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

Vehicle cuts path of destruction through busy Victoria parking lot

Blue Subaru damages seven vehicles in parking lot near Beacon Hill petting zoo

Victoria company looks to build better lives for challenged youth

Horizon Pacific’s Step Up Community Build aimed at reducing daily barriers in youth’s lives

Sidney photographer nominated for national prize

‘Wheat in my heart but salt water in my soul,’ says Tracey Farrington

Saanich student caddie receives $250,000 scholarship from Victoria Golf Club

Reynolds student impressed the selection committee with her grades, volunteering and poetry

Summer Folk Festival set to sweep Sidney

Folk ‘N Fiddle Festival is seeking volunteers and sponsors

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

B.C. man mourns the loss of classmate killed in New Zealand mosque attack

When he heard news of the attack, he sent a message to his friend

Ethiopia minister: ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes

Both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were sent to Paris for analysis

Most Read