March is Fraud Prevention Month and the Better Business Bureau has released the Top 10 Scams of 2018.
From romance to income tax extortion, Canadians were scammed out of millions of dollars last year.
These are the top scams that targeted Canadians in 2018.
Top Scams That Targeted Canadians
Romance Scams (More than $22.5 million lost)
- Don’t ever wire or transfer money to someone you have not met.
- Do not share personal information like your home address or telephone number on dating sites such as Tinder and Bumble.
- Be wary of people who say they are out of the country or can never meet with you in person.
Income Tax Extortion Scams (More than $6 million lost)
- The CRA does not make threatening phone calls or request personal information over the
phone or by email.
- Delete texts and emails claiming to be from CRA, especially where they request your SIN.
- Canadian government agencies do not accept payment in Bitcoin or through gift cards.
Online Purchase Scams (More than $3.5 million lost)
- Always shop on legitimate websites and use reputable payment portals.
- Never wire money to someone you do not know and be aware of offers that are too good to be true.
- If possible, do transactions locally and in person.
Employment Scams (More than $4.5 million lost)
- Look into a company before accepting a job offer. Look out for poor grammar, unrealistic salary offers and insufficient details about the job.
- If you did not apply for a job, you did not get hired for one.
- A legitimate company will not ask you to forward money for any reason or pay an administration fee.
Phishing (Losses unknown)
- If you receive an email that looks and feels suspicious, contact the business directly. Do not share personal information or click on links if you have doubts about the sender of the email.
- Only shop on legitimate websites that don’t seem suspicious.
- Compare details of the invoice with your order and see if they match.
Subscription Scams (Losses unknown)
- Read all the terms and conditions. Know when the free trial ends. Be wary of websites where this information is not readily accessible.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Contact BBB to verify the business and see customer reviews.
- Check if the order includes pre-checked boxes. These may sign you up for unwanted products and charges.
Advance Fee Loans (Almost $1 million lost)
- If a company demands money to secure a loan, walk away.
- Be suspicious if a company guarantees a loan before doing a credit check.
- Check BBB for reputable lending organizations.
Tech Support Scams (Almost $1 million lost)
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you know it is the representative of a computer support team you contacted.
- Legitimate tech support companies do not call out of the blue.
- Do not click on links in unfamiliar emails.
Home Improvement Scams (Losses Unknown)
- Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments, handshake deals without a contract, and on-site inspections. Always get a written contract that has all the details you need to have.
- Check with BBB to see what other customers have experienced.
- Work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing and insurance. Confirm that your vendor will get all the relevant permits.
Bank Investigator Scams (More than $2 million lost)
- Banks do not ask clients to participate in investigations or to transfer funds to another account for safekeeping.
- Be on alert of early morning phone calls claiming to be from your bank.
- Cryptocurrencies, binary options and investment fraud are also connected to this scam in many cases.