Scammers exploit smart phone messages, online dating sites

Scammers exploit smart phone messages, online dating sites

Consumers warned to be vigilant as BBB releases top 10 scams

Top ten-scams-2013-power point from Better Business Bureau serving Mainland BC



 

Predators who target singles on online dating sites and text messages that lure cellphone users into revealing personal information are among the top scams that aim to separate consumers from their cash this year.

The annual top 10 scams list was released Tuesday by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in partnership with police and both federal and provincial consumer protection authorities.

The number one scam of the year actually plays on the role of the bureau itself – fraudsters have sent millions of official-looking emails to people and businesses claiming they’re the subject of a BBB complaint and investigation and directing them to click a link that downloads a virus that steals banking information and passwords.

“The immediate fear is that your company’s reputation may be harmed by a complaint,” BBB president and CEO Danielle Primrose said. “And that is why the scam works so well.”

She said young people with smart phones can be particularly susceptible to text messaging scams that offer them gift cards at major retailers and lure them to a web site where they give up personal information.

Romance scams have spiked in activity, she said, noting more than 1,000 victims in Canada lost a combined $14 million last year.

Perpetrators always have an excuse why they can’t meet in person and build an online relationship with the victim before asking them to wire money for travel or to help with a heart-breaking family emergency.

“These are probably very under-reported,” Primrose said. “Who wants to admit that they’ve been taken advantage of simply for falling in love?”

Older schemes are also still making the rounds.

Rogue door-to-door contractors remain an ongoing problem.

And ‘curbers’ selling deficient used cars, often imported from the U.S., are expected to become a growing problem as a flood of vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy make their way to other jurisdictions, including B.C.

“Buy from somebody you have recourse against, such as a licensed dealer,” suggested Doug Longhurst of the Motor Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia.

He also urged car buyers to search the full vehicle history.

“If a vehicle has been in three or four states, there’s a pretty good chance it was essentially ‘washed’ through those states to get the title clean.”

Investment fraud remains a major problem for commercial crime investigators.

One such case involving a notary public snared more than 200 Lower Mainland investors last year and cost them $83 million, according to B.C. Securities Commission spokesman Andy Poon.

He said a survey last year found a quarter of B.C. residents aged 50 and up have experienced some sort of investment fraud in their lifetimes.

“One of the most significant barriers we face is reporting,” said RCMP Sgt. Duncan Pound. “Come forward and move past the embarassment. It could happen to anyone.”

Businesses continue to fall victims to phoney invoice scams, such as one where a Gabriola Island man bombarded businesses with fake invoices of about $140 each for a web hosting company. He raked in $150,000 before authorities caught him.

For the full list of top scams for this year and tips on how to avoid falling for them see www.mbc.bbb.org/top-ten-scams.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Fire Department. (Chilliwack Progress file)
Fire crews respond to house fire on border of Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Flames, dark smoke reported coming from front of house when crews arrived

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

Pig races at the 147th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 10, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Fair plans in-person event for 149th annual exhibition

Will be first large-scale, in-person event in over a year, provided regulations continue as planned

Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.
Chilliwack students overcome adversity to win Beedie Luminaries scholarships

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 students receiving money

Crews work on the construction of Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt near the Vedder River on Thursday, April 1, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack School District shuffling catchment areas as Stitó:s Lá:lém totí:lt construction continues

SD33 is looking for public input about proposed catchment and feeder school options

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read