BBB serving Mainland BC President Danielle Primrose and Victor Hammill with the Competition Bureau of Canada speaking at National Top 10 Scams. (CompBureau/Twitter)

BBB serving Mainland BC President Danielle Primrose and Victor Hammill with the Competition Bureau of Canada speaking at National Top 10 Scams. (CompBureau/Twitter)

Weight loss, cryptocurrency fraud among BBB’s top 10 scams of 2017

Better Business Bureau releases its best-of-the-worst in reported fraud last year

Online dating, weight loss and cryptocurrency scams were among the Better Business Bureau’s list of top scams that duped Canadians out of millions of dollars last year.

On Wednesday, the organization released its 10 best-of-the-worst types of fraud of 2017, based on what was most commonly reported through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the BBB Scam Tracker website.

The total loss through fraudulent schemes has been steadily increasing in the past three years, primarily due to more consumers moving to online purchasing, BBB president Danielle Primrose said in a news conference.

Money-transfer wire fraud, also known as “spearphishing,” and income tax scams are also on this year’s list.

Fuelled by Canadians looking to maintain good health, Competition Bureau’s Victor Hammill said weight loss scams are one of the most concerning.

Scammers typically advertise products with “quick solutions and results” that come in the form of lotions and pills, he said.

New to the list this year: cryptocurrency scams. As more consumers look to bitcoin trading and other forms of virtual currency, many are vulnerable to fraudulent schemes.

READ MORE: Dozens of Cloverdale women involved in illegal ‘gifting clouds’

READ MORE: Tax season is upon us and that means the CRA scam will be in full force

While scammers bilked Canadians of more than $95 million, investigators believe about five per cent of victims actually come forward to report their loss, suggesting that actual losses across the country are closer to $2 billion.

The national list comes just days after the Mission RCMP and Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit arrested four people believed to be involved in “gifting circles,” a pyramid scheme that’s made its round through B.C. in the past, that could involve more than 1,000 people in the Lower Mainland.

“Everyone is a target now,” Primrose said. “Staying informed and on top of the numerous ways scammers try and get your money is key to making sure you don’t fall victim. That’s why we do this every year. Recognize it, report it, stop it.”

Top 10 scams:

  1. Online purchase scams
  2. Wire fraud, or spearphishing
  3. Online dating scams
  4. Employment scams
  5. Cryptocurrency scams
  6. Income Tax scams
  7. Miracle weight loss scams
  8. Advance fee loans
  9. Shady contractor services
  10. Fake invoices

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