Dear Barb—Cat Burgled

I am a single parent of two young children.  I do not have a lot of money, but I want my kids to have what their friends have so I try my best to get bargains.  I have made many purchases of toys and clothing and things from Kijiji and most items were as described and I felt as if I made a good purchase. 

Recently, though, my kids have wanted to get a kitten, so I thought I would search on kijiji to see what was available.  There were so many cats it was unbelievable.  All colours, ages, and prices.  We picked out a couple that we liked, and I sent messages and only one was still available.  It was an orange tabby, nine months old and in the pictures it looked like a great cat for the kids.  I contacted the ad and received a response immediately that the cat was available.  Unfortunately, it was an hour and a half drive, and I knew I could not get there to see it for a couple of days.  The owner said no problem, etransfer me $20 and I will keep the cat for you.  She sent me her address and phone number.  I was so excited to tell my kids we were going to get a cat.  I sent her the etransfer and it was deposited at once.  Then I asked her a few more questions and there was no answer.  I thought she must have gone out.  Tried to contact her again, no answer.  Then I sent a text message to the number she gave me, no response.  So, I called the phone number, and it said this number is not available. 

Obviously, I got scammed.  It’s only $20 but to a single mother trying to raise two kids, that’s a pair of shoes.  If she did this to five people, she could have made herself $100.  What is happening to this world?  How do I explain this to my children without causing them to lose trust? I was hoping you might have some suggestions on how to deal with this, thanks.

 – Scammed Mom.

Hi Scammed Mom:

It happens to the best of us.  Unfortunately, many people are selfish and have no consideration or care for others.  The only way to avoid these kinds of things is to only do transactions in person.  Do not buy anything sight unseen.  If you can’t see the item for a few days, it’s better to take the chance on losing the item, rather than losing your money.  As for your children, explain to them in a gentle way, that some people as just not trustworthy.  I don’t think you have to go into any more detail than that.

Tell them next time you will go to see the kitty to make sure you like it before sending cash.  There are lots of cats out there, so I don’t think you will have a problem finding other one, although I would suggest you go through your local animal shelter, which is full of wonderful animals needing a forever home.  Thanks for your email.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.