BBB’s Top 10 Scams for 2014

Scammers, hackers and thieves are among us. The question is, how do we protect ourselves?

Scammers, hackers and thieves are among us. The question is, how do we protect ourselves from those who would take our money, our identity and our sense of safety? Education is the key. Learning how to recognize scams and report them to the proper authorities is the surest way to defeat this often faceless enemy.

Every year for the last 22 years The Better Business Bureau of B.C. (BBB) has put together a list of the top scams affecting British Columbians. BBB works alongside community partners to develop a list identifying which scams are actively phishing for your identity and money. The benefit of these partnerships means the public has more opportunity to become educated than ever before when it comes to these scams. Despite that, losses are on the rise.

2013 saw Canadians lose roughly 53 million dollars to scammers. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre that number hit 70 million in 2014. More websites means more opportunity for fraud. More catastrophe around the world means more charlatans are setting up shop to prey on your good and giving nature.

“In today’s world, there is even more need to keep educating the public and raise awareness of these issues,” says Danielle Primrose, President of BBB serving mainland B.C. “Technology continues to help scammers cast a wider net for people to be susceptible, so we will keep rallying our partners and bringing the message to you.”

This year’s BBB Top 10 Scams live largely in the digital world. It is a space that is easier for hackers and fraudsters to set up shop, and they are getting very good at deception. It is easy for these crooks to replicate trusted brands and hit as many potential victims as possible all at once. From developing a sense of trust to steal your money to buoy up a Ponzi scheme, to breaking through IT security and firewalls to exploit the personal data of millions of people, these scammers stop at nothing to make your life miserable.

BBB Top 10 Scams:

1. Top Auto Scam – Automotive Online Pricing

2. Top Emotional Scam – Disaster Charity Fraud

3. Top Identity Theft – Remote Computer Repair

4. Top Social Media Scam – Fake Facebook Friend Request

5. Top Romance Scam – Catphishing/Online Dating scam

6. Top Utilities Scam – Fake Billing

7. Top Finance Scam – Online Affinity Fraud

8. Top Sales Scam – Redirected Robocalls

9. Top Big Data Scam – Big Box Breach

10. Top Ad Scam – Fake Online Reviews

Here is an example of this year’s scams.

BC Hydro is highlighting a recent yet pervasive scam that targets businesses and homes alike. The scammer calls up claiming to be from BC Hydro and threatens to cut off power unless a bill is paid immediately with a Visa Gift Card. There are red flags all over this fake billing scheme.

Online reviews have become very useful tools for consumers and businesses. However many have taken advantage of the power of reviews and the Competition bureau would like to remind you that fake reviews are on the rise and do a disservice to the trust in today’s marketplace.

The BBB Top 10 Scams Campaign coincides with Fraud Prevention Month.

BBB and their community partners join forces and share current information so they know that what they are bringing to the public is relevant and useful.

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