Snowbirds Cheated: They Paid $6,500 to Rent a Locked Apartment

The sudden rise in COVD-19 cases has upset the plans of many travelers, but it’s not just the virus to watch out for when traveling to Florida.

• Read also: Slouching: Snowbirds Less Cautious in Florida?

Manon Lieben and Michel Simard, a snowbird couple who thought they were renting a property in Saint Petersburg, were stunned when they arrived at the scene. They stumbled into a locked door and realized it was a scam.

We were like ‘Um… what’s going on?’ “Since it was Thanksgiving Day, we thought they might not be there or they hired a company that took the key,” Ms. Lippin told TVA Nouvelles. But that wasn’t…”

These “migratory birds” were booked via the Kijiji website and $5,200 in US currency was transferred, which is the equivalent of about $6,500 Canadian. The lady wanted to give valuable advice to travelers.

“Be careful and try to meet the person you are going to conduct the transaction with if possible. Via email or phone, it is not always easy!”

Many Quebecers decided to go to Florida this year, and the strong demand for apartment rentals has led to other casualties.

From January 1 to September 30, 360 victim reports were processed in Quebec for $570,000 in connection with all types of fraud. For Canada, we’re talking about $4.5 million.

“We must be careful, as much as possible, not to send an amount of money by a company like Western Union or even a banking institution, warns TVA Nouvelles employee Marie Poupart.

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“You may not find the money. It is sent to an individual.”

Marie Poupart also has an important piece of advice for Quebecers: “When it’s too good to be true, forget it! When prices are really low, let it go.

“If you are pressured to send money, it is probably fraud.”

Finally, it is advisable to use a credit card with merchants, as credit companies offer greater protection.

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