Mickey Kupchyk, a 68-year-old resident of Regina, has found himself at the center of a perplexing online scam involving dozens of unordered parcels delivered to his home, as reported by CBC News.
Unwanted Deliveries and a Mysterious Scam
Kupchyk began receiving these unsolicited parcels in July 2022, with the count reaching at least 80 this year. According to Kupchyk, “A lot of times at first there was no name on the package at all, so we actually opened some just to find out. But there was always a gift card in there.”
Unraveling the Scam
The mystery started to unravel when Kupchyk received a call from a woman in Lethbridge, Alta., inquiring about a certain ‘Gabby’ living at his address. The woman had been selling an item on Facebook Marketplace and was instructed to ship it to ‘Gabby’ in Regina. Kupchyk then learned that the parcels were part of an elaborate scam involving Facebook Marketplace, where sellers are duped into sending gift cards along with their sold items.
Mechanics of the Fraud
Kupchyk explained the scam: A buyer contacts a seller on Facebook Marketplace, asking them to include a gift card with their item, promising to pay an amount covering both the item and the gift card. The buyer then initiates a pending PayPal transaction, requests the gift card code, and subsequently cancels the transaction, leaving the seller without the item and the gift card’s value.
The Volume and Value of the Scam
Kupchyk estimates that the scam has potentially amassed between $30,000 to $50,000. The victims range from a Kenyan student in Toronto to an individual at the Abbotsford Correctional Centre. Kupchyk diligently returns all the packages to help the sellers recover their products.
Police and Anti-Fraud Response
Kupchyk reported the scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Bureau over six months ago but has yet to receive a response. CBC News has reached out to the bureau and Meta, the owner of Facebook, for comments. The Regina Police Service, in a statement, advised caution while buying or selling items on social media, warning against accepting or paying more than the posted price.
Community Impact and Ongoing Concerns
Kupchyk’s efforts to warn others about this scam on Facebook have gained traction, and he has become a familiar face at the local post office, frequently returning the misdirected parcels. Despite his vigilance, Kupchyk sees no end to the scam: “It’s been working for well over a year now, and I don’t see any reason why the person’s going to stop doing it.”