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Canadians at Higher Risk of Falling for Scams, BBB Report Finds

March 4, 2024 12:30 PM | News

Senior - Fraud - Scam

A recent report released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has revealed a concerning trend: Canadians are increasingly susceptible to scams, with reported scam susceptibility soaring by 30.3% from 2022 to 2023.

The report identifies investment scams, particularly those involving cryptocurrency, as the riskiest scams in Canada for 2023. Over 80% of individuals targeted by investment scams reported financial losses, with a median dollar loss of $9,365 CAD, according to BBB’s Scam Tracker, an online scam prevention and reporting tool.

Len Andrusiak, president and CEO of the BBB serving Manitoba and North West Ontario, emphasized the impact of investment and cryptocurrency scams, especially among individuals aged 45 and older. He cautioned against opportunities that sound too good to be true, stressing that no legitimate investment comes without risk.

“For all scam types, people should beware of opportunities that sound too good to be true. No investment opportunity will come with zero risk,” said Andrusiak.

Employment scams ranked as the second riskiest scam type in 2023, experiencing a 67.7% increase in reports from the previous year, with a median dollar loss of $3,600. Home improvement scams, despite dropping to the third spot, still pose a significant risk due to their high median dollar loss.

Romance scams and tech support scams emerged as new additions to the top 10 riskiest scams in Canada for 2023, with romance scams having the second-highest median dollar loss at $4,240. Rental scams, however, fell off the list.

The BBB assesses scam risk based on exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss. While high-volume scams target a large number of people with lower likelihoods of monetary loss, high-touch scams, like romance scams, often result in higher monetary losses for fewer individuals.

Businesses are also urged to remain vigilant, with the report highlighting worthless problem-solving service scams, bank/credit card company imposter scams, and fake invoice/supplier bill scams as the riskiest business scams in the USA and Canada.

The BBB encourages individuals to share their scam experiences, as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that only 5-10% of fraud cases are reported. Reporting scams not only helps victims but also aids in preventing future fraud and maintaining marketplace trust.

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