March is Fraud Prevention month, and the Southern Alberta Better Business Bureau has released their National Top Ten Scams List for 2018.

External Communications Specialist for the Southern Alberta BBB, Shawna Kay-Thomas, says romance scams are number one on their list.

"For this, Canadians lost over $22 million. This one is particularly bad, because the loss is not just financial. There is emotional, social and psychological loss that goes along with it, and so we're warning people to be careful when you're dating online," she said.

Thomas says it's important to never send money to someone you don't know, and if the person can never meet in person or is asking for personal information, this is a red flag and most likely a scammer looking to cash in.

Thomas says next to romance scams, income tax extortion scams are high on the list, coming in second.

"They continue to make aggressive calls to Canadians saying they owe the CRA, or have tax issues. If you get a call that's threatening, you want to hang up, and you don't want to provide any personal information over the phone. Also, if you're being asked to make payment by bitcoin or through gift cards, you know that's a red flag. CRA does not accept these kinds of payments," she said.

Others that made the list include employment, subscription, advance fee loans, online purchase, tech support, phishing and home improvement scams.

Thomas says although losses continue to trend upwards, the percentage of victims that come forward and report the crimes is estimated at only five per cent.

The BBB advises residents that scams are evolving, are more aggressive and convincing, costing Canadians more then $121 million in losses since 2015.


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