Airbnb, puppies, and CRA scams targeting Canadians

These so-called puppy deals are often offered on Craigslist or Kijiji.
These so-called puppy deals are often offered on Craigslist or Kijiji. iStock.

Here’s a look at some of the current scams we have noticed over the first couple of months of 2016:

The Airbnb rental scam

The Airbnb rental scam has popped up in British Columbia, this time involving a couple looking to find an apartment in Vancouver’s very tight rental market.

After having been shown a vacant condo apartment by a nice, clean-cut man, they transferred $1,000 into his bank account in order to secure the rental. They never heard from him again.

Turns out he rented the apartment for one night from Airbnb. So, not only did they fail to get the apartment but also got scammed for $1,000 in the process. Ouch!

The online puppy scam

Another scam making the rounds in British Columbia is the online puppy scam.

These so-called deals are often offered on Craigslist or Kijiji. The “breeder” says that the dogs will be sent to the buyer once money is sent to pay for the cost of air transportation for the dog.

A few days after the first money transfer is made, the buyer is asked for more money. Recently, a B.C. resident lost $800 after she saw two dogs on Skype and “bought” them. They were to be shipped from Halifax, but never arrived.

The Canada Revenue Agency telephone scam

This is an oldie, but goodie.

Someone who is pretending to be a CRA telephone agent calls you. He then proceeds to threaten you and tries to get you to pay a tax debt supposedly owed to the CRA.

The clue that this is a scam is that the CRA “agent” demands you give them a credit card number or purchase a prepaid credit card and give them the information. They will also often aggressively threaten you with jail, court charges or deportation.

If you are asked for prepaid credit card information, the person on the other line is very likely trying to scam you, because the CRA will never ask for credit card, passport, health care or driver’s license information over the phone.

So, stay safe and aware and have a scam-free rest of the year.

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