victims with low prices. If the apartment you are looking at seems to have no flaws but is considerably under the median asking price for apartments of a similar size nearby, be on the alert, as it could be fraud.

    Never share personal financial information. Some may be tricked by deceptive offers into sharing social insurance information, credit card and bank account numbers. Personal information can then be used by scam artists to open new bank or credit card accounts in your name. Legitimate landlords don’t need any of this information to do a credit check.

    Trust your instincts. If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable or strange, the circumstances are more than likely too good to be true. Go with your gut and steer clear.

    Check out more tips on identifying real estate rental fraud, how to land an apartment when vacancies are low, and how to budget for your first apartment for more information on student housing.