Canadians were scammed the most with online purchases last year, but individuals reported a resurgence of employment fraud, according to a new report.

A report released Monday by the Better Business Bureaus, Inc., found online purchase scams made up almost a third (31.9 per cent) of all scams reported to the BBB Scam Tracker in 2022, and 74 per cent of people said they lost money.

Employment scams rose to second riskiest last year, up 23.1 per cent from 2021.

The average amount of money Canadians lost to employment scams was $1,500, which is up 66.7 per cent from 2021, and significantly higher than the average of $171 for all scam types.

“Employment scams, which peaked at #1 on our list in 2019, are seeing a resurgence,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, said in the report.

“This is a high-touch scam in which perpetrators spend more time with their targets in the hope of stealing more money from each target.”

Cryptocurrency-related scams fell to third place, from second, amid a drop in reported cases, a lower percentage of Canadians losing money after being exposed to fraud and a smaller median dollar loss.

While home improvement fraud placed fourth as the most risky scams for Canadians, it had the same median dollar loss as employment scams ($1,500).


The report found employment scams are impacting younger Canadians the most.

It said employment fraud was most common for Canadians aged 18 to 34, while online purchase scams were reported the most by middle-aged individuals (aged 35 to 64).

Home improvement scams were the most risky type for older Canadians (aged 65 and up).

The report also found veterans, active-duty military and their spouses are more likely to lose money to a scam.

Military consumers lost an average of $238 more than non-military consumers last year ($163).

The Better Business Bureau said the most impersonated organizations were, Inc., Geek Squad Inc., Publishers Clearing House and the United States Postal Service.