Beware ‘porch pirates’ lurking in the weeds, looking to take your coveted Christmas parcels.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, on December 3rd, a parcel was stolen from the front door of a central Nanaimo home, shortly after the courier left. A neighbour told police that a man in a white Jeep pulled into the driveway, got out, snatched the parcel, and left.

The only description of the suspect is that he had dark skin and was possibly of Middle Eastern descent.

The next day, a woman in her 70’s was duped out of $6,000 dollars in what is known as the Grandson scam. A man reportedly called her claiming that he was her grandson, had been in an accident in Quebec, was in jail, and needed bail money. She went to the bank to withdraw the money, even after the teller told her it appeared to be a scam. She sent the money.

Listed below are tips from the Nanaimo RCMP to avoid being victimized.

  • Do not have parcels or bulk items delivered to your home if you are not there. Arrange for a secondary pick up location or have them delivered when you know you will be home
  • Grandson Scam- it tugs are your heartstrings. Before making any financial commitments, ask the caller several personal questions that only your real Grandson would know. Even then, get a call back number and tell a trusted friend or family member what is taking place
  • When shopping online, ensure you are actually on the real website. Online criminals will make websites that mirror real companies. The only difference may be the spelling of the web address. Double-check that you correctly entered the web address before purchasing anything
  • Scammers may contact you requesting donations to local charities, including for COVID-19. The charity may not even exist or the scammer may not even be associated with it. To avoid this, ask for information in writing to confirm the charity. Additionally, check that it is a registered non-profit charity. This can be done by calling the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-267-2384 or you can check online at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/charities.html
  • If you receive a phone call saying your SIN number has been compromised or you have outstanding unpaid taxes, and you are threatened or told that you will be arrested, simply hang up. If you wish to report this, you can call 1-888-495-8501 or go to their website at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

Contact your local police if you lost money or were tricked into providing personal information that may compromise your identity. If this doesn’t apply to you, you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.