Fraud Prevention Month is an annual event that gives private and public organizations involved in the fight against fraud an opportunity to further raise public awareness.
During the month of March, media in Williams Lake is collaborating with the Williams Lake RCMP to focus on the top 10 scams.
On Mar. 8 the focus was on advertising trolls, online romance scams and internet investment fraud, says Safer Communities co-ordinator Dave Dickson.
This week three areas are explored — affinity fraud, curbers and rogue door to door contractors.
Affinity fraud is a financial scam and happens when scam artists target a group of people who know each other, reports the Better Business Bureau.
The investment scheme they are promoting may change over time but the methods are normally the same.
Success is gained by earning the trust of an influential person in a group, family or workplace.
Once they establish the bond they use the connection to get their hands on the money of other people in the group.
Be aware if a new group member starts talking about wealth-building investment and asks to keep it hush, hush because it’s an exclusive offer for people “in the know.”
The scammer might use ethnicity, religion, occupation or anything else, to help claim to have something in common with a target to gain trust.
To learn more go to www.investment.org.
The second scam “curbers,” falls under sales scams.
Curbers are unlicensed used-car traffickers who often acquire junk cars and try to sell them from parking lots or curbsides, advertising often in local newspapers on-line ads. Unfortunately the used car may turn out to have a lien on it, the vehicle identification number switched, the odometer rolled back, or in some cases, turn out to be stolen.
Often the price is too good to be true or the seller has some sad story, the Better Business Bureau warns.
The curber will not meet at their home and always insists on cash.
There’s always the name on the vehicle documents too. They should match the name of the seller.
Report curbers and find a licensed dealer at www.vehiclesalesauthority.com.
Finally the top home improvement scam – rogue door to door contractors.
Again offers are too good to be true.
These types of offers include a deal to seal or repave your driveway, a roofer with leftover material from a previous job, an unscheduled furnace repair or a gas fireplace inspection.
“These fraudulent contractors use high pressure sales tactics and offers of a one-time deal to entice or frighten consumers into expensive and often unnecessary home repairs,” the BBB says.
Due diligence is crucial when hiring contractors.
Get company names and addresses, a written contract, and be leery if asked to pay by cash or cheque with a promise the contractor will return to finish the job.
Direct sales contracts are regulated in B.C. and customers have 10 days to cancel by advising the company.
Information is available at Consumer Protection BC 1-888-56409963 or visit www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.