Posts in Trust & Safety

Staying Safe & Ethical When Searching for a New Pet

Spring is always a popular time for adding new pets to the family. How can you ensure that the process goes smoothly?

One of the most important things to remember when shopping for a pet online is to make sure to meet the animal in person before making any commitments. This includes inspecting the conditions that the animal has been raised in, and meeting the animals parents. Ask the owner or breeder to visit them at their home to see these conditions. Reputable breeders should have no issue showing off their kennels and where the animals reside. If there are more than 3 dog breeds being raised in the same location, be aware that it may be a puppy mill, and the animal may not be in the best of health (and you may be supporting an unethical breeding operation). If you do suspect that this is the case, alert your local SPCA or humane society.

Be aware of Canadian laws, and the laws of your province and municipality when it comes to pet ownership. Selling or buying exotic animals, such as monkeys, many types of turtles, or tiger cubs is illegal and could land you in serious trouble. Similarly, selling or buying native species to keep as pets is prohibited – so as cute as that raccoon, skunk, or squirrel may be, leave them in their natural habitat!

staying safe while searching for a pet on Kijiji

To avoid scams…

Never send or wire money to sellers (or anyone), no matter how good the deal sounds or how adorable that puppy is! Reputable breeders and rescue organizations won’t ask you to wire money – this is a common hallmark of a fraud attempt.

If you are posting a “Wanted” ad describing the type of pet you are looking for and sharing your phone number, familiarize yourself with SMS scams and reply scams. These are a favorite target of scammers.

Be wary of any pet ad with photos that appear generic. Fraud attempts often use images from Google. If you aren’t sure, ask for more photos of the animal you are interested in.

Remember, Kijiji is only intended for local, face to face transactions. If the animal is not living at a local address, make sure you are willing to go inspect the conditions, meet the animal, and transport your new pet back home. Transactions that involve shipping open up the likelihood of fraud.

Certain types of animals are much more common in fraud attempts. If you come across low priced English Bulldogs, Yorkies, Maltese, Chihuahuas, or Huskies, keep your guard up as these breeds are a favorite target. Fraud involving cats is less common, but Bengals and Sphynx cats are used in scams. Exotic animals and birds are also used by fraudsters, with African Grey Parrots, Macaws, and Cockatoos being the most common.

Remember, you can browse pet ads posted by shelters on Kijiji – don’t forget about the animals in your area waiting for their forever home when searching for a new pet.

Staying Safe While Looking For Housing

Kijiji is a great way to buy or sell a house, list an apartment for rent, or find accommodations. We do our best to keep the site clean and safe, but an important aspect of maintaining a safe site is helping users recognize attempts at scams when they come across them.

If you come across ads or replies that are suspicious, be sure to report them to our staff, or the police if the situation warrants it. Here is how to keep yourself safe from real estate fraud:

  • View properties in person. Kijiji is only intended as a community site, and you should never rent a property without seeing it, or meeting the prospective tenant first. If either party claims they are overseas, they are unlikely to be legitimate. It is common that foreign fraudsters copy listings and won’t be able to show off the inside of an apartment. If they won’t show the inside, be aware that they might not own the building.
  • When looking for rental units, be aware of photos that look very professional or that appear to be model homes. Sometimes listings for properties for sale are copied to rental listings. Be suspicious if there are descriptive passages that would only be relevant to buyers, such as when the roof or furnace was last replaced. These are also signs that the ad might have been copied from a house for sale listing.
  • Be on your guard if the photos are grainy or only show small portions of the space, such as the bathroom.
  • When visiting a property, make sure you bring someone with you, or ask for personal identification of anyone you invite into your home. Make sure you tell someone who you are meeting and where you’ll be.
  • Never send or wire money. Sign a contract, write a postdated cheque, and ask for ID of the other party.
  • Kijiji doesn’t offer any type of buyer protection or payment programs. If anyone claims otherwise or you get an email advertising these services, please forward it to spoof@kijiji.ca as it is an attempt at fraud.
  • Never give out your credit card number or sensitive personal or banking information to those you communicate with over the internet. Be very suspicious of any ads that want responses such as your age, occupation, income, gender, bank, or SIN number as these can also be attempts to steal personal information.
  • Educate yourself about common types of fraud. Be suspicious of offers for large sums of money for helping with any task. Use your common sense – if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Staying Safe Online: How to Spot Text Message Fraud

    At Kijiji, your security is a key priority! We monitor ads, replies, and investigate user reports to ensure that only legitimate activity is taking place and that bad people are denied access to Kijiji. Our relentless round the clock blocking of scam attempts drives fraudsters to be ever more creative and find new ways to connect with Kijiji users. Text messages have become their mode of contact of choice, as numbers attached to Kijiji ads are posted publicly, and they can send you messages without being blocked by our filters.

    Text messages often appear fairly innocuous initially, something like:

      “Am Interested in item, Please email me back at blahblah2765@gmail.com as i am at work”

    Your first signs that this may be a scam will be that the phone number isn’t local and the email address may contain gibberish or a lot of numbers. The text will also likely have strange punctuation and spelling. This should instantly ring alarm bells in your head because why would anyone want to be emailed if they’re contacting you through your phone? Kijiji has an email contact form that makes this easier for legitimate users! They choose to do this to cut the reply filters out of the equation. Once you are emailing with them, they can use google translate and paste their long winded stories much more easily (thus reaching the maximum amount of potential victims).

    Within the communication they will then give you a story, often that they can’t call you because they are working on an oil rig, or they are presently traveling the world and as such can only correspond via SMS text and email. They often claim to have jobs that they believe will make them seem more trustworthy; claims to be in the clergy, army, or Greenpeace are common with these types of scam attempts. They’ll feed you any excuse NOT to meet up with you, because they’re actually on the other side of the world doing their best to steal Canadians’ hard earned money far from the reach of Canadian law enforcement.

    The usual next steps:

  • They’ll offer you several hundred dollars more than you’ve asked for, because they would apparently love your car, dining table, horse, diamond ring, etc., for their sister, cousin, brother somewhere around the world and want to outbid everyone else.
  • Even though they’re very interested in what you’re selling, they can’t inspect it and would rather have their shipping agent or courier pick it up, but, of course there is a catch!
  • They’ll ask if you have a PayPal account and if not, they’ll want you to create one. Once you’ve done that or even if you haven’t, they’ll advise that there’s been a problem and send you a story something like this:
    • “I was just about to make the payment when I had this little problem with the picking up,I got an email from my agent..I thought I included that in my previous email. But he said he won’t come and pick up the vehicle unless I pay him the agent commission fee first in order to be able to schedule a pick up time, and my pick up agent head quarters is in the United Kingdom and all commission payments made for pick up, from anywhere in the world is sent to their head quarters in the United Kingdom and the only form of payments they accept is western union money transfer and I tried to pay online but I will need a credit card which i didn’t bring along, and there is no post office (there is usually a western union section in most post offices) or any western union agent offshore! So I have to ask you to help me with the pick up fees, I will include the $700 they charged to pick it up and take it my home(1st class treatment), to the payments I will send through paypal, after I have made the payments, I will need you to help me send the $700 to my pick up agent through western union money transfer, the western union money transfer can be made at a post office near to you,there is always a western union agent in most post offices or online at http://www.westernunion..com I will be making the payments shortly and will email you as soon as it has been done..”
  • Wow, what a great story! Then of course they’ll follow up with a genuine looking PayPal receipt that shows the “extra amount” for you to forward on to the “UK head quarters”; this is of course to trick you in to believing that they’ve deposited cash into your account and want you to wire the shipping/agent fee via western union/moneygram. On occasions they’ve been known to even threaten you by claiming that, they’ll get the federal police and PayPal legal involved if you don’t go ahead with the deal. Please be assured such threats are fake and harmless, so simply ignore them! No such deposit has been made in to your PayPal account – to verify, simply log in to your PayPal account via the official PayPal website and/or contact Paypal to verify.
  • If you are annoyed by such messages, we suggest that you remove your phone number from your ad, and to only send it to those who make it through the reply filter. We know that listing your phone number helps transactions move along quicker but unfortunately, at this time we have no way of preventing this type of message so it is your safest bet.
  • Remember, Kijiji always encourages anyone using the site to meet in person, face to face and never send or wire money to someone that you don’t know! We also want you to do your homework and take the right precautions by doing your own research (Start with Google search!).
  • If you have any questions, have received some suspicious messages, or need clarification simply contact our support team and we would be happy to clarify.

    Stocking Up on Firewood This Winter? Remember Your Receipt!

    Thermostats are falling, and in many parts of Canada, it is high time to stock up on firewood for the winter. If you are thinking about ordering some firewood, be sure to stay safe to ensure that you get what you pay for and the transaction is what you were expecting. Our friends at Measurement Canada advise anyone ordering firewood to ask for it to be delivered stacked in the truck. That way, you can measure it before you unload, and you can be sure that you are getting exactly what you paid for.

    Want to stay warm and toasty this winter? Make sure you get what you pay for with firewood!

    Want to stay warm and toasty this winter? Make sure you get what you pay for with firewood!


    When you plan to receive firewood, you should always be present at the delivery. Don’t rely on a friend or neighbour to accept the shipment on your behalf, as they may not fully understand what needs to be checked for, or know what you paid for. You should also request a receipt and verify that it states:

  • the quantity and type of firewood purchased.
  • the seller’s name, address and telephone number.
  • the price paid.
  • You should also write down the licence plate number of the delivery vehicle during the transaction, just in case. If you believe you have been shortchanged, contact measurement Canada before using any of the firewood.

    For more information on buying firewood, please read Buying Firewood? Don’t Get Burned.

    Fraud: Phishing Scams

    From time to time, Kijiji users (as well of users of most other popular websites) are targeted by what is known as “phishing scams”. These have nothing to do with boating or fishing – these are emails which generally involve links to fake websites designed by scammers to steal your Kijiji login details, and any other personal information they can get their hands on.

    Phishing emails will often tell you that your account has been disabled, locked out, or suspended, and may also include a link to Kijiji that appears legitimate, but when clicked will bring you to a phishing website. Remember, Kijiji will never request your password, and accounts cannot be reactivated or unfrozen by logging into the website (if your account has posting issues, you will have to contact support for assistance).

    You can keep your Kijiji account secure by only signing in when your web browser indicates that the page is secure, and the URL begins with https://secure.kijiji.ca/.

    If you suspect that an email may not be from Kijiji, you can check the headers in the email to see where the email came from. To check this, open the suspicious email (do not reply!), and check the email headers. Here are the different ways to check from several popular email providers:

  • Gmail: click the down arrow next to sender’s name and reply options, then click on “Show Original”
  • Hotmail: in your inbox, right click the email then click “View Message Source”
  • Outlook 2010: click “File” then “Info”, “Properties”
  • Older versions of Outlook: in your inbox, right click the email, then click “Message Options”
  • Apple Mail: click “View”, then “Message” then “Long Headers”
  • After following these steps, simply refer to the “received from” line in the details and it should tell you if it was from Kijiji – if not, you know it’s a fake, not from Kijiji at all! Please forward phishing fraud attempts to spoof@Kijiji.ca.

    If you still can’t tell if it was from Kijiji, copy the full header data (as well as the email itself, which we are always interested in) and send it to our help desk and we can help you determine if it was a real Kijiji email.

    If you see a fake version of the Kijiji website, please report it to support as soon as possible. If you believe you have entered your login details to a fake website, change your Kijiji password immediately, and any other passwords that are the same, as they will likely try your email/password combination on several different websites. If they gain access to your email you are vulnerable to identity theft. To avoid fraud, it’s always a good idea to have different passwords on different websites. If you have questions or concerns about scams, please reach out to customer service or visit the help files section on safety for more information.