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Charlottetown woman who lost $2,700 in a rental scam 'at a loss for words' after flood of support

Anne Quinn takes a break in the bunk of her long-haul truck in New Jersey on Thursday. Quinn has been floored by the kindness of the Islanders who have come to her aid after she lost $2,700 in a rental scam.
Anne Quinn takes a break in the bunk of her long-haul truck in New Jersey on Thursday. Quinn has been floored by the kindness of the Islanders who have come to her aid after she lost $2,700 in a rental scam. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

When Anne Quinn lost $2,700 to a rental scam, she worried about how to cover January’s rent at her current Charlottetown home. 

After her story was published in The Guardian on Monday, she received an outpouring of support from Islanders. 

On Monday afternoon, her prayers were answered when she got an email from CAPREIT, the company she rents from, saying someone had paid January’s rent, she said. 

“I’m at a loss for words. It was the kindest gesture; I never expected (it).” 


Wanted to help

Franklin MacDonald goes out for a walk with his dog every morning after he scans the front page of the paper. 

On Monday, he couldn’t get Quinn, a woman he didn’t know, out of his head, he said. 

After reading the story again, he became surer in his convictions, particularly because of their similar faith in Jesus Christ, he said. 

“Then I was reading a little thing, and it said, ‘your faith will help me and my faith will help you,’ and I thought, you know what? I’m going to show her that God doesn’t forget his people.” 

So, he called CAPREIT and paid Quinn’s rent. 

He hopes his generosity will be the first link in a chain of generosity. 

“Through this, I’m hoping there’s a bit of a domino effect because of what I’ve done for her,” said MacDonald. “Maybe someday down the road, she’ll be in a position to help someone else down the road and remember what I did for her, and it just carries on from there.” 

Anne Quinn holds her phone showing the picture the scammers sent her of their supposed family. - Michael Robar
Anne Quinn holds her phone showing the picture the scammers sent her of their supposed family. - Michael Robar

 


At a glance: 

  • Anne Quinn thought she was going to save money on rent and live in a nice, cozy bungalow in Charlottetown when she found an ad on Google in December. 
    She contacted the couple who posted the ad, Sabrina and John Phila, who told her they were good, God-fearing people with four kids who had moved to Ottawa for three years to “preach the gospel.” 
    They sent her a legitimate-looking lease, along with a photo of their family. But the Philas aren’t real. 
    Quinn had been scammed out of $2,700. 
    The police and her bank said she was unlikely to see the money returned and she had no idea how she would cover January's rent at her current home.

The Island way 

Quinn, a long-haul driver, has been on the road since Tuesday.  

She spent some of her downtime Wednesday looking at comments on the story. 

Seeing replies from others who have gone through the same thing makes her feel less alone, she said. 

“But then it’s just awful that I’m not the only one. And to have the same people do it to somebody else and getting away with it, it’s just ungodly.” 

Since Monday, strangers have been reaching out to help. 

Some nuns left her an envelope with a letter and $100. Another man told her he’s trying to organize a fundraising effort with some people in Stratford. 

One man even phoned The Guardian office to pass along an anonymous money order. 

When she first found out about being scammed, she cried. 

She had the same reaction to the support she has been receiving – but for different reasons, she said. 

“And of course, I started to cry because you get taken advantage of by one group of people, and then a totally different group, who don’t know you from a hole in the wall, never met you, who are more than willing to help you. It baffles me.” 

It came to a head when she got the email about her rent. 

“When (Franklin MacDonald) stepped up to pay my rent, I could almost feel the weight being lifted off me, because I had until Tuesday (to pay my January rent).” 

Quinn sees all the support as the Island way. 

“The appreciation that I feel to anybody and everybody that’s supported me is astounding. I couldn’t be more grateful. It literally saves me because I don’t know what I’d do without my Island family.” 

Even with some of the more negative comments blaming her for her troubles, the good people outweigh the bad, she said. 

“It restores your faith in humanity to some degree and then, for the naysayers, well I hope it never happens to you because you’d have so much egg on your face, you’d never get it off.”

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