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Average loss of $300 to scams reported in 2023: BBB report

BusinessAverage loss of $300 to scams reported in 2023: BBB report

The Better Business Bureau’s report suggests $300 was the median dollar loss for those that fell victim to scams last year.

Investment scams, including those involving cryptocurrency, rose to the riskiest scam type reported in Canada in 2023, according to a new report from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

More than 80 per cent of people who were targeted by this scam type reported losing money to BBB Scam Tracker, BBB’s online scam prevention and reporting tool. It also had the highest median dollar loss of all scam types at $9,365 CAD. 

Investment scams take many forms, often using pressure tactics, such as the low risk, high return pitch, to encourage consumers to purchase, trade, or store digital assets (cryptocurrency) with fraudulent exchanges. Investment and cryptocurrency scams both appeared on the list of ten riskiest scams in Canada in previous years. This year, these categories were combined because most cryptocurrency scams involved some sort of investment opportunity.

“Investment and cryptocurrency scams had a significant impact in 2023, particularly for people forty-five years of age and older,” said Simone Lis, president and CEO for the BBB serving Mainland BC and Yukon.

“For all scam types, people should beware of opportunities that sound too good to be true. No investment opportunity will come with zero risk.”

The report also indicates that overall scam susceptibility (the percentage of scams with a monetary loss) increased 30.3 per cent from 2022 to 2023. However the overall median dollar loss for scams reported in Canada remained the same as reported in 2022 ($300).

Employment scams became the second riskiest scam type in 2023 with a 67.7 per cent increase in reports from the year before. They had a median dollar loss of $3,600, up from $3,000 in 2022.

Home improvement scams dropped from the top spot to third riskiest, despite a 35.5 per cent increase in reports for this scam type and an increase in susceptibility. This is primarily due to the high median dollar loss associated with the previous two rankings (investment and employment scams). 

Advance fee loan scams, No. 4 on the list of 2023 riskiest scams, continue to be a concern with 56.2 per cent reporting a monetary loss when targeted by this scam type and a high median dollar loss at $1,385.

New to the 2023 top 10 riskiest scams in Canada list are romance scams at the sixth spot and tech support scams in the last spot. Romance is notable with the lowest exposure rate of 1.2 per cent but the second highest median dollar loss at $4,240. Rental scams fell off the list from 2022 to 2023.

The BBB assesses risk based on the BBB Risk Index: Exposure x Susceptibility (or likelihood of loss) x Monetary Loss.

Scams that occur in high volumes typically target as many people as possible but yield a lower likelihood of monetary loss.

In comparison, scams with a “high-touch” approach (such as Romance scams) often reach fewer individuals, but exposed individuals are often more likely to lose money and to lose more money.

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