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

Special weather statement issued for Fraser Valley as first summer heat arrives June 20, 2021, and set to persist all week. (Photo by James Day on Unsplash)
Second day of hot temperatures rippling across Fraser Valley

Communities from Abbotsford to Hope will see daytime high maximum temps of 32 degrees

Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament takes place Aug. 21, 2021.
Buzz building for 2021 Wilma’s Transition House Charity Golf Tournament

The key fundraiser for the non-profit will be held Aug. 21 at the Cultus Lake Golf Course

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 following an assault. (File photo)
Trial underway in February 2020 death of White Rock senior

Ross Banner charged with manslaughter following Five Corners altercation

Most Read