BBB Releases Its First National List of Top 10 Scams

March 01, 2016

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               

BBB Announces National Top 10 Scams of 2015

Vancouver, BC - 2015 has drawn to a close, the smoke has cleared and BBB has a better understanding of the scams that affected you and yours over the past year. As we enter 2016, the Top 10 Scams is a good news, bad news affair and once again runs in conjunction with the Competition Bureau’s Fraud Prevention Month.

In 2014 we highlighted the fact that Canadians were scammed to the tune of roughly 71 million dollars. In 2015, that number came down by about 10 million. That’s the good news. Canadians are becoming more savvy, more adept at spotting a scam and letting others know. The good news, however, is still tainted by under reporting. The 61 million lost in 2015 is likely just 5 percent of what was actually lost as victims often feel too ashamed to do anything about it.

“The bad news,” says Danielle Primrose, President and CEO of BBB serving Mainland BC, “Is scammers are finding new ways, new disguises to ply us with the same scams. The Canada Revenue Agency Scam is our number one scam this year. It was the most reported scam by far and it took several forms in order to get your money. And it didn’t just happen around tax time, all year long we received calls.”

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, over 17, 000 Canadians reported being affected in some way by the CRA scam. Luckily it wasn’t the most lucrative scam for would be thieves. That reluctant title goes to Catphishing. Catphishing is the name given to online dating scams.

“Canadians are still giving away money in hopes of a new romantic relationship,” adds Primrose. “Canadians lost more money to online romance scams than any other reported scam, by a margin of almost 10 million! When as many as 20 percent of online profiles are believed to be fake, it’s an area where users really need to proceed with caution.

BBB’s Top 10 List for 2015  


1. Top Extortion Scam: CRA Income Tax Scam Total Loss=2.9 Million

2. Top Heartbreak Scam: Catphishing; Total Loss=15.6 Million

3. Top Prize Scam: Fake Lottery Winnings; Total Loss=6.5 Million

4. Top Financial Scam: Investment Fraud; Total Loss=6.0 Million

5. Top Employment Scam: Secret Shopper, Total Loss=3.9 Million

6. Top Subscription Scam: Free Trial Traps, Total Loss=2.9 Million

7. Top Imposter Scam: Spear Phishing, Total Loss=5.8 Million

8. Top Private Sale Scam: Overpayment/Refund, Total Loss=5.3 Million

9. Top Emergency Scam: Fake Relative Needs Cash, Total Loss=1.9 Million

10. Top Lending Scam: Advance Fee Loans, Total Loss= 989,634 Thousand


BBB is doing more to help the public navigate through all the scams targeting them. In 2015 BBB introduced Scam Tracker. This is a new tool that allows the public to upload and share their experiences with scams.

Scam Tracker is a microsite with a heat map and search function that allows the user to find information on specific scams throughout North America.

In less than a year Scam Tracker has logged over 16,000 scams in North America, with over 80 scams published here in BC. Sadly those numbers keep going up.

One of the key things people can do to prevent getting scammed is to regularly change their passwords to online accounts. With that in mind, BBB is launching ‘BBB Password Day’ on March 15th, 2016. This is a new initiative from BBB serving Mainland BC and we hope to inspire and remind Canadians about the importance of protecting their online presence. #bbbpasswordday

Stay informed:

Join the Discussion: #bbbtop10scams

Better Business Bureau would like to thank the following community partners and corporate sponsors who helped drive this year’s National Top 10 Scams campaign:


The Competition Bureau

Option Consommateurs

Bank of Canada

Consumer Debtor Protection of Canada Inc

British Columbia Securities Commission

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Vancouver Police Department

Better Business Bureau Serving Mainland BC is doubling its efforts this year to raise awareness of the scams targeting you each and every day. Throughout March we will be engaging the public at several events and have created a dedicated web page full of helpful information. To visit the website, click here:


Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor BBB Serving Mainland BC                                                                                                             604-488-8702                                                                                                                                                                                                                   604-505-2307                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          404-788 Beatty Street                                                                                                                                                                                           Vancouver, BC                                                                                                                                                                                                                 V6B 2M1

Competition Bureau Canada                                                                                                                                                                                               Phil Norris                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Senior Communications Advisor, Public Affairs and Outreach Directorate                                                                                                             Competition Bureau | Government of Canada                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              819-953-4257                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bb: 613-716-2078

Bank of Canada                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sabrina Cordeiro, Senior Analyst                                                                                                                                                                                     British Columbia and Yukon (Currency)                                                                                                                                                                           200 Granville Street, Suite 2710, Vancouver, BC                                                                                                                                                                 604-643-6238

Option Consommateurs                                                                                                                                                                                                       Maison du développement durable                                                                                                                                                                                       50, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Bureau 440                                                                                                                                                                           Montréal (Québec)                                                                                                                                                                                                           H2X 3V4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 514-598-7288 or toll-free : 1-888-412-1313                                                                                                                                                               

BC Securities Commission                                                                                                                                                                                                 Richard Gilhooley, Media Relations                                                                                                                                                                               BC Securities Commission                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              604-899-6713

Consumer Debtor Canada Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                           Roy Toker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1-888-482-0334 x 223                                                                                                                                                                                                             1-888-482-0336                                                                                                                                                                                                     


About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2014, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 1.8 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.