‘Tis the Season for Holiday Scams

Monday, December 6, 2021 - 07:45
Thunder Bay
Date Published: 2021-12-06

The holidays can be a joyous time, but it’s important to remember that not everyone is bringing good tidings to you and your kin.

This time of year often comes with a spike in reports relating to certain kinds of frauds and scams. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of these scams so you can spot them before you become a victim. It’s also important to speak with your friends and family who may be more susceptible to scams.

Some popular holiday scams include:

Fake charities Fraudsters will use the names of legitimate charities to collect money from well-intentioned consumers. Confirm the charity is registered with Canada Revenue Agency before providing any personal or financial information.

Online shopping: Fraudsters pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for items that do not exist. The listing price for almost any item (event tickets, vehicles, puppies) is usually too good to be true. Research before you buy. Whenever possible, exchange goods in person or use your credit card for payment.

Gift cards:Gift cards are a popular and convenient way to give a gift. They should also be considered like cash; once they are exchanged, it is unlikely that you are getting your money back. Gift cards are not meant for payments and no legitimate business or organization will request these.

Counterfeit Merchandise: Counterfeiters may create legitimate looking websites and offer products that appear to be a huge discount. Only when the buyer receives the merchandise will they learn that what they’ve purchased isn’t what they expected. Protect yourself by thoroughly researching the website and business before making a purchase. Search for reviews, away from the seller’s website, about the seller and business.

Secret Santa: You may have noticed multiple gift exchange posts on your social media feeds. This may seem like a fun activity where you only have to send one gift and receive multiples in return. Unfortunately, this exchange collects some of your personal information and also hides a pyramid scheme where only those on the top profit. Pyramid schemes are illegal in Canada.

Phishing emails and texts: You may receive messages claiming to be from a recognizable source (like a bank or recognized service provider) asking you to submit or confirm your information. They may even include a malicious link. DO NOT click any links in unsolicited emails. Instead, independently find the organization’s official website. You also have the right to hang up the phone on any unsolicited caller. To verify the caller represents the organization they claim to, independently contact that organization on your own terms.

This is just a sample of some of the many scams and frauds reported during the holiday season. To learn more about the scams mentioned above, or to learn about other scams, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/features-vedette/2021/11/holiday-fetes-eng.htm


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