Current scams in the Nanaimo area

Nanaimo and Gabriola RCMP

Press Release

Tuesday, December 8 2015

At any given time, a number of frauds are being perpetuated throughout the Nanaimo area, including on Gabriola. Some are online; others are by phone while a number use the mail system. On the surface they may appear different but regardless of their nature, all are designed to entice the recipient into thinking you can get rich quick, or help out a family or friend. One implies you owe money to the Govt. of Canada. The following provides a brief outline of each:

Grandson scam

The caller leads you to believe it is your grandson or niece. They are very upset, often crying, verging on hysterical and have been arrested out of province or in another country. They need money fast! Their “lawyer” will then be put on the phone and the circumstances of their arrest will be explained to you. Next up will be the lawyer’s “administrative assistant” who will walk you through how to send the much needed money. A 10 digit code to wire transfer funds, usually for 2 or 3 thousand dollars at a local wire transfer kiosk, will be provided. When the money is transferred, there will be no further contact from your “grandson or niece”

Canada Revenue Agency

A male claiming to be a police officer with the Canada Revenue Agency calls you at home to advise you have failed to pay your income taxes, usually in the range of 400 to 500 dollars. This individual often has a strong south Asian accent and tells you if the money is not paid immediately, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and police officers will come to your house and arrest you. 

You are then asked to provide credit card information.

Korean Development bank

You will receive a letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be a lawyer or bank employee based in Nigeria or some other West African nation. 

Sometimes the storyline is adapted to other countries (UK, Hong Kong, Korea, etc.). 

There are a variety of stories but the common theme is based on an individual dying, your name has surfaced as a relative and the deceased has millions of dollars in his bank account that will default back to the government of that country if not claimed.

Kijiji rental scam

An ad is placed for a local rental suite and the owner of the suite lives out of country. Pictures are often posted of the interior and exterior and one month rent plus a damage deposit is requested.

Online dating scam

The target audience is mature to senior women who use free online dating sites such as “Plenty of Fish”. An attractive male sometimes younger, will comment on your profile and soon you will find that the two of you have much in common. This person will often claim to be an engineer who travels through the UK or Africa. After 4-6 weeks, they will experience financial difficulties and because they’re your “soul mate” they will ask for money, a lot of money. You may receive flowers or gifts showing their devotion and love for you. When the money is sent, they disappear.

 Lotto scam

You will receive in the mail a notice that you have been pre-approved to win millions of dollars. The mail will often arrive from Australia, Europe, South Asian or Africa and return postage will be paid. All you have to do is respond but there will is a small “tax or administrative fee” before you can claim your prize. Soon more letters and “pre-approval letters” arrive daily. Some Nanaimo individuals have lost thousands thinking believing the entire time they will eventually strike it rich.

Door to door repairmen

They will come to your door and often target mature or senior neighbourhoods. The repair person is often a male but are sometimes female, ask to do repair work such as cleaning your carpets, washing windows patching your driveway , the roof or clean your furnace .Half of the money to cover their work will be asked for up front. They often arrive just before lunch, then leave but will not return afterwards.

These are just some of the more common scams and frauds being carried out through Nanaimo and other communities. Don’t fall for them. If you have a computer; use a google search to research it. Don’t hesitate to call your local police and lastly talk to your neighbours and friends so they don’t fall prey” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. For up to date information on current frauds visit the Canadian anti- fraud center at

Apple iTunes fraud surfaces in Nanaimo 

Just when you thought you heard them all, a scam involving Apple iTunes has surfaced in Nanaimo and took a local man for $9000. Fortunately for him, he was able to reverse the charges on his credit card and has since reported it to the police to alert others.

The Nanaimo man told police he received an email that appeared to be from Apple iTunes. The email listed several transactions on his account, and asked him to click on a link if the charges were incorrect or fraudulent. After opening the link, he was prompted to enter his credit card number, including the his 3 digit security code, Social Insurance number, date of birth and even his mother’s maiden name. The next day he was contacted by his bank and asked if he was withdrawing $9000 on his credit card. Only then did he realize he had been scammed and the card and all others in his name were cancelled.

“Alarm bells should have been going alerting him to the fact it was a fraud, especially when asked to enter his credit card information and SIN. Never provide such personal information, as it can be used to not only make purchases or withdrawals on your credit card but fraudulent bank accounts and even lines of credit can be established in your name”, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.