B.C.’s Top Ten Scams in 2012


The Top Ten Scams in 2012 list, recently released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), along with the BC Crime Prevention Society and the Vancouver Police Department, won’t shock you. Your pulse will stay steady. Your eyebrows will remain stationary. You may even intone, “Duuuuuh.”

I’m going to go ahead and paraphrase the scams nonetheless, in case you’re particularly vulnerable, or know someone who is. Note: I’m playfully sarcastic for everything on the list except financial elder abuse (#4) which you should take quite seriously.

Top Ten Scams in 2012

1. Brand Spoofing: Watch out for it. If you receive a weekly email from Pitsilano.ca instead Kitsilano.ca, don’t open it.
2. Like guilt-free chocolate and the tooth fairy, advance fee loans do not exist. It is illegal for a company to charge a fee in advance to obtain a loan.
3. Avoid gold buying scemes. If you insist on doing it, get multiple appraisals.
4. Financial elder abuse (this one is serious) means seniors should be especially cautious when financial planning. Seniors are the most targeted demographic and they are often targeted by someone they know.
5. Power Saving Claims
The switch to Smart Meters in B.C. caused a spike in false claims. Do your homework before buying “saving” devices.
6. Door-to-Door Sales
Each year a variety of unscrupulous door-to-door salespeople use high pressure sales tactics. It’s okay to say no. And close the door.
7. Virus Fixing Scheme
Scenario: An alleged “Microsoft” rep phones claiming to have heard about a serious problem with your computer. Right. When has customer service ever been that good?
8. Fraudulent locksmiths are dangerous and duplicitous. If they’re legit, the locksmith will be licensed through the Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General.
9. Online penny auctions are a hoax. Seriously. iPads cost at least 50 cents.
10.  Anti-Social Network: When you receive a tweet saying someone wrote a slanderous blog about you, shake it off. Resist the urge to click. This isn’t a scene from Mean Girls.

Last modified: January 6, 2012

6 Responses to " B.C.’s Top Ten Scams in 2012 "

  1. rob says:

    This has nothing to do with Kitsilano.

  2. Taraneh says:

    Hi Rob. Kits is in BC. The alert by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), along with the BC Crime Prevention Society and VPD is for all BC residents.

  3. John Owen says:

    We get dozens of ‘microsoft rep’ calls..all from India. As Internet professionals we have to laugh at them because their claims are ridiculouys. But it is getting tedious. We find the best way to get rid of them. They say: ‘we have detected a virus on your computer’. We say: ‘we don’t have a computer.’ That seems to stop them and they hang up.

  4. Marmo says:

    Those calls from India? I wish telling them I didn’t have a computer was enough to make them stop calling. I get those calls several times a week, sometimes more than once a day. I have done everything from politely telling them there is nothing wrong with my computer, I have no computer, they have the wrong number to pretending I speak a different language, grunting back as an answer, explaining I know it’s a hoax and screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs into the phone. They never stop calling. It’s almost like they think at some point I am going to be so worn down by the assault that I will turn over my computer to them.

  5. Paul says:

    Hi Rob – perhaps I can provide some “Kitsilano context” to it for you. I am a long-term resident of Kits and have recently spent a great deal of time recovering 2 separate fraudulent charges to my 91 year old mother’s MasterCard account. Two different Indian companies called her and frightened the crap out of her because of the “immediate threat” to her computer from viruses that had invaded her computer. These scamming bottom-feeders are very aggressive and persuasive (a few even cold-called me and I see how manipulative they can be – but they also discovered how abusive I can be!). They even got to the point of installing LogMeIn onto her computer (I don’t know how much personal information they captured but they did exceed her bandwidth limits on her account somehow resulting in extra charges).
    So any cautionary and helpful advice assists Kits’ seniors and computer novices and is always relevant!

  6. Taraneh says:

    Thanks for sharing that Paul.