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Craigslist scam averted by money transfer


The Whistler RCMP are investigating yet another fraud related to the Internet classified ad site Craigslist.

In this instance a group from the U.S. attempted to rent a property from a landlord in Whistler, who requested a $2,000 deposit by wire transfer to secure the residence through the 2010 Games. There was an issue with the information provided by the landlord to the renters, however, and Western Union halted the transaction before it could be completed.

The incident was reported on Nov. 6, just days after the wire transfer was attempted. RCMP are investigating a possible attempt at fraud. The suspect gave a Whistler name, address and cell phone number, but at press time the RCMP were unable to track down the suspect.

According to Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair people should always take care renting through the Internet, especially if it involves sending money by wire transfer.

"If there's no face-to-face meeting, that should raise a red flag. If the person is in a country far, far away then red flag. Or if it seems too good to be true then that's also a red flag."

The RCMP is still investigating two Craigslist frauds reported in previous weeks. In one, a Whistler resident sent a buyer a watch he was advertising through the site but did not realize until later that the purchaser sent a phony PayPal confirmation.

In another, a landlord received a $3,800 cheque for the first month of rent at a residence, then sent back a $3,600 wire transfer after the renters - reportedly based in the U.K. - pulled out. It later turned out that the original cheque was not legitimate. The Whistler RCMP has contacted Interpol to investigate.


Hotel staff room cleaned out

A hotel in Whistler's Upper Village contacted the Whistler RCMP on Nov. 5 at 11:30 a.m. after noticing the theft of a safe, computer and various personal items from a staff room on the premises. The incident occurred between 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 and when the file was reported.

Since then the safe has been recovered, empty and damaged. The incident is still under investigation.


Guests alerted to potential identity theft

A local hotel has had to inform nine guests that their personal information has been compromised after a thief made off with a stack of guest registration cards from the front desk on the morning of Nov. 8.

An employee of the hotel noticed the cards were missing almost immediately and reviewed security footage from the area. He saw a male, possibly First Nations with a slight moustache, dark hoodie, baseball cap, jeans and white shoes, reach behind the desk and take the cards at roughly 9:40 a.m. that day. The cards contain information about the guests including credit card information, contact information and home address. The police are treating the incident as a possible attempt at identity theft.

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