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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Suspect taken into custody after allegedly attempting to steal a dinghy in Sidney

The incident happened Wednesday morning near Beacon Wharf

Victoria Police arrest man wanted for fraud offences

Michael Friesen arrested on Johnson Street

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

VIDEO: Bear catches ‘rascally rabbit’ for breakfast near Whistler bus stop

The brief encounter of the bear hunting its meal has gone viral

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Nanaimo senior who was excessively speeding says her vehicle shouldn’t have been impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read