“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
That’s the advice from the Better Business Bureau as they release their list of 2019’s biggest scams.
They say there were 37,283 reports of fraud last year, costing Canadians anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
A few years ago Amy Gizas received a phone call with some bad news.
“I was crying,” she says. “I didn’t want to do to jail.”
The person on the other line claimed they were from the Canada Revenue Agency and insisted Gizas was going to be arrested for tax fraud.
“It was a weird tax year for me,” she says. “I got a lot of money back to I was worried about it. I had a new tax guy too.”
But she later found out it wasn’t true.
According to the Better Business Bureau’s Risk Report, this is the first time the CRA scam didn’t crack their list of Top 10 scams.
What did top the list was travel scams including any kind of timeshares or travel booking.
Waterloo Regional Police say romance fraud is one of the most reported scams and the victims are typically women aged 50 to 59-years-old.
“The average loss for a relationship fraud is between $40,000 and $60,000,” says Jason Murray of Waterloo Regional Police.
According to experts the majority of scams are now online – from purchases, emails or even ads.
- Here are the Better Business Bureau’s Top 10 scams:
- Advance Fee Loan
- Online Purchase
- Home Improvement
- Tech Support
- Fake Invoice
- Credit Card
So how do you know if you’re being scammed?
Police point to two red flags – urgency and secrecy. Specifically if the other person asks you to rush to send something or tells you not to share the information with anyone else.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud police say you can report it in person, over the phone or online.