Ottawa, ON- BBB’s across Canada have been working diligently to bring you the most prevalent scams that targeted Canadians in 2016. This year’s nefarious list is an amalgamation of information gathered from BBB’s Scam Tracker website, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and concerns brought forward by sponsors and community partners.
The truth is, it’s not goodnews and the numbers don’t lie. Canadians lost more money in 2016 than the previous two years. In fact, 50% more than in 2015. Last year, scammers took over 90 million out of the pockets of Canadians in a menagerie of ways from fake employment to online dating to misleading reviews.
There is some good news. Our number one scam from last year has been in decline. A call centre in India was raided and the dreaded Canada Revenue Agency Tax Scam dropped off dramatically. While the numbers for that scam remain down, it has not gone away entirely.
“The positive take away right now, is that there appears to be more reporting going on which would explain some of the increase in money lost,” says Seanna Lawrence, President and CEO of BBB serving Eastern & Northern Ontario and the Outaouais. “But at the end of the day it still only represents at most 5% of what was actually taken from Canadians. There is a lot more work to be done and a lot more awareness to be raised and a lot more reporting to do. Don’t be ashamed, let someone know if you’ve been scammed.”
The Top 10 Scams of 2016
1. Employment Scams - $5.3 million reported
2. Online Dating Scams – $17 million reported
3. Identity Fraud - $11 million reported
4. Advance Fee Loans - $1.1 million reported
5. Online Purchase Scams - $8.6 million reported
6. Wire Fraud – Spearphishing - $13 million reported
7. Binary Option Scams - $7.5 million reported
8. Fake Lottery Winnings - $3 million reported
9.Canada Revenue Agency Scam - $4.3 million reported
10. Fake Online Endorsements - $Unknown
“BBB derived much of the information from our new web page, BBB Scam Tracker,” adds Andrusiak. “While we have focused on these ten scams, there have been thousands reported on the web page across North America since 2015.”
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 its second annual "National BBB Password Day" on March 15th, 2017. We hope to inspire and remind Canadians about the importance of protecting their online presence. #bbbpasswordday
Spot a business or offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud? Tell us about it. Help us investigate and warn others by reporting what you know. Visit us at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
BBB would like to thank the following community partners for helping make the National Top 10 Scams of 2016 campaign possible:
The Competition Bureau
Consumer Debtor Protection Canada
The Bank of Canada
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Global Payments Canada
BC Securities Commission
Vancouver Police Department
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario, founded in 1930 and is one of 110 local, independent BBBs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Manitoba and NW Ontario more than 375 thousand times for Business Reviews.
BBB Serving Eastern & Northern Ontarion and the Outaouais
Seanna Lawrence, President and CEO
700 Industrial Avenue, Unit 505
Ottawa ON K1G 0Y9
Competition Bureau Government of Canada
Phil Norris, Senior Communications Advisor, Public Affairs, and Outreach Directorate
Bank of Canada
Farid Salji, Currency Analyst
British Columbia and Yukon (Currency)
Maison du développement durable
50, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Bureau 440
BC Securities Commission
Alison Walker, Media Relations