Online dating, weight loss and cryptocurrency scams were among the Better Business Bureau’s list of top scams that duped Canadians out of millions of dollars last year.
On Wednesday, the organization released its 10 best-of-the-worst types of fraud of 2017, based on what was most commonly reported through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the BBB Scam Tracker website.
The total loss through fraudulent schemes has been steadily increasing in the past three years, primarily due to more consumers moving to online purchasing, BBB president Danielle Primrose said in a news conference.
Money-transfer wire fraud, also known as “spearphishing,” and income tax scams are also on this year’s list.
And the results are in: here are the top 10 scams of 2017, according to the Better Business Bureau. Canadians lost nearly $100 million to scammers. #bbbtop10scams #fraud #BBB pic.twitter.com/ifQVctzhk5
— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) February 28, 2018
Fuelled by Canadians looking to maintain good health, Competition Bureau’s Victor Hammill said weight loss scams are one of the most concerning.
Scammers typically advertise products with “quick solutions and results” that come in the form of lotions and pills, he said.
New to the list this year: cryptocurrency scams. As more consumers look to bitcoin trading and other forms of virtual currency, many are vulnerable to fraudulent schemes.
While scammers bilked Canadians of more than $95 million, investigators believe about five per cent of victims actually come forward to report their loss, suggesting that actual losses across the country are closer to $2 billion.
The national list comes just days after the Mission RCMP and Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit arrested four people believed to be involved in “gifting circles,” a pyramid scheme that’s made its round through B.C. in the past, that could involve more than 1,000 people in the Lower Mainland.
“Everyone is a target now,” Primrose said. “Staying informed and on top of the numerous ways scammers try and get your money is key to making sure you don’t fall victim. That’s why we do this every year. Recognize it, report it, stop it.”
Top 10 scams:
- Online purchase scams
- Wire fraud, or spearphishing
- Online dating scams
- Employment scams
- Cryptocurrency scams
- Income Tax scams
- Miracle weight loss scams
- Advance fee loans
- Shady contractor services
- Fake invoices