VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As many people continue to struggle during the pandemic, fraudsters are apparently not taking a break.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is out with a list of the top scams during this pandemic and some advice for identifying possible scams.
Between March and the end of May, Canadians lost $52,011 in home improvement scams, which is the top scam of the pandemic, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Karla Laird with the BBB says there are some red flags to look for.
“The biggest thing that we saw in the reports was people falling for cash-only deals, or people coming to your house, knocking door-to-door giving you high-pressure sales tactics,” she explains.
The BBB says to be weary of “high-pressure sales tactics, up-front fees and fly-by-night businesses,” adding a common hook is for scammers to say they are working in the neighbourhood and have leftover supplies.
It also recommends to get everything in writing and gather as many details as possible.
Second on the BBB’s list is puppy scams.
Laird says as exciting as it can be to add a pet to the family, it’s a good idea to meet the dog first and get references from the person selling it.
“We also saw puppy scams, which we did receive an increase in the number of reports with over 20,000 reported dollars in losses,” she says.
The total loss is $21,820.
Trying to adopt from shelters one option recommendation from the BBB: “Especially during this time of quarantine, many shelters are looking for fosters to help relieve the animal’s stress and reduce overcrowding at their facilities.”
Fraudulent websites and fake advertisements have been reported to the BBB, as well as situations of sellers asking for more money for climate-controlled crates, insurance, and even for a COVID-19 vaccine, which doesn’t exist.
Employment scams and fake government aid scams also made the list.
For employment, always ask for references, the BBB says, and watch out for any offer that comes without an interview.
A loss of about $12,000 is recorded for fake government grants.
“Free money does not come easy. Obtaining a government grant is an involved process, and one where the grant seeker pursues the funds, not the other way around,” the BBB says. “If someone is actively soliciting you to give you money, this is a clear red flag that you are dealing with an imposter.”
If someone thinks they’ve spotted a scam, the BBB asks to report it on its tracker in hopes of prevention.