Using its Risk Index, the BBB has determined, travel/vacation/timeshare scams were the riskiest last year, with a median loss of $5,000.
Patrick McKeen, President of the Better Business Bureau, says consumers try to book a virtual property that doesn’t exist at all, after sending a deposit.
According to the BBB, victims are offered great deals online including tempting vacation packages at unrealistically low prices.
Second on the list is advance fee loans, with a median loss of $1,490.
The third riskiest were romance scams, with victims seeing up to $4,000 in losses.
McKeen says a common misconception is that older Canadians are the most at risk of being scammed.
“But in fact, it’s Canadians that are under 44 that get scammed, that get taken in the most often, the most frequently.” McKeen says, younger Canadians are often scammed for smaller amounts. “It’s typically the older Canadians that get scammed for significant dollar amounts one at a time.”
Fourth on the list was cryptocurrency. McKeen says, this type of scam has been on the list in the past, usually falling under the financial category. Cryptocurrency scams have grown so much, the BBB had to create its own category.
“They occur essentially when some virtual currency is created, and it turns out to be fraudulent. So, somebody thinks they’re making an investment, getting in on the ground floor on the next version of Bitcoin, and thinking they’re going to buy something that’s going to be – for almost nothing today – that’s worth thousands in a few weeks or months. Then that turns out to be nothing, the actual product never materializes.”
Employment, online purchases and home improvement scams were fifth, sixth and seventh on the list respectively, with median losses ranging between $102 and $1,550.
Tech support, fake invoices and credit card scams landed in the bottom three spots, scamming consumers of $204 to $801.
McKeen says scammers tend to request total secrecy from their targets.
“We really encourage anybody, first off, to never send money to somebody that you’ve never met. Technology is also a way that people make connections. But, if you share those experiences, share what you’re doing with people around you, maybe they’ll help you to recognize that something’s up. That it’s too good to be true.”
You can find the full list on the BBB’s website.
– KitchenerToday.com/Rogers Media