The Top Holiday Scams in Canada for 2023 and How to Avoid Them


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The holidays are once again just around the corner and although it’s the favourite time of year for many Canadians, it’s also a favourite time for the many scammers and fraudsters who like to take advantage of this giving season. According to the most recent data released by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians suffered losses exceeding $283 million from different scams in the initial half of 2023. Out of this total, approximately $243 million was attributed to five specific categories of fraud: investment scams, spear phishing, romance scams, service scams, and emergency scams.

In our latest blog post, we’re going to look at the Canadian Fraud Centres top holiday frauds and scams and how you can avoid being their next victim:

Counterfeit Products

Beware of counterfeiters setting up deceptive websites resembling legitimate brands and manufacturers, offering products at steep discounts, especially on social media apps like Facebook or Instagram. Be cautious of flashy discount ads redirecting you to these deceptive sites as not only could you lose your money, but purchasing inferior or counterfeit goods can pose serious health risks. To safeguard yourself:

  • Conduct thorough research on websites before making purchases.
  • Do a Google search for online warnings about the seller/website.
  • Be vigilant for red flags on the website indicating potential fraud.

Online Buying and Selling

Both buyers and sellers in online transactions should exercise caution as not all offers are genuine. Red flags should definitely go up with buyers offering to pay over the asking price. When selling goods or services online, always ensure you receive payment in full before shipping the product. For vehicle sales, use reputable websites and consider obtaining a vehicle history report if necessary.

Charity Scams

The holidays are always a time of charitable giving, so it’s important to ensure donations reach legitimate organizations. Beware of deceptive solicitations for donations to fake charities, associations, or religious causes. Avoid high-pressure donation requests, seek written information about the charity, and conduct personal research. Always ask for the charitable tax number and verify registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-267-2384.

Cryptocurrency Investment Scams

Fraudsters exploit social media and fraudulent websites to entice Canadians into fraudulent crypto investments. Before investing, request detailed information about the investment and scrutinize the team behind it. Verify company registration using the National Registration Tool.

Romance Scams

Online dating scams are on the rise year over year and with many people feeling the effects on loneliness over the holidays, it’s a prime time for scammers to take advantage of this. Be wary of individuals entering relationships solely to exploit you for money or personal information. Fraudsters create fake personas, manipulating emotions with affectionate messages to elicit financial support. Always remember to never send money to someone you’ve never met in person.

Cellphone and Internet Provider Scams

Avoid falling for incoming calls purportedly from service providers when purchasing new cellphones. Always use the official phone number for your provider and initiate outgoing calls.

Phishing Emails and Texts

Like any time of year, stay cautious of messages claiming to be from reputable sources requesting personal information or containing suspicious links. With the advent of AI, these scams are becoming more effective and more pervasive.

Protective Measures

Exercise caution with Secret Santa schemes, prize notifications, emergency requests for money, gift cards, and identity theft risks during the bustling season. Safeguard your wallet and personal information; verify unusual financial activities immediately.

If you fall victim to fraudulent activities, take immediate action by contacting your financial institutions and credit bureaus, reporting suspicious transactions, and addressing potential identity theft issues promptly.  Protecting yourself from scams and identity theft requires ongoing vigilance and attention to detail. By following these tips and staying aware of the latest threats, you can reduce your risk and keep your personal information safe.  If you’ve been a victim of fraud, we can help. We employ an entire division of fraud investigators whose sole mission is to detect, deter, and defeat fraud. Contact us today for your Free Consultation.

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