Albertans Losing Record Amounts to Scam Artists

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Aug. 28, 2018 ( Courtesy of discoverairdrie.com) – Albertans are being scammed out of record amounts of money by what a member of the Better Business Bureau calls “knowledgeable and sophisticated” scammers.

Jennifer-Kay Thomas, External Communications Specialist with the BBB says people need to arm themselves with knowledge to keep from becoming a victim.

“Be aware of the scams that are out there and know how to spot them so when they happen you know what to do,” Thomas explains.

Data from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says Albertans have lost more money so far this year than they did in all of 2017, a total of $1.5 million, to scams.

Five victims were taken for more than $600,000 through investment scams alone.  Another $170,000 was lost to prize scams that claimed the victim had won something but first had to pay taxes on his winnings before claiming the prize.  103 victims also lost over $420,000 so far this year to scams involving fake calls from the Canada Revenue Agency.

“They will call and say they’re calling from the Canada Revenue Agency,” says Thomas.  “They’ll tell you that maybe there’s some lawsuit under your name and you need to get in touch with them now or you’ll be arrested or sent to prison.  That’s the kind of way they go about scamming for CRA.  You should know that CRA generally wouldn’t call if they want to have a conversation with you. A call would not be the first thing they would do.  Once you get that kind of call you get suspicious that it’s not CRA.”

Thomas says scams take many different forms.  “There’s online purchase scams, fake website, counterfeit goods, free trial trip traps.  Then there’s wire fraud or spearfishing, Canadians businesses have been losing millions to that kind of fraud.  There’s online dating scam and employment scams are on the rise.  Those are some we’re seeing a lot of being reported on BBB Scam Tracker.”

Thomas says it’s important that people equip themselves with knowledge so as not to fall victim to scams that can devastate a person’s life.  And don’t believe that it ‘can’t happen to me.’  Thomas says almost anyone can fall victim, even young people.

“Younger people, like millennials, they’ll think they can’t be scammed.  But a study that BBB has done shows that younger persons are more likely to be scammed.  Because they think they won’t be scammed, they’re scammed more often than seniors but seniors are scammed for more money.  They might have more money at their disposal while the younger persons might not have a lot of money but thinking that they can’t be scammed, they’re often caught in this web.”