Top 10 Ways Canadians Were Scammed in 2014: How's Your Fraud Prevention?
Here’s Hoping You Didn’t Fall for Any of These Scams?
It’s not just a business losing money to a scam or fraud. It’s individuals too. Today we thought we’d focus on you, the individual, as you head into your weekend – brushing the hectic week off your shoulders, the stress of your days draining quickly – just keep your wits about you!
BC’s Better Business Bureau just released its list of the top 10 scams of 2014. Not surprising, it shows that most scams are happening online as scam artists take to social media to defraud their victims.
Last year, Canadians lost more than $70 million to scams, this an increase from $53 million the year before, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Here’s the scary thought though – these numbers are likely a conservative estimate because only about 5% of victims actually report scams.
This year’s top ad scam was scammers posting fake online reviews that make bad products or companies look appealing. If you’re one of 90% of people who read reviews before making a purchase, at least one in 5 of those reviews are fake. Also on the top 10 list is fake Facebook friend requests where someone disguised as somebody familiar sends a link to victims to download, then delivers malware onto their computers if the link is opened.
Did you happen to get a call from BC Hydro? Since the fall, people across the province have been receiving phone calls from fake BC hydro workers telling them they must pay immediately or have their electricity cut off. Did you get a call from your local hydro provider?
These scam aren’t just limited to the Province of BC. They happen across Canada, and the US, and although this particular data doesn’t include the rest of the world, it’s pretty safe to say that these scams apply to every single one of us.
The biggest scam – huge data breaches. Two hundred million consumers in North America had their debit and credit card information stolen last year when data was breached at big-box stores like Target and Home Depot.
Why do people commit fraud? Well that’s a good question with many answers. With time scammers take what was old, and morph it into something new. Example? That door-to-door handyman from yesteryear is today’s fake technician with promises to clean computer viruses from otherwise virus free computers [but you don’t know that because they are preying on your emotions – fear of a computer virus!]
Which brings up another scam – the one that preys on our desires. People search for love online and fall for online dating scams. These fraudsters took at least $13 million off Canadians last year.
Most frauds are preventable. Did you know that the number one method of fraud detection came from employee tips?
DON’T FALL FOR A SCAM!
So what are the top 10 scams of 2014. Here’s the list:
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