Getting to know the neighbours saved one Oak Bay homeowner from having their home sold by a scammer.
Using a series of emails and fake identification, Oak Bay police say a scammer listed a residence on Bartlett Drive for sale without the consent of the legal homeowner.
Someone pretending to be the owner contacted a property management company representative in early February, according to Deputy Chief Mark Fisher.
The suspect said they had changed their email and provided a new phone number. The suspect signed the email in the name of the property owner but did not provide any proof of identification. In mid-February, the suspect contacted the property management representative asking for a property valuation and was referred to a local realtor. Once the valuation was complete, the suspect requested, again by email, that the house be listed for sale.
“During this process, the suspect provided a fraudulent passport in the name of the property owner and a fraudulent health card,” Fisher said. “The house was listed and there were showings of the residence to potential buyers.”
The scam didn’t get that far, however, as a neighbour walking by noticed the realty sign and contacted the actual owner of the residence. The owner, in turn, contacted the realtor to advise of the fraud and the listing was removed.
The incident was reported to police and investigated with the assistance of the Saanich Police Department’s financial crimes unit. While the sale was avoided, a suspect was not identified.
“There was very limited suspect information to work with given that none of the witnesses had ever met in person with the suspect,” Fisher said.
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