Cornwall woman loses $1,400 in Internet scam

Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald hired online to clean house and given fake money order to pay movers

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 8, 2014
Tayah-Lynn MacDonald, left, sits with her mom, Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald, who was the victim of an Internet scam that cost her $1,400.
Guardian photo by Ryan Ross

All Bobbi-Lynn MacDonald wanted to do was earn a little extra money for Christmas with her 12-year-old daughter.

Instead, she was taken in by a scam that left her owing $1,400, shook her trust in people and left her wishing she could go back in time to fix her mistake.

“It’s a life lesson learned, that’s for sure,” she said.

It started in November when MacDonald, who is a single mom from Cornwall, placed an ad online offering cleaning services as a way to make some extra money.

She got a response from someone who planned to move to P.E.I. with his family after his father died. The family was going to live in his father’s home and it needed a thorough cleaning to get it ready for the movers.

After the movers were finished, MacDonald was to go in for a second cleaning to get it ready for the family and if the man liked her work he planned to hire her as a regular cleaner.

None of it was true.

MacDonald said nothing seemed out of the ordinary at that point because she spoke with the man on the phone several times and he had a detailed story about his father dying and his family’s plans.

“Even though it’s been a while now I’m still in shock that it’s not real.”

Before she did any work, the man sent her $400 to secure her services and another $1,000 to pay the movers who would give her the key to the home.

The man sent a money order for payment, which MacDonald said she thought would have been legitimate.

The bank teller who cashed the money order for her thought it was legit too so MacDonald deposited the cash in her bank account and transferred $1,000 to the movers.

MacDonald spent her portion of the money and said she thought everything was OK until she got a call from the bank less than a week later saying the money order was fraudulent.

“It was like an instant slap in the face.”

Since then she hasn’t been able to contact the man she thought was hiring her, the police weren’t able to do much to help find him because of the nature of the scam and MacDonald had to repay $1,400 to her bank.

MacDonald said the whole situation was enough to make her think twice before trusting someone again.

“You really feel betrayed.”

All but a few hundred dollars has been repaid, thanks in part to help from strangers who heard about MacDonald’s story.

MacDonald said she wants people to be aware of who they are talking to and do more research if they’re faced with something similar.

“Maybe that was my mistake.”

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross