“Buyer beware.” Claresholm resident Paula Berard reinforced that well-known warning after several people showed up on her doorstep this week hoping to collect purchases made from Facebook Marketplace.
It started on Monday afternoon when two separate people came to her house within two hours looking for the same gazebo.
“That’s when I realized something was wrong here,” Bérard said.
Rikki Smathers was one of those people.
She thought she had found the perfect gazebo and contacted the seller via Facebook Messenger to ask if she could see it the next day.
“She actually asked for a deposit, and I said I didn’t really want to make a deposit if I hadn’t seen the product or something, and she said, ‘Well, that’s me. very interested, and I just want to make sure I can hold it for you.
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Smathers said the person seemed trustworthy, so she posted bail.
The next day, she received a message that the e-transfer had been canceled by mistake.
“When I didn’t like the e-transfer, I was like, well, I’m just going to send the full amount,” Smathers said. “I said, ‘I sent you the full $160 and I’m on my way now. I’ll be there at two o’clock.’
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“She said, ‘Okay, that sounds perfect. We’ll see you soon,” Smathers said.
Once Smathers showed up at the address and spoke with Berard, she realized she had been duped.
Bérard said all of the victims she spoke to had a common misconception.
“You’re not going to get ripped off in Claresholm – I mean, it’s not that big, you know, so it should be safe,” Berard said.
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Smathers said that as an online buyer and seller, this encounter made him think twice.
“I’ll probably give it up for sure because of it.”
Smathers then posted a message on the Claresholm Buy, Sell and Trade Facebook page warning others that the profile displaying these items is a scam.
Berard moved to Claresholm in March and she is unsure how or why the scammers are using her home address for the fake transaction.
But after three incidents in just one week, she hopes her story will serve as a warning to others.
Don’t prepay anything, you know. Go see him first, said Bérard. “None of us can afford to waste money.”
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