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These were the top 10 scams in 2021 according to the Better Business Bureau

Cryptocurrency, advance fee loan and online purchase frauds are just a few of the top scams in Canada, according to the Better Business Bureau.

With March marking Fraud Prevention Month, the BBB is out with its annual list of the top 10 riskiest scams in 2021, which swindled Canadians out of $379 million.

Based on data supplied by consumers, the BBB report found that scams related to cryptocurrency jumped from the fourth riskiest scam in 2020 to the riskiest in 2021.

"Although cryptocurrency scams made up only 4.7 per cent of the scams reported to the BBB scam tracker in 2021, the average median dollar loss reported for these scams was $1,500, much higher than the overall median dollar loss of $169 for all scam types," the report reads.

Advance fee loan scams nabbed second place on the list, making up 6.1 per cent of all scams reported to the BBB with 57.7 per cent reporting losing money.

Online purchase scams made the top three, but dropped from second riskiest scam in 2020 to third riskiest in 2021.

However, the median dollar loss for these scams went from $116 in 2020 to $124 in 2021.

The BBB says online purchase scams continue to make up almost one third of all scams reported by Canadians.

After another year marked largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, BBB research found that 53 per cent of Canadians are shopping online more and 56 per cent are spending more time browsing social media.

Melissa Lanning Trumpower, the executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, says those factors are likely behind the spike in counterfeit product, phishing and online scams.

"Scammers shift their tactics constantly and appear to have expanded their use of cryptocurrency to perpetrate fraud,” Trumpower says in a news release. "Scammers are using social media and other means to promise investment opportunities with great returns and low risks, which is a huge red flag. We received many reports of people being targeted on a variety of social media platforms after their friends’ accounts were hacked.”

Riskiest Scams of 2021

1. Cryptocurrency

2. Advance fee loan

3. Online purchase

4. Home improvement

5. Phishing

6. Counterfeit products

7. Employment

8. Fake invoices and supplier bills

9. Credit cards

10. Sweepstakes and lotteries

The report also found that Canadians between the ages of 25 to 34 reported the highest median dollar losses in 2021, at $310, up from $228 in 2020.

The BBB adds that beyond financial losses, research also shows there are many emotional impacts associated with being targeted by a scam.

BBB research found more than 44 per cent of fraud victims reported losing confidence or peace of mind and 35 per cent reported losing personal information. Top Stories

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