VANCOUVER — The Better Business Bureau says travel, vacation and timeshare scams topped the list of frauds that cost victims thousands of dollars last year.
The Better Business Bureau in mainland British Columbia says shady travel deals returned to its list of riskiest scams in 2019 after a three-year absence.
It says victims lost an average of $5,000 to travel, vacation or timeshare scams.
Consumers reported being hit with exorbitant closing fees on fraudulent timeshare sales, while the bureau reports travellers dreaming of budget vacations were often taken in by deals that were unrealistically cheap.
It advises timeshare sellers to thoroughly research potential brokers and says anyone looking for vacation or travel deals should be familiar with expected costs and use the bureau's website to identify reputable, dependable travel agencies and agents.
The bureau says advance fee loans and online romance frauds rounded out the top three risky scams, with losses tallied at about $4,000 for a romance con and $1,500 for an advance fee fraud.
Danielle Primrose, president and CEO of the bureau in mainland B.C., says fake invoices have also made a comeback after several years off the Top 10 list, with scammers often successfully fooling employees into paying for products that a business did not order and may not even exist.
The latest report is based on data supplied by consumers to the bureau's scam tracker.
Primrose says a healthy marketplace is created by consumer awareness and principled businesses.
"Scams undermine trust in the marketplace, distort the level playing field, and siphon money from legitimate transactions that benefit both businesses and consumers, thus impeding economic growth," she says in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2020
The Canadian Press