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Travel, vacation and timeshare scams top BBB’s 10 riskiest scams in Canada

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Travel, vacation and timeshare scams took the number one spot in the Better Business Bureau’s top 10 riskiest scams for 2019.

The BBB says victims lost an average of $5,000 to scammers with several consumers reporting bogus businesses tricking them into paying exorbitant closing fees on fraudulent timeshare resales or tempting consumers with travel packages with unrealistically low prices.

“They (consumers) are using a credit card when they were making transactions thinking they were doing legitimate purchases, but ultimately giving their money to scammers,” said Kaira Laird BBB Mainland B.C. spokesperson.

The “advance fee loan” was the second riskiest scam with an average loss of $1,500 per person.

In Canada, it’s illegal for companies doing business by phone to promise a loan and ask for payment before they deliver.

The BBB says romance scams and cryptocurrency scams were the third and fourth riskiest scams with a median dollar loss of $4,000 and $3,600 respectively per person.

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“People who were single, widowed or divorced were more likely to fall for these (romance) scams because there was a feeling of loneliness that a lot of these victims share in their reports with us,” said Laird.

READ MORE: How a B.C. woman lost nearly $1M to a romance scam, and the tragic consequences that followed

Top Riskiest Scams in Canada

  1. Travel/Vacation/Timeshare
  2. Advance Fee Loan
  3. Romance
  4. Cryptocurrency
  5. Employment
  6. Online Purchase
  7. Home Improvement
  8. Tech Support
  9. Fake Invoice
  10. Credit Card

READ MORE: A B.C. photographer out thousands of dollars after falling victim to a scam

The most common scams in Canada were online purchase scams, according to the BBB.

“Online purchase scams are very diverse. It’s looking at emails, websites and social media. In most cases, over 60 per cent of the victims who reported to us actually lost money on an online platform,” said Laird.

The BBB recommends consumers do their homework.

“We found that when you take the extra step and do your due diligence and double check where you are spending your money, it does help,” said Laird.

“If you are uncertain about an investment opportunity, about an item you want to purchase, [or] about a business you are doing a transaction with, ask BBB, ask a friend. That second opinion is usually a very good way to get that final feedback before you decide to make that big step.”
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According to the BBB, in 2019, women were slightly more likely to lose money to scammers, but men lost significantly more money, with over $600 for men when compared to just over $200 for women.

READ MORE: Vancouver server warns people after she lost $8K in Bitcoin CRA scam

For the full report, go to BBB.org/RiskReportCanada