INTERNET SAFETY & SCAMS
What to look out for in a scam...
A "scam" is a scenario or scheme that is created with the intention of fooling people - you - into giving away money. At times, the victim is fooled into thinking that their money is making a sort of investment that will have a big return, or other times a victim may just be looking for somewhere to rent. Scams can be prevalent in Kamloops so it is important to learn about what to look for and how to best avoid losing any money to an ill-intentioned person.
Craigslist & Kijiji is an online platform used to post items for sale, and other community interests. Creating a user for this community is very easy, which allows for easy anonymity.
I have personally come across countless scams throughout my time living in Kamloops. Most commonly rental scams, pyramid/investment scams, and email/telephone scams.
When you are shopping online or seeking housing rentals online there are a couple of things to look out for:
If the transaction is too good to be true, such as a beautifully affordable apartment available right downtown. Scammers work to lure people in by offering items or rentals at great, enticing prices. If it is questionably cheap, it could be a scam.
Due to this wicked price of the rental, the scammer will tell you there is lots of interest and that it will likely be off the market fast. Scammers will ask you give them money up front to secure the space. Many will suggest mailing a check to them as a damage deposit. They may not speak English well, indicating that they are really from overseas.
Open the pictures to assess the quality and source of the photos. If a picture appears blurry or unlike the climate of Kamloops, it could be stolen from another online source. Scammers may also outright steal pictures from a previous local ad. Some easy ways to check the source and quality of the image is to right click the image and open it in another tab. If the picture is questionably small or blurry, there is a chance they stole it. Reverse Google Image Search is a tool that will use the image you provide to search for it's source online.
Trust your gut and first impressions. A scammer will often divulge a long far-fetched story about their life, sometimes describing hardship such as a loss or change in job. In situations with rentals, many scammers will say that they cannot meet you in person due to this loss (overseas funeral) or job loss. Do not believe them, and always meet the seller in-person especially during a rental agreement.
When you think about the responsibility that is placed in the tenant to ensure that the property is kept in good shape with consideration to relative damage from living within in. Most landlords will require some sort of collateral or reference to ensure that you are a reliable tenant that will pay your bills on time and maintain the well-being of the property. Some examples of checks that some - but not all good, trustworthy landlords will seek are criminal record checks, credit checks, reference checks from past landlords. A person with the intention on scamming you may tell you that they like you, and trust you. That's why they won't request any of these background checks, or references from you.
This is also called Phishing, a common online scam designed to trick you into disclosing your personal or financial information for the purpose of financial fraud or identity theft. You may see an email that appears to be from a company you know & trust and it may inform you of a security breach to trick you into providing personal information to change a password or resecure your account. Another email may urge you to click a link to a fake website, one that may ask for personal information. Look out for misspelled company names, or company names that are broken up like "Face.book.com", obviously the real website is "Facebook.com". The CRA will never contact you over the phone asking for personal information as such. Pay close attention to the full addresses and names of people you are communicating with, and never give personal information out to anybody.
What should I do if I get scammed?
The key with scammers is not to get scammed in the first place because it is quite difficult to track them down. If you do get scammed, there are a few things you should do. If you are in time, contact your bank and cancel any cheques or payments you may have made already. Contact the police and give them as many details of the crime as you can. Contact the online site, they may be able to do something and they can definitely ban the person who scammed you. Update your anti-virus software on your computer and do a scan. The scammers may have also given you links that put viruses on your computer.