Fraud: Top 10 riskiest scams in Canada

The Better Business Bureau has released its list of the top 10 riskiest scams in Canada.

Home improvement scams top the BBB’s risk index, followed by cryptocurrency scams and advance fee loans.

“Home improvement scams were the riskiest scam reported because you can lose a lot of money. There’s a lot involved with that,” explained Melanie McGovern, International Assoc. of BBB Director of PR.

The BBB also says that younger people are being scammed more often.

“It’s not older people who are losing money to scams, it’s 18-to-24-year-olds,” said McGovern. “So, have that conversation with your kids about safety online. They grew up with the internet. It’s not something that is scary to them.”

Rounding out The Better Business Bureau’s top five scams of 2022 are investment scams, and employment scams. Online purchase scams, rental fraud, credit card scams, travel scams, and phishing complete the top 10.

The top 10 riskiest scams in Canada in 2022, according to the Better Business Bureau. (CTV News Ottawa)

To protect yourself, the BBB advises always using a credit card when shopping online, as they offer built-in fraud protection. It is also recommended to avoid responding to text messages from unknown numbers or clicking links within them.

“Texting scams were up 39 per cent over 2021. So a lot of scammers are using texting as a method of contact,” says McGovern.

One victim, a Bitcoin broker who goes by the alias “Mr. Bitcoinz”, told CTV News he was recently scammed out of his entire Bitcoin account.

“One day I woke up, my phone didn’t work. It just said no service,” he said.

After visiting his phone provider, he discovered that scammers had sim-swapped his phone, giving them access to his email and exchange account. With access to all of his information, the scammers were able to steal all of his Bitcoin, totaling 10 coins, which had an approximate value of $200,000 CAD.

“It’s just gone in a blink of an eye,” Mr. Bitcoinz said.

Sim-swaps, while not on the BBB’s list, are a type of scam that usually follows a phishing scam, where fraudsters use deceptive links or other tricks to get personal information, and then contact victims’ service providers to impersonate them and gain access to their phone data.

Mr. Bitcoinz says investing in cryptocurrency can be a risky game.

“You can’t reverse the money. Once the money has been sent, nobody can get the money back. It’s irreversible,” he said.