Scam Alert For Vancouverites

When most people think of Vancouver, they think of the words like ‘beautiful’, ‘friendly’ and . . .’cold’ :).

Generally speaking though, most people refer to Vancouver as one of the most respected and best places to live on the planet. In fact, Vancouver has been selected to be the most livable city on many occasions.

However, like every city, Vancouver has some ‘scam’ issues as well. Although the police (RCMP plus other authorities) and Vancouverites themselves do a great job in protecting each other, their is always someone who is looking for a free meal.

Keep in mind we are not talking about violent crimes here but rather clever and sneaky little scams, where the target is usually a business owner or an individual who get swindled out of their hard earned money. Vancouver still is a mostly safe city but all kinds of scams have been increasing here. Especially in the last 5 years.

According to the Canadian Fraud Centre, there were over 13,000 reported cases of fraud in Canada overall.

Which doesn’t seem that much compared to other countries but the amount of dollars that were generated through these scams were in excess of fifty million (In just one year). Needless to say, scamming can be a pretty big business.

List Of Popular Scams In Vancouver

Although the local TV networks do keep us alert on what’s going on, it’s really not enough. We must help each other out first.

According to Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre, here is a list of the most common scams that take place in Vancouver:

1 900 Telephone Scams

Here is where people call in pretending they are from Google, TD Bank or some other famous and legit company and try to get your credit card number. They might offer you a great deal on a new credit card or a listing on Google, etc. In reality, none of these companies that these scammers portray to represent will ever ask for any personal credit information on the phone. Even if they do, you should decline. If your credit information or other personal information is a requirement, the best thing to do is to either do it in person at the bank or the main office / branch of that company. This is one of the most common scams in Vancouver right now. Sometimes they will just ask for your personal information so they can sell it to third parties as well.

Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud

We all know about this right? Letter from some prince in Nigeria or some rich individual who needs to withdraw millions from Nigerian banks but needs to a few thousand dollars to pay for the initial “fees” to withdraw it first. Believe it or not, a lot of folks fall victim to these.

Advanced Fee Loan Scam

Kind of like it sounds but the objective is not to really give you an advance loan, rather get an ‘advance payment’ from you for this advance loan. If you have bad credit and are looking for a loan, these people will promise you thousands of dollars but you must give an initial fee (Usually ranges in the hundreds of dollars). Once they get your payment, they will disappear. So the little money that you had left is now gone too.

Anti-Virus Scam

This is related to your computer. The objective here is to install their so call anti-virus program and once you do, they can monitor all that you are doing online (Also a way to steal your identity). Never install anything on your computer from no name sources because once you do, you will soon be scrambling to get a new social insurance card, a new Royal Bank Canada card and pretty much everything else.

Getting a Bomb Threat

This one is usually an email that demands over $100,000 or they will blow up your office building. If this gets traced, the person will be charged as a criminal. An occasional scam in BC (British Columbia) and many other places as well.

Receiving Dead Air Calls

Have you ever had those calls where no one really answers and you usually hang up the phone thinking something is wrong with your phone or something? Well, nothing is wrong with anyone’s phone . . . It’s just that a telemarketer bot (Automated robot) has figured out when to call you with an offer. They were just checking what would be a good time to call you. Pretty clever indeed.

Emergency Scam Call To A Grandparent

In this case, the caller who is the scam artist, will call your grandparents and pretend it’s you. They usually come up with a story like they are stuck in jail or something of that nature and being a naïve and an old grandparent, they usually do send the money.

Hitman Extortion Scam

This can be rather scary but fake nonetheless. Here a person pretending to be a hitman will contact you through email and tell you that he was paid to take your life. However, he will stop that action if you pay him more then what he was paid to hurt you. If you don’t make the payment, he or she will continue with their plans to ‘terminate’ you. As soon as you get any of these kinds of emails, just contact your local authorities. Most likely, just delete the email without replying and move on but we encourage you to get the authorities involved. A lot of rich people and celebrates make their way to Vancouver now so these scams and similar fraudulent attempts are on the rise. This kind of scam is pure extortion and punishable to the fullest extent of the law.

False Charities

As Canadians (Especially Vancouverites), most of us already give to charities or the homeless in our everyday lives. It’s just who we are. Unfortunately, there are people in our city who love to take advantage of this trait. If you suspect a charity might be fake, just report them a.s.a.p. Some bad signs are blatantly asking you for money and in some cases even pressuring you. Do your due diligence about a certain charity before giving your hard earned money to them.

Identity Theft

Tons of ways of doing this. Whether it’s through phone or email or any other methods, a scammer will find a way to get your social insurance or credit card. The best way to avoid this is to be fully aware of where your personal information is and more importantly, being kept at.


Another popular scam in Vancouver is where the scammer pretends to be a prince or princess from some third world country (That has just fallen apart) and has inherited a large sum of money which is usually in the millions. However, to get this money, he or she may request a few thousands of dollars to get in the system, pay the right people and leave with the sum. Obvious scam. Avoid it at all cost.

Fake Job Postings

A lot of these as well. If it’s too good to be true then avoid it. A legit employer will never ask for money.

Lottery Emails

These are almost all over the place as well. Basically you get an email that says you’ve won the BC Lotto or Lotto 649. They even go as far as providing a phone number but to claim your prize, you need to offer some cash to process your winnings. This is a serious offense since BC Lotto and Lotto 649 are controlled by BC Government.

There are even more scams but these are just the most common ones.

To learn more about various types of scams in Vancouver, check out the following links:

Vancouver’s Fraud Reporting Information

Anti Fraud Centre

RCMP Scams Page

Vancouver's Biggest Scammer

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