A woman was sexually assaulted at her home after answering an online job posting on classified ad site Kijiji.

The Globe and Mail reports that the 21-year-old woman answered the ad for a position at “Corerite Salvage Logistics.” It doesn’t look like that’s a real company and the job itself turned out to be fake.

She agreed to meet someone purported to be a rep of the company at a local coffee shop on Friday, June 13. A man and a woman then showed up at the woman’s North York home, near Finch Avenue West and Sentinel Road. The man allegedly began a sexually inappropriate conversation and then sexually assaulted the woman.

Police believe there may be other victims.

Detective Wayne Bates said. “This person provided a phone number and hopefully we’ll track him down.”

He added that it’s uncommon for people to be attacked through online job ads, saying, “It’s not something that’s frequent. This is probably the only one that I’ve heard of personally.”

Still, there’s potential danger anytime you answer an ad on a site with no vetting. Many job sites do vet their ads.

For example, Workopolis’ Customer Experience Manager, Adam Shapiro, explains how we do so here:

“Each new customer that purchases a posting on Workopolis is verified in a few different ways; first on the website their credit card information is validated before a job can be posted, and second by our support team who view every new order within one business day and check some key indicators like using a free email domain (Gmail, Hotmail) or if the company doesn’t have a website, or that the job which was posted solicits money. If we suspect a posting to be illegitimate we will place a hold on it while we reach out to the contact to be sure. We’ll ask for proof of legitimacy like and HST or GST number.

“Even with all of these checks in place we do sometimes find roles on Workopolis that are not legitimate and remove them immediately when we find them.”

For their part, Kijiji says on their site, “since thousands of Ads are posted every day on Kijiji, we are unable to screen every single one, therefore we rely on members of our community (like you!) to help report Ads which violate our polices.”

That’s not to say that there are no legit jobs on free sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. I have hired through these sites for my small business myself.

Still, if you’re going to apply for jobs through sites with no vetting, be extremely careful, and take the following precautions.

    1. Search for the company online and find out as much as you possibly can. If the company has no web presence at all, like Corerite Salvage Logistics, and doesn’t actually appear to exist, that is a major red flag. I would advise strongly against proceeding further at this point.

    2. Arrange to meet in a public place. This is less of an issue if the company and its offices are well known, but this is not often the case with these sites.

    3. Do not under any circumstances disclose your personal information, including your address or phone number.

Bates said, “Just try to verify the information in the ad to check if it’s legitimate. That would go a long way to protect them.”