Fraud Prevention and Consumer Awareness at the Forefront of RECA’s 2023 Efforts
| May 30, 2023
by James Porter, RECA Investigations Manager
At the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), we are here to both protect consumers and promote the integrity of the industries we regulate. Many consumers aren’t aware that individuals employed in the real estate, mortgage, property management and condominium management industries need to be licensed and the value that comes from working with licensees.
Recently, we accelerated our consumer awareness campaign, targeting consumers who need the information the most. During the first half of 2023, members of our investigations team attended fraud prevention events, seminars and webinars around the province, where they relayed common scams, outlined how the industry works, and focused on the value and importance of working with licensed individuals. RECA staff also showed consumers how to check if an individual or company is currently licensed using RECA’s public Licensee Search Tool.
We are committed to spreading the message that consumers must be vigilant in the fight against fraud and can trust in the industries we regulate. Consumers in attendance learned about common red flags in real estate transactions, how to spot common fraud scenarios, and how to access helpful resources should they find themselves caught up in a transaction that doesn’t make sense.
Consumer Awareness Events
- Fraud Prevention Month 2023 Kicked-off in Calgary, Edmonton, and Red-Deer
RECA exhibited at these annual public awareness campaigns that work to prevent Albertans from being victims of fraud.
- Centre for Newcomers Presentations and Webinars
RECA has presented at multiple First Time Renting Workshops for new-to-Canada Ukrainians, live-translated into Ukrainian, and has given webinars to broader groups of newcomers on protecting themselves when renting for the first time. Several new scams have been uncovered in the rental marketplace thanks to the relationship RECA has built with the Centre for Newcomers, saving new Canadians thousands of dollars they would have lost to scammers preying on the newcomer community.
- Edmonton Public Library Webinar Series
RECA hosted free public webinars with topics including How the Real Estate Industry Works, rental scams, and title and mortgage fraud. Registration for these events has sold out every time. RECA is looking to expand these free webinars with libraries across the province.
At each opportunity, consumers (especially those in vulnerable populations) were reminded that RECA and the licensees regulated by RECA are resources they can turn to if they need help. Our Information Service Officers are available for consumers to ask common questions regarding their real estate transactions and reca.ca contains valuable information regarding the industries we regulate.
What RECA Does for Consumers
- establishes the education standards for entry into the real estate, mortgage brokerage, property management, and condominium management industries
- ensures the suitability and character of individuals who wish to enter these industries
- requires mandatory participation in an errors and omissions insurance program
- sets standards of business conduct that promote the integrity of the industries we regulate
- investigates consumer complaints
- administers the Consumer Protection Fund
- provides detailed information about real estate, mortgage, property management and condominium management services
Consumer Protection Mandate
We strongly believe in the value of our licensee’s work and will continue to promote the integrity of the industries we regulate whenever possible.
Our licensees are our ears to the ground. If you have any ideas on events we should attend or suggestions on how we can enhance consumer awareness regarding the value of working with a RECA licensee, please share them with firstname.lastname@example.org.