December 9, 2021 In Beware, scams

Beware of the 12 scams of Christmas, from crypto investments to counterfeits: OPP

“The spirit of the holidays is a time of giving for most, but, for scammers, it is a time of taking.”

Author of the article:

Megan Gillis

Ontario Provincial Police.
Ontario Provincial Police. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

That golden ring might be fake and the true love not so true.


We’re not quite a dozen days away but investigators at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and provincial police riffed off the classic carol to warn of the 12 scams of Christmas.

“The spirit of the holidays is a time of giving for most, but, for scammers, it is a time of taking,” Ontario Provincial Police said in a release Tuesday sharing common scams “so that you can recognize, reject, report and be merry.”

Up first is counterfeit merchandise with consumers advised to watch for big, flashy ads directing them to websites that look like legitimate manufacturers but actually may peddle inferior products posing health risks.

When selling goods and services online, be wary of offers that are more than asking and confirm payment before sending the product. Fraudsters may also post ads selling items that don’t exist with prices for almost anything — event tickets, vehicles, puppies — that are too good to be true. Research before buying and wherever possible exchange goods in person or use a credit card for payment.


Crypto investments fraudsters are using social media and websites to make claims would-be investors should research and verify using the National Registration Tool .

In romance scams, “an attractive fake identity lures you into their web of lies spun with loving messages and sweet promises,” with the warning that “the fraudsters play on your emotions to maximize their payday over time.”

Phishing emails and texts don’t stop over the holidays — ignore messages claiming to be from a financial institution, telecommunications company or shipping company) asking to confirm personal information and don’t click on malicious links.

Those Secret Santa social media posts offering multiple gifts in exchange for one may seem like fun but the exchanges collect personal information and hide pyramid schemes, which are illegal in Canada.


Also on the warning list: phoney prize notifications requiring personal information and “fees” to claim cash or a car, demands of gift cards for payment, which no legitimate business or organization will request, and emergency scams in which a loved one is supposedly in trouble.

“Resist the urge to act immediately and verify the person’s identity by asking those questions a stranger wouldn’t know,” police warned.

Finally, watch out for identity theft and fraud in “all the hustle and bustle of the season.” Keep wallets close, cover PINs and don’t share passwords or personal information.

Consumers should contact financial institutions and the credit bureaus, Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, as soon as they notice suspicious activity on  financial statements, unauthorized credit applications or activity on a credit report, re-routed mail or bills from service providers they don’t use.

Anyone who suspects they’ve been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

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