If it’s too good to be true, it’s likely not.
This message is one of the tips the Campbell River RCMP is offering to the community following a national magazine’s list on the most dangerous places in Canada and its demonstrated rise in fraud activity in Campbell River last year.
Between 2016 and 2018, the number of fraud incidents in Campbell River has risen from 93 to 152. The most current Statistics Canada data (from 2018) also suggests that the city is now above the national fraud rate average.
Fraud incidents have been on a steady rise in the province as well. According to Statistics Canada, there was nearly 7,000 more cases of fraud in 2018 than in 2014.
Campbell River RCMP said that many of the frauds they see are related to the use of cheque books, debit and credit cards that are left in vehicles. There’s a simple solution to prevent them from being stolen in the first place.
“Locking the doors of vehicles and removing valuables like wallets is an excellent starting place,” said Const. Maury Tyre in a press release.
He also suggests that if you don’t use the “tap” function on your cards, which allow the use of cards in transactions without a PIN, to have it disabled completely.
“[That] means anyone who gets their hand on your cards won’t be able to use (them) easily,” he said.
Local RCMP members have also investigated some online sales and rentals where the deals have been too good to be true and victims have lost their money by paying deposits.
A quick online search could save you some trouble in those cases, said Tyre, as others who’ve seen the scam may have already posted about it.
“Goods and rent well below market value are the biggest red flags that a scam is occurring,” he said.
The RCMP have also seen some “relationship scams,” which they said come in “all sorts of types and over the years have become extremely complex and sometimes very believable.”
“If someone you’ve never met in person starts asking for money, quite simply put, it’s probably a fraud,” said Tyre.
He said people should check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, which often has updates on popular ongoing scams and information on how to report a scam.
“Spending some time to educate yourself on ongoing and popular scams that are being carried out is a great way to prevent yourself from falling prey to a would-be fraudster,” said Tyre.
With the holiday season approaching, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has a few tips of its own for best-practices when it comes to protecting yourself from holiday scams.
It suggests that if you’re buying online, to make sure the website is legitimate.
“Fraudsters can easily create websites that look like legitimate manufacturers,” the centre’s website said. “They offer deep discounts to encourage buyers, but you might receive: counterfeit products, lesser-valued goods, unrelated goods, nothing at all.”
If you’re selling your own products or services online, the centre said to be “suspicious of payment offers that are more than the asking price.”
If you’re looking to donate to a charity this holiday season, the centre recommends confirming that the charity is registered, which you can do through Canada Revenue Agency here.