These are the scams vacationing homeowners should be wary of, the Better Business Bureau says
VANCOUVER -- During the summer months, people tend to go away on vacation or take off to recreational properties, meaning homes are left unoccupied for extended periods of time.
Now it appears scammers have found different ways to use addresses of vacant homes for shady dealings.
Karla Laird from the Better Business Bureau joined CTV Morning Live Monday for more on how empty homes are being used in scams.
"Basically what we've been seeing on our BBB Scam Tracker reports are two main ways that scammers are trying to utilize homeowner addresses," Laird told CTV News' Keri Adams and Jason Pires.
"First thing is that they use them on fraudulent websites. What we've been noticing is that they'll be creating these websites that sell all kinds of products that consumers are really interested in."
Laird said the BBB has seen sites listing puppies for sale, as well as pet supplies, brand name clothing and more.
"What they do is they'll take these addresses to give their website more legitimacy, so you're seeing a physical location, you believe, 'OK, they have a store somewhere,' you're not actually taking the extra step to see where the address is linked to. And so because of that, many people have been actually falling victim to these pop-up websites out of nowhere."
The other scheme the BBB is seeing is addresses being used for rental listings.
"You might be selling your property, you probably have a for-sale sign outside of your property. It may be a case where you've listed the property on a real estate site, for sale or for rental. And they've taken these photos, they've taken the property description, they've created their own ad, sometimes posting it on sites like Craigslist, and people looking for places to rent end up stumbling into these ads and end up falling into a scam as well."
The best ways for property owners to avoid their homes being used in a scam, according to Laird, are:
Maintain your property, including your lawn or garden, to ensure it looks lived in;
Put your mail on hold if you're leaving for an extended period of time so it's less obvious no one is home;
Watch for unusual names on mail, or complaints regarding rental agreements or sales you didn't make; and
Give a key to a friend or neighbour and ask them to check your home periodically.
Watch the full interview above for more information, as well as tips for renters on how to avoid falling for a scam.