poker scam real estate

A very strange Toronto scam has people being lured into rigged poker games

Toronto real estate is a wild and wacky world, and a whole lot of money passes through the hands of realtors making lucrative transactions. It makes them targets for scams, such as one recent report warning people in the real estate biz to be wary of smooth-talking con artists posing as prospective investors.

Imagine thinking you're off to make the business deal of a lifetime, only to get lured into a fixed poker game where you're robbed blind under the guise of friendly competition. It's apparently a big enough problem to warrant a stern warning from a real estate industry organization.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) actually had to share a cautionary tale with its members, advising realtors to be on the lookout for "talented con artists [who] can convince almost anyone to fall for their scams."

A screenshot of the members-only alert from March 22 tells the story of a TRREB member who "was contacted by a potential buyer who said he was the former owner of a large, successful, local business that was sold to a developer for millions of dollars."

Okay, seems like a legit start to what could have been an on-the-level business deal.

"'Charlie' now wanted to invest in commercial properties across the GTA in order to open smaller restaurants, including franchises. Ignoring his gut instinct, the Member agreed to a meeting and took a fellow agent with him," continues the warning.

"After they arrived, they were surprised that the meeting was not to address the property search, but involved a poker game; however, the two got caught up in the moment and lost money in the scam."

It's such a strange story that a few TRREB members who received the alert felt like they were reading a work of fiction.

Getting lured into an unplanned poker game is the same kind of bait and switch scam as being told you're getting a free barbecue dinner only to be pitched on some multi-level marketing scheme.

Possibly the most ludicrous part of this Twitter thread is the allegation that this bizarre scam is not necessarily a new one, with one commenter claiming that agents are being scammed of "typically north of 7K on a hand," in a poker game described as "rigged."

So if you're out there looking to make a buck in the real estate world and find yourself being pressured to throw down on a poker game, maybe stick to the standard business coffee meetup.

Lead photo by

ThorstenF 


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