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Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre warning public of multiple notorious holiday scams

(File photo)
(File photo)

The Christmas season is a time of giving. But for scammers and fraudsters, it’s a time for taking.


During the holidays, fraudsters become more notorious and shifty when trying to get your money. 


“The scammers are becoming more and more advanced with technology and it’s almost impossible as well to capture them because they do use fake IDs and fake websites,” said Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Team Supervisor Sue Labine.


The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning Canadians about the most pesky scams that float around during the holidays. There are 12 unique scams the anti-fraud centre wants you to watch out for:


  • Counterfeit merchandise: where websites are created to look like legitimate manufacturers and offer products at a cheap rate.
  • Selling goods and services: when buying and selling online, both buyers and sellers need to be aware that not all offers are trustworthy. Buyers will try to not pay you or are trying to access your personal information. 
  • Fake charities: where fraudsters will use the names of legitimate charities to collect money from those donating.
  • Crypto investment scams: where scammers are using social media and fraudulent websites to lure Canadians into crypto investments.
  • Online Shopping scams: where scammers pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for items that do not exist. The listing price for almost any item is usually too good to be true.
  • Romance scams: scammers try to play on your emotions and will try entering a relationship with you for the purpose of taking your money or personal information. They will say anything in order to gain your trust.
  • Identify theft and fraud: in all the hustle and bustle of the season, keep your wallet on your person and cover your PIN. While at the same time, don’t share passwords or provide your personal information on impulse.
  • Phishing emails and texts: you may receive messages claiming to be from a recognizable source asking you to submit or confirm your information. They may even include a malicious link.
  • Secret Santa scams: where you may have noticed multiple gift exchange posts on social media. This may seem like a fun activity where you only have to send one gift and receive multiples in return. This scam collects personal information and also hides a pyramid scheme where only those on the top profit.
  • Prize notifications: where you may receive a letter or a call with the good news that you have won something but need to pay a fee first. These methods try and steal your money or personal information.
  • Gift card scams: 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.
  • Emergency scams: where a supposed loved one is reaching out to you because they need money. You can verify the person's identity by asking them questions a stranger wouldn't know.

“Make sure sure you do your due diligence,” said Labine. “If it’s too good to be true, it’s definitely a red flag.”


Canadians have lost $163 million to various scams this year as compared to $106 million in 2020. In North Bay, reports of fraud is up 9 per cent this year as compared to last year. Police say romance scams are currently making the rounds.


“People who find themselves alone especially at this time of year can be become susceptible to these fraudsters that are professionals,” said North Bay Police Det. Const. Zach Dagg.


Anyone who feels they’ve fallen victim to a scam should notify their local police agency and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Top Stories


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