Top 10 scams of 2016 reveal Canadians lost more than $90M last year

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Police and Better Business Bureau outline top scams'
Vancouver Police and Better Business Bureau outline top scams
WATCH: This is the best of times for con artists, thanks in no small part to the internet. Our consumer reporter Anne Drewa tells us about the VPD and BBB’s top scams, many of them online – Mar 1, 2017

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has put out a list of its top 10 scams last year, revealing Canadians lost more than $90 million to scammers.

The scams ranged from fake employment to online dating and misleading reviews.

While the amount lost in 2016 was 50 per cent more than was lost in 2015, the BBB says it’s not all bad news. Thanks to a raid on a call centre in India, the number one scam from 2015, which was the Canada Revenue Agency Tax Scam, dropped off dramatically. However, it has not gone away entirely.

The Top 10 Scams of 2016

Employment Scams – $5.3 million reported

Online Dating Scams – $17 million reported

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Identity Fraud – $11 million reported

Advance Fee Loans – $1.1 million reported

Online Purchase Scams – $8.6 million reported

Wire Fraud – Spearphishing – $13 million reported

Binary Option Scams – $7.5 million reported

Fake Lottery Winnings – $3 million reported

Canada Revenue Agency Scam – $4.3 million reported

Fake Online Endorsements – Unknown

“The positive takeaway right now, is that there appears to be more reporting going on, which would explain some of the increase in money lost,” said Danielle Primrose, president, and CEO of BBB serving Mainland B.C. in a release. “But at the end of the day it still only represents at most 5 per cent of what was actually taken from Canadians. There is a lot more work to be done and a lot more awareness to be raised and a lot more reporting to do. Don’t be ashamed, let someone know if you’ve been scammed.”

The BBB says the best thing people can do to avoid getting scammed is to regularly change their passwords to online accounts.

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The second annual National BBB Password Day takes place on March 15, when Canadians are encouraged to change their passwords.

If anyone spots a business or offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud, they are asked to contact the BBB at

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