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Common and Riskiest Scams in Canada

⚠️ Unable to withdraw funds from a broker? Are they asking you to pay more fees or taxes? You've been SCAMMED and this form gives you the opportunity to recover your funds!

A 2022 BBB Canadian risk report indicates that as much as 46. 9% lost money as a result of being targeted by a scam. Canadians between the ages of 35 to 44 reported the hightest susceptibility or loss due to being a target of a scam. The number of women victims increased in the same year.

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riskiest scams in Canada

1:What are home improvement scams in Canada?

A home improvement scam typically involves dishonest contractors or individuals who deceive homeowners by offering “home improvement services” but fail to deliver as promised.

They may also provide substandard work. These scams can result in financial loss, property damage, or incomplete and shoddy renovations.

Here are some common characteristics of home improvement scams in Canada:

  1. Door-to-Door Solicitation: Scammers may go door-to-door, offering their services for home repairs, roof replacements, landscaping, or other home improvement projects. They may use high-pressure sales tactics and claim to offer limited-time discounts or deals.
  2. Upfront Payment: Scammers often request a significant upfront payment or full payment before starting the work. Once they receive the money, they may disappear without completing the project or perform inadequate work. If you’ve been a victim, see what you can do to recover your funds .
  3. Unlicensed Contractors: Fraudulent contractors may claim to be professionals but lack the necessary licenses, permits, or certifications. They might show fake credentials or use deceptive company names to appear legitimate.
  4. Low-Ball Bidding: Scammers may provide extremely low estimates or bids to attract homeowners. Once hired, they may add extra charges for alleged additional work or unexpected expenses, significantly increasing the overall cost.
  5. Unfinished or Poor Quality Work: Some scammers may begin the project but leave it unfinished, often disappearing with the homeowner’s money. In other cases, they may rush through the job, leading to shoddy workmanship, inferior materials, or cutting corners.
  6. Pressure Tactics: Fraudulent contractors may create a sense of urgency, claiming that immediate repairs or renovations are necessary due to safety concerns or impending damage. They may pressure homeowners to make quick decisions without proper research or consultation.
  7. Lack of Written Contracts or Documentation (handshake deals): Scammers often avoid providing written contracts or documentation outlining the scope of work, materials, costs, and timelines. Without proper agreements, homeowners have limited recourse if problems arise.

2.What are Cryptocurrency scams?

Cryptocurrency scams are fraudulent schemes that exploit the growing popularity and the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies to deceive and defraud individuals.

These scams can take various forms, and it’s important to be aware of them to protect yourself. Here are some common types of cryptocurrency scams:

  1. Fake Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): Scammers create fraudulent ICOs, claiming to offer new cryptocurrencies or tokens at discounted prices to attract investors. They collect funds from investors but never deliver the promised tokens or disappear after raising the funds.
  2. Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes: These schemes promise high returns on investments or offer referral programs where participants earn commissions for recruiting new members. However, the returns are typically paid using funds from new investors, and the scheme collapses when there aren’t enough new participants to sustain the payouts.
  3. Phishing: Scammers send phishing emails or create fake websites that resemble legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets. They trick users into entering their private keys, passwords, or other sensitive information, allowing scammers to gain unauthorized access to their accounts and steal their cryptocurrencies.
  4. Pump and Dump Schemes: Scammers artificially inflate the price of a low-value cryptocurrency by spreading false information or rumors, creating hype and attracting investors. Once the price rises, they sell their holdings, causing the price to plummet, resulting in significant losses for other investors.
  5. Malware and Ransomware: Malicious software is used to gain unauthorized access to individuals’ computers or mobile devices. This allows scammers to steal cryptocurrency wallet information, private keys, or even lock users’ devices and demand ransom payments in cryptocurrencies.
  6. Fake Exchanges and Wallets: Scammers create fake cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets that appear legitimate but are designed to steal users’ funds. They may promote these platforms through online advertisements, search engine results, or social media.
  7. Celebrity Impersonations: Scammers impersonate well-known personalities or celebrities on social media platforms and promote fake cryptocurrency giveaways or investment opportunities. They ask users to send cryptocurrencies to a specified address, promising to send back a multiplied amount, but ultimately steal the funds.

3.What are advanced fee loan scams?

An “advanced fee loan” is a term commonly associated with a type of scam known as an advance fee scam. It involves fraudsters who promise to provide a loan to individuals but require them to pay an upfront fee or provide personal financial information before receiving the loan funds. However, once the fee is paid or the information is provided, the scammers disappear, and the loan never materializes.

Here’s how an advanced fee loan scam typically operates:

  1. Unsolicited Offer: Scammers may reach out to potential victims through phone calls, emails, or online advertisements, claiming to be lenders offering loans with attractive terms, even to individuals with poor credit.
  2. Upfront Fee: To proceed with the loan application, scammers require the victim to pay an upfront fee. This fee may be disguised as an administrative cost, processing fee, insurance fee, or collateral requirement.
  3. Payment Request: The scammer will provide instructions for the victim to send the fee payment via wire transfer, prepaid cards, cryptocurrency, or other untraceable methods.
  4. No Loan Disbursement: Once the victim pays the upfront fee, the scammer either disappears entirely or provides excuses for not disbursing the loan. They may claim that the fee was insufficient or that unforeseen circumstances require additional payments.
  5. Loss of Money and Personal Information: Victims not only lose the upfront fee but may also have exposed themselves to identity theft or other financial fraud by providing personal information such as social insurance numbers, bank account details, or copies of identification documents.

4.What are investment scams?

Investment scams are fraudulent schemes designed to deceive individuals or organizations into making investments with the promise of high returns or other financial benefits. These scams exploit people’s desire to grow their wealth and can result in significant financial losses. Here are some common types of investment scams:

  1. Ponzi Schemes: Ponzi schemes promise high returns to early investors using funds from new investors. The scheme collapses when there are not enough new investors to sustain the payouts, causing substantial losses for participants.
  2. Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid schemes involve recruiting new participants who make payments to existing members. The scheme relies on continuously bringing in new members, with only those at the top benefiting financially. Eventually, the pyramid collapses, leaving the majority of participants with losses.
  3. Pump and Dump Schemes: Scammers artificially inflate the price of a low-value investment by spreading false information or rumors. They encourage others to invest, driving the price up. Once the price rises significantly, the scammers sell their holdings, causing the price to plummet, resulting in losses for unsuspecting investors.
  4. Advance Fee Fraud: Scammers may pose as investment brokers or financial advisors, promising lucrative investment opportunities. They ask for upfront fees or payments for administrative costs, transaction fees, or due diligence. Once they receive the money, they disappear, and the promised investments never materialize.
  5. Offshore Investment Scams: Scammers offer investments in offshore companies or jurisdictions with the promise of tax advantages or high returns. They may claim that these investments are safe and secretive, making it difficult for investors to recover their funds once they realize it is a scam.
  6. Forex Trading Scams: Scammers attract investors with promises of high profits through foreign exchange (forex) trading. They may offer automated trading systems, signal services, or managed accounts that guarantee substantial returns. In reality, the scammers manipulate trades or misappropriate investor funds.
  7. Binary Options Scams: Binary options are speculative investments where investors bet on whether an asset’s price will rise or fall within a specific timeframe. Scammers manipulate binary options platforms, misrepresent returns, or refuse to allow withdrawals, leading to significant financial losses for investors.
  8. Affinity Fraud: Fraudsters target specific groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, by exploiting trust and shared affiliations. They use connections within these groups to gain credibility and convince members to invest in fraudulent schemes.

5.What are Employment scams?

Employment scams are fraudulent activities that target individuals seeking employment or those looking to make money through work-from-home opportunities. Scammers exploit people’s job search or financial needs by offering fake job opportunities, promising high-paying positions, flexible hours, or easy work. Here are some common types of employment scams:

  1. Fake Job Postings: Scammers create job postings on online job boards, social media platforms, or even on legitimate job websites. These postings may appear as genuine job opportunities but are designed to deceive applicants. The scammers may use the job posting to collect personal information or request upfront fees for job applications, background checks, or training materials.
  2. Advance Fee Fraud: Scammers ask job seekers to pay fees or provide financial information under the pretense of facilitating employment, processing work permits, or arranging interviews. They may claim that these fees are refundable or necessary for background checks or administrative purposes. Once the payment is made, the scammers disappear, and the job does not materialize.
  3. Work-from-Home Scams: These scams target individuals looking for remote or work-from-home opportunities. Scammers promise easy and high-paying jobs that can be done from the comfort of home. They may require an upfront payment for training materials, equipment, or access to job listings. In reality, the promised work does not exist, or the materials provided are worthless.
  4. Identity Theft: Some scammers pose as employers or recruitment agencies to gather personal and financial information from job applicants. They may request sensitive information like social insurance numbers, bank account details, or copies of identification documents. This information can be used for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.
  5. MLM and Pyramid Schemes: Scammers may present job opportunities as multi-level marketing (MLM) or pyramid schemes. They often require applicants to invest money upfront or purchase a starter kit or inventory. These schemes focus more on recruiting new participants rather than on legitimate product sales or services.
  6. Overpayment Scams: Scammers pose as employers and send job seekers fraudulent checks or money orders for more than the agreed-upon salary or wages. They ask the recipients to deposit the checks, keep a portion as payment, and send back the remaining funds. The initial checks are counterfeit, and victims are left responsible for the returned funds.

6.What are online purchase scams?

An online purchase scam refers to fraudulent schemes that target individuals making purchases or transactions on the internet. These scams exploit the trust and convenience of online shopping platforms to deceive buyers and steal their money or personal information. Here are some common types of online purchase scams:

  1. Non-Delivery Scams: Scammers pose as legitimate sellers on online marketplaces or websites and offer attractive products at low prices. Once a buyer makes a payment, the scammer either sends a counterfeit or inferior item or doesn’t send anything at all, leaving the buyer without the purchased item and their money.
  2. Counterfeit Product Scams: Scammers sell counterfeit or fake goods, often imitating popular brands or products. The buyer may receive a product that looks genuine but is of poor quality, unsafe, or significantly different from what was advertised.
  3. Overpayment Scams: Scammers pose as buyers and approach sellers with a request to pay more than the agreed price for an item. They provide fake payment confirmations or checks and ask the seller to refund the excess amount. The initial payment or check turns out to be fraudulent, leaving the seller at a loss.
  4. Phishing and Spoofing: Scammers send emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate online retailers or payment platforms. They trick recipients into clicking on malicious links, providing personal information, or entering login credentials, which the scammers then use to access accounts, steal funds, or engage in identity theft.
  5. Auction Fraud: Scammers use online auction platforms to advertise products at low starting bids or with no reserve price. They may artificially inflate bids using fake accounts or retract winning bids, ultimately preventing genuine buyers from securing the item.
  6. Fake Escrow Services: Scammers create fake escrow services or payment platforms that appear legitimate. They convince buyers and sellers to use these services for secure transactions but end up stealing the funds or personal information provided during the transaction.
  7. Gift Card Scams: Scammers may sell or trade counterfeit or stolen gift cards through online platforms. Buyers may receive non-functioning or empty cards, leaving them with worthless purchases.

7.What are rental Scams?

Rental scams are fraudulent activities that target individuals looking to rent or lease properties. Scammers exploit the rental market by posing as landlords or property managers, deceiving prospective tenants into paying money or providing personal information for a rental property that either does not exist or is not legitimately available for rent. Here are some common types of rental scams:

  1. Fake Listings: Scammers create fake rental listings on online platforms, advertising properties that are either non-existent or not actually available for rent. They may use stolen photos and descriptions from legitimate listings to make the scam appear more convincing.
  2. Wire Transfer Scams: Scammers posing as landlords or property managers request potential tenants to wire money as a security deposit, first month’s rent, or other fees before viewing the property or signing a lease agreement. Once the money is sent, the scammer disappears, and the victim is left without a rental property and their funds.
  3. Identity Theft: Scammers may request personal information from rental applicants, such as Social Insurance Numbers, bank account details, or copies of identification documents, under the guise of conducting background checks or verifying eligibility. This information can be used for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes.
  4. Sublet Scams: Scammers sublet properties they do not own or have the right to sublet. They collect deposits and rent from unsuspecting tenants, only for the real owner or property manager to discover the subletting arrangement is unauthorized, leading to the eviction of the victim.
  5. Rental Application Fees: Some scammers charge excessive application fees or screening fees to prospective tenants, often before providing any application forms or conducting legitimate screenings. They may claim that these fees are non-refundable or necessary to secure the rental property, even if the application is ultimately rejected.
  6. Bait-and-Switch Scams: Scammers show a different or lower-quality property to potential tenants than what was advertised. They lure individuals in with attractive listings but then claim that the advertised property is no longer available. They attempt to convince the victims to rent a different, often subpar, property instead.

8.What are credit card scams?

Credit card scams are fraudulent activities that involve the unauthorized use of someone’s credit card information for financial gain. Scammers employ various tactics to obtain credit card details, make unauthorized transactions, or steal funds from victims. Here are some common types of credit card scams:

  1. Card Skimming: Scammers use devices known as skimmers to capture credit card information when the card is swiped or inserted into compromised payment terminals or ATMs. They then use the stolen information to make unauthorized purchases or create counterfeit cards.
  2. Phishing: Scammers send fraudulent emails, messages, or make phone calls impersonating legitimate organizations, such as banks or credit card companies. They trick individuals into providing their credit card details, personal information, or login credentials under the guise of account verification or urgent security measures.
  3. Card Not Present (CNP) Fraud: Scammers use stolen credit card information to make online or phone purchases where the physical card is not required. They exploit vulnerabilities in the payment process to complete transactions without the cardholder’s knowledge or consent.
  4. Account Takeover: Scammers gain unauthorized access to individuals’ credit card accounts through various methods, such as obtaining login credentials through phishing or malware attacks. They then make fraudulent transactions, change account details, or redirect funds to their own accounts.
  5. Fake Card Offers: Scammers pose as financial institutions or credit card companies, offering individuals pre-approved credit cards or low-interest rate deals. They collect personal and financial information during the application process, which they later use for identity theft or to open fraudulent accounts.
  6. False Billing: Scammers send fake invoices or charge individuals for products or services they did not purchase. They may use stolen credit card information or simply rely on victims’ lack of awareness to charge them for non-existent or unauthorized transactions.
  7. Card Recycling: Scammers collect discarded or expired credit cards and use the information on them to make fraudulent transactions or create counterfeit cards.

9.What are travel/vacation/timeshare scams?

Travel vacation and timeshare scams are fraudulent schemes that target individuals looking for vacation accommodations or investment opportunities in timeshare properties. Scammers exploit the desire for affordable vacations or potential financial gains by offering fake or misleading offers. Here are some common types of travel vacation and timeshare scams:

  1. Fake Vacation Packages: Scammers promote attractive vacation packages that appear to be heavily discounted or all-inclusive. They may use deceptive advertising techniques to lure individuals into purchasing these packages, which may not exist or provide the promised benefits and accommodations.
  2. Timeshare Resale Scams: Scammers target timeshare owners who are looking to sell their properties. They offer to assist with the resale process, claiming to have interested buyers or connections with reputable resale companies. However, they charge upfront fees or commissions but fail to deliver any results, leaving the timeshare owners out of pocket.
  3. Prize or Free Vacation Scams: Scammers contact individuals, often through unsolicited calls or emails, claiming that they have won a free vacation or a valuable prize. To claim the prize, victims are required to pay upfront fees or provide personal and financial information, which can be used for identity theft or further fraudulent activities.
  4. Timeshare Investment Scams: Scammers present timeshare properties as lucrative investment opportunities, promising high returns and significant profits. They pressure individuals into purchasing timeshares, often at inflated prices, by using misleading sales tactics and false promises of future rental income or resale value. In reality, the investments turn out to be unprofitable or difficult to sell.

10.What are Social engineering scams?

Social engineering scams refer to deceptive tactics used by attackers to manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information, performing certain actions, or providing unauthorized access to systems or data. These scams exploit human psychology and trust to trick victims into revealing confidential information or performing actions that benefit the attacker. Here are some common types of social engineering scams:

  1. Phishing: Scammers send fraudulent emails, messages, or make phone calls posing as trusted entities such as banks, online services, or colleagues. They typically create a sense of urgency or alarm to trick recipients into clicking on malicious links, downloading malware, or providing personal information like passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers.
  2. Pretexting: Scammers create a false scenario or pretext to gain victims’ trust and extract sensitive information. They might impersonate authority figures, IT support, or customer service representatives and use social engineering techniques to elicit personal or confidential data from individuals.
  3. Impersonation: Scammers impersonate individuals or organizations in positions of authority to manipulate victims. This can involve impersonating a manager, a law enforcement officer, a government official, or a trusted colleague to deceive individuals into sharing sensitive information, granting access, or initiating financial transactions.
  4. Baiting: Scammers offer enticing incentives or rewards to lure individuals into taking specific actions. They may distribute infected USB drives, send phishing emails with malicious attachments disguised as free software or games, or create fake online contests to trick victims into compromising their security.
  5. Watering Hole Attacks: Scammers compromise websites or online platforms that are popular among a specific group of individuals or employees of a particular organization. By infecting these platforms with malware or setting up fake login pages, they aim to harvest usernames, passwords, or other confidential information when unsuspecting users visit the compromised site.
  6. Tailgating: Scammers exploit a person’s inclination to be helpful by manipulating their way into restricted areas or gaining unauthorized access to systems or buildings. They might follow employees into secure areas, pretending to be employees themselves or individuals with legitimate reasons to be there.
  7. Shoulder Surfing: Scammers observe or eavesdrop on individuals in public spaces, such as coffee shops or public transportation, to gather sensitive information like passwords, PIN numbers, or account details. They then use this information to carry out fraudulent activities.

Do remember that scammers in Canada keep reinventing their ways and this list is not and cannot be complete. We will keep adding more scams as we discover them.

Remember that if you are a victim of any of these 10 scams in Canada, you can do something to recoup your lost funds.

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