Fraud Prevention Month: Rental and romance scams big in Greater Victoria

Be cautious and get a second opinion, say Saanich Police

Fraudsters are hard at work year-round, but March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Greater Victoria police departments remind the public to be cautious about who, and what, they trust.

Sgt. Julie Fast of the Saanich Police Department says some of the most common frauds reported in Saanich are romance and rental scams.

She said reports of rental scams have increased as housing becomes harder to secure for many in Greater Victoria.

“When we need housing, especially in a market where rental vacancy rates are so low, it can become almost a full-time job looking for a place to rent,” she said. “When suddenly, something is posted and seems perfect. It looks so good.”

But attempts to view the unit will be denied, and the landlord, typically, will be ‘unable’ to meet you. The address itself can be fake, or they might pull a random address from the street, Fast said.

Soon they will be asking for personal information and eventually, money to secure the lease.

RELATED: Credit card fraud scams local businesses our of more than $50,000: VicPD

RELATED: Victoria resident barred from trading securities for fraud

Fast said romance scams, similarly, exploit people who are often in tough situations.

Contact usually starts through dating websites and moves to texting or email.

“It’s almost a bit of a grooming exercise that happens,” Fast said. “It just grows and grows and the victim has become really, really connected and has built in their minds a picture of who this person is.”

She said often, the fraudster will start by asking only for small amounts of money. But as the scam develops, she has seen victims re-mortgage their homes or sell their possessions as the demands grow.

RELATED: West Shore RCMP investigating cyber fraud

RELATED: VicPD warning community associations of fraud attempts

While there are plenty of resources available at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Fast said the scams are changing, almost on a daily basis.

It’s important to be aware and be cautious, she said.

“Never share your personal information unless you can confirm who you’re sharing it with. If you see something [online] that’s too good to be true – a sale, an offer or a deal – it is.”

Fast recommends using credit cards for all online transactions, and finally, recommends getting a second opinion before sending your information or money away.

“Take a pause and run through the whole thing in your head with your family or friends.”

For more information about protecting yourself and your family from fraud, visit antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Family of Chilliwack pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

VIDEO: Scorpion found in B.C. woman’s kitchen finds new home in Victoria

The Victoria Bug Zoo welcomed the scorpion on Saturday

Islander reaches Everest summit

Clayton Matthews’ team got to the top of the world last week

Proctor family brought back to ‘emotional state’ as her killer applies for day parole

Family member says life is a ‘roller coaster’ since Langford teen’s murder

Robert Barron column: Respect needed for 911 program

The dispatcher said she would send a police unit to my home

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Florida woman celebrated as eight millionth passenger to Victoria’s cruise ship terminal

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority marks the occasion with Lekwungen Dancers, gifts, tours

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Canadian Music Hall of Famer Steven Page to play Parksville

Barenaked Ladies co-founder performs at Knox United Church on June 1

Most Read