A new scam duping Canadians out of millions topped the Better Business Bureau’s list in 2018.
The BBB announced its latest annual list of top 10 scams on Friday at a news conference at Vancouver Police Department headquarters.
Danielle Primrose, the president and CEO serving mainland B.C., said 2018 was another record-breaking year for scams, with more than 50,000 reported across Canada – more than 300 of those in B.C. alone.
Last year, Canadians lost more than $121 million to scammers – almost double the amount from 2015.
“In the past, people believed scammers only target seniors. However, the statistics are telling a different story,” said Primrose. “Scams are evolving – they are more aggressive, devastating, convincing and there is now a scam for everyone.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to report every instance of scams and frauds.”
The number-one scheme people fell victim to has to do with love.
In 2018, Canadians lost more than $22.5 million, an increase from $17 million from 2016, to schemes such as cat-phishing through online dating. The fraudster charms the victim over a period of time, then asks for money to help a sick relative or other emergency.
Income tax extortion scams came second, and are one of the most prevalent because of the number of reports received about threatening phone calls, text and phishing emails.
Online purchase scams fell from the number one spot and to number three for 2018. Canadians lost more than $3.5 million by falling prey to fake websites, purchase of counterfeit goods, and receiving fraudulent cheques.
Here are the top 10:
1. Romance scams
2. Income tax extortion scams
3. Online purchase scams
4. Employment scam
6. Subscription scams
7. Advance free loans
8. Tech support scams
9. Home improvement scams
10. Bank investigator scams