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Romance scams take top spot of 2018’s top 10 scams, Better Business Bureau says

FILE - The Better Business Bureau has released the Top 10 Scams of 2018.
FILE - The Better Business Bureau has released the Top 10 Scams of 2018. Global News

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has released the top 10 scams of 2018, with romance scams taking the top spot.

READ MORE: Romance scam costs Ontario senior $140K

The BBB said in a release that Canadians lost $121 million to scams in 2018, up from $95 million in 2017 and more than double the amount from 2015.

Less than 10 per cent of scam victims report the crime, according to the BBB, suggesting that actual losses from scams in 2018 may actually have been as high as $3 billion.

Approximately $22.5 million was lost to romance scams that the BBB says can involve catfishing, in which someone appears to be someone else online.

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The BBB says the scam has evolved and extended its impact to make it to the No.1 spot, and it has become very lucrative for scammers.

To avoid romance scams, the BBB recommends to never wire or transfer money to someone you haven’t met, look out for sob stories and to be wary of people who say they cannot meet you in person.

The total list is as follows:

  1. Romance Scams
  2. Income Tax Extortion Scams
  3. Online Purchase Scams
  4. Employment Scams
  5. Phishing
  6. Subscription Scams
  7. Advance Fee Loans
  8. Tech Support Scams
  9. Home Improvement Scams
  10. Bank Investigator Scams

“Scams are evolving — they are more aggressive, devastating, convincing and there is now a scam for everyone,” said Danielle Primrose, the BBB’s president and CEO. “Scammers are bolder than ever, which is why we need to keep informed and take proactive steps to protect our information and finances. I cannot stress enough how important it is to report every instance of scams and frauds.”

READ MORE: The top scams that the BBB says consumers should watch for this fall

The BBB has compiled a yearly list of top 10 scams for over 25 years.

This year’s list was compiled from its Scam Tracker, information from its community partners and sponsors, and input from BBBs in the country and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

The BBB encourages victims of scams to report it on their Scam Tracker website, and reminds everyone to change their passwords every three months.

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