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Have you been fooled by a scam? BBB has the Top 10, according to age

Unfortunately, seniors often make good targets for scammers, the BBB writes.

If you’re 25 years old, what scams could fool you?

Last week, the Better Business Bureau released its report of the riskiest scams in North America — split into age groups.

The report comes in March during Fraud Prevention Month.

Here’s the breakdown:

Ages 18 to 24

  • Online purchase scams
  • Employment scams
  • Investment scams

BBB’s research shows that 59.8 per cent of North Americans — 53 per cent of Canadians — are shopping online more, and 46.4 per cent — 56 per cent of Canadians — spend more time browsing online or on social media. 

Given these habit changes, it is not surprising that Online Purchase Scams are the number one scam affecting all age groups across North America.

In 2021, nearly one third of all scams — 37.4 per cent across North America and 32.5 per cent across Canada — in 2021 were online purchase scams, and almost three out of four —74.9 per cent in North America and 73 per cent in Canada — of those targeted by online purchase scams reported losing money. 

For the first time since the BBB began publishing the risk report, investment scams were third riskiest for ages 18 to 24. 

This could possibly be related to the rise of interest in cryptocurrency overall. 


Ages 25 to 44 and ages 55 to 64

  • Online purchase scams
  • Cryptocurrency scams
  • Employment scams

In 2021 cryptocurrency was the number one top riskiest scam in Canada, the second riskiest in North America and the second riskiest across the 25 to 64 age group. 

In Canada, it had a high susceptibility rate at 69.6 per cent and the largest median dollar loss at $1,500 CAD — versus 66.2 per cent and $1,200 USD across North America. 

In speaking with victims, they shared that they fell for these scams because they seemed like an easy way to invest, promised extremely attractive returns and because the financial strain caused by the pandemic made them want to find other ways to make money.

Employment scams were second riskiest for ages 18 to 24 and third riskiest for ages 25 to 44 and 55 to 64, which may have to do with many experiencing job changes or looking for work throughout the pandemic. 

Employment scams were ranked seventh in the 2021 Canadian Risk Report, with a median loss of $200. 


Ages 45 to 54

  • Online purchase scams
  • Cryptocurrency scams
  • Home improvement scams

According to the 2021 BBB Canadian Risk Report, home-improvement scams had a high susceptibility rate at 63 per cent, with consumers losing a median average of $661. 

Home improvement scams can start with a knock on the door, a flyer or an ad. 

The contractor may offer a low price or a short timeframe. 

Once started, a rogue contractor may “find” issues in the project that significantly raise the price. 

If you object, they may threaten to walk away and leave a half-finished project. 

Or they may accept your upfront deposit and then never return to do the job. 

Ages 65+

  • • Online purchase scams
  • • Travel/vacation/timeshare scams
  • • Tech support scams

And in the 65+ age group, those trying to keep up with ever advancing technology and looking to enjoy their retirement, they are the most likely age group to be duped by travel/vacation/timeshare scams and tech support scams. 

Unfortunately, seniors often make good targets for scammers. 

Factors such as being alone, spending more time at home, having large savings and loss of mental sharpness make seniors vulnerable to scams. 

In 2021, seniors 65+ lost more money to scams than they did in 2020. 

It is important that at any age, consumers remain vigilant and do their due diligence when deciding on a purchase, big or small. 

For more information on the 2021 BBB Risk Report, visit:, and for tips on how to protect yourself from being scammed, visit BBB Scam Tips

— source: BBB