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Online purchases, dicey cryptocurrency schemes top Better Business Bureau’s riskiest scams

The anti-fraud agency has been tracking fraud trends with their online Scam Tracker since 2015
(File photo)

Canadians are spending more and more time online these days and so are scammers.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently releases its 2021 Scam Tracker Risk Report. The data, collected through the BBB Scam Tracker, shows a marked increase in online scams.

Online purchase scams, where scammers pose as reputable online retailers offering luxury goods at low prices, made up 37.4 per cent of all scams reported and 74.9 per cent ended up in a monetary loss. BBB identified online purchase scams at the riskiest for consumers. Amazon was the most impersonated brand in online purchase scams. Others include PayPal, Walmart, Apple and Facebook.

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Cryptocurrency scams rose to become the second riskiest scams in 2021 —despite only making up 1.9 per cent of reported scams, the average financial loss was $1,200 far higher than the overall median dollar loss of $169. Cryptocurrency scams were ranked as the seventh riskiest by BBB in 2020, but shot up to second due to the large financial losses victims suffer.

The BBB’s other top 10 riskiest scams include employment, home improvement, investment, fake cheques, advance-fee loans, government grants, tech support and travel scams.

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For businesses, the riskiest scams were fake invoices or supplier bills for items they didn’t order. Businesses were also susceptible to bank or credit card company imposters and ‘worthless’ problem-solving services.

In order to protect yourself, the BBB recommends never sending money to anyone you haven’t met face-to-face, taking precautions when making online purchases, don’t be pressured to act immediately, never sharing personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited and using secure, traceable transactions.

The BBB also cautions people not to click any links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages, as those links can compromise your personal information.

To keep up with ever-changing scam methods, BBB is upgrading their online scam tracker tool to provide increased interaction capabilities and enhance user experience when reporting scams. The first stage of the upgrade is expected to go live in summer 2022.


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