We’ve heard about the big business scams over the years, but what about the smaller personal scams that lead to millions in lost money?
Derringer in the Morning discussed the list of Top 5 personal scams last year. The first one on the list hit close to home, with many Torontonians being targeted by the ‘CRA.’
1. Canada Revenue Agency Call/Email
Agressive emails and calls harrassed citizens incessantly. Claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, the recipients were told they owed an income tax debt, and they had to pay immediately (with a credit card) or face extreme consequences. Court fees, JAIL time, and even DEPORTATION were threatened. Some were told a police officer would be coming to their door, or they would be escorted to a 10 PM flight out of the country.
Some people who owed money, or were immigrants afraid of the government, must have fallen for it. In spite of failing to make a lot of money off the scheme, the piranas did recieve just under 2 million.
It was, however, the most reported and complained about scam of the year.
2. “Catfishing” or “Cat-phishing”
The online dating scam, now nicknamed Catfishing, caused people to lose $16 million last year. Victims were fed sob stories, told to send money for flights to visit, and so on. People fall for it for a variety of reasons; genuine sympathy from those who really think they’re doing a good deed, false ideas of romance, and false promises that their online ‘love’ will be coming to visit- if you only send thousands for a flight. The term was coined after this documentary about one man’s real story of getting ‘catfished.’
3. Fake Lottery Winnings
People were emailed with the exciting news they’d won the lottery! In America. They were then informed they would need to pay applicable Canadian taxes on the prize before they could see the money. Jackpot. This scam caused Canadians to lose $6.5 million.
4. Investment Schemes
Online ‘companies’ sought out investors, who were then promised a surprisingly large return on their money within a year. Then, however, they were part of a pyramid scam- or even on ‘investments’ that never existed. $6 million were lost to these scammers. Tip: If promised more than 3% return in the first year, do a lot of research into the validity of the investment opportunity.
5. “Secret Shopper”
This one is kind of sad. Unemployed people are sought out for this scam, which has led to almost $4 million lost. It involves the victim being promised a job as a ‘secret shopper’ for the employer’s (fictional) store. These jobs really do exist, first of all. But in the scam they are given a cheque which they can use to shop at the employers store. To get a head start however, they are asked to send CASH to the employer for the cheque. And…you guessed it. The cheque bounces. Here’s a story from a man who lost $5000, and it’s understandable how he got scammed. His first cheque cleared.