Cryptocurrency the riskiest scam in 2021

According to findings from the Better Business Bureau

The average median dollar loss reported for these scams related to cryptocurrency was $1,500. (File photo/Houston Today)

The average median dollar loss reported for these scams related to cryptocurrency was $1,500. (File photo/Houston Today)

Marking fraud prevention month, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has released their 2021 BBB risk report announcing the top riskiest scams affecting Canadians.

The report is based on data supplied by consumers to the BBB scam tracker, an online platform that enables consumers and businesses to report attempted and successful acts of fraud.

Based on the BBB risk index, in Canada, scams related to cryptocurrency jumped from the fourth riskiest scam in 2020 to the riskiest in 2021. Although cryptocurrency scams made up only 4.7 per cent of the scams reported to BBB scam tracker in 2021, the average median dollar loss reported for these scams was $1,500, much higher than the average dollar loss of $169 for all scam types.

READ MORE: British Columbians have lost $3.5M to cryptocurrency scams so far in 2021

Advanced fee loans dropped one spot from the riskiest scam in 2020, to the second riskiest in 2021. This scam type made up 6.1 per cent of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker Canada in 2021, with 57.7 per cent reporting a monetary loss.

Online purchase scams was the third riskiest. Online purchase scams continue to account for almost one third of all scams reported by Canadians in 2021.

BBB research shows that 53 per cent of Canadians are shopping online more, and 56 per cent spend more time browsing online or on social media. These increases are likely contributing factors to the increase of counterfeit product scams going from number 10 in 2020 to number six this year, phishing scams going from number eight to number five and the continued volume of online scams.

The research also showed that Canadians who reported being unable to keep up with their bills were more likely to report losing money when targeted by a scam.

READ MORE: VIDEO: B.C. metal sculptor makes giant Elon Musk head for cryptocurrency monument

“Scammers shift their tactics constantly and appear to have expanded their use of cryptocurrency to perpetrate fraud,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust.

With regard to age, Canadians ages 25-34 reported the highest average dollar losses in 2021 at $310, up from $228 in 2020. The average dollar loss for ages 55-64 also increased from $185 in 2020 to $303 in 2021. It is also notable that Canadians ages 65+ lost money more often in 2021 than in 2020. Whereas, Canadians ages 18-24 lost money less often in 2021 than they did in 2020.

Beyond the financial losses associated with scams, BBB research also points out that there are many other non-financial impacts of being targeted by a scam. More than 44 per cent reported losing confidence or peace of mind because of the emotional impact of being targeted by a scam and about 35 per cent reported losing personal information. About the same percentage of people, 55.9 per cent, reported losing time as reported losing money after being targeted by a scam.

Have a story tip? Email:

Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.