OPP warns what scams surge during Holiday season

Web scam

The Killaloe Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding community members to be aware of scams that are surging especially during the holidays. Over the last few weeks, police say they have investigated several gift card scams, offers involving bank loans and credit line scams and emergency gift card scams.

The spirit of the holidays is a time of giving for most but, for scammers, it is a time of taking. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre highlights popular holiday scams so that you can recognize, reject, and report, frauds and scams. They are as follows:

Counterfeit Merchandise - Look out for huge and flashy discount ads that direct you to websites that look like the legitimate manufacturers. 

Selling Goods & Services Online - Be suspicious of payment offers that are more than the asking price and confirm that you have received a legitimate payment before you send the product.

Crypto Investments - Fraudsters are using social media and fraudulent websites. Prior to investing, ask for information on the investment. Research the team behind the offering and analyze the feasibility of the project. 

Romance Scams - An attractive fake identity lures you into their web of lies spun with loving messages and sweet promises. The fraudsters play on your emotions to maximize their payday over time.

Online Shopping - Fraudsters pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for items that do not exist. The listing price for almost any item (e.g., event ticket, rental, vehicle, and puppy) is usually too good to be true. Research before you buy. 

Phishing Emails and Texts - You may receive messages claiming to be from a recognizable source (e.g., financial institution, telecommunications company, service provider, shipping company) asking you to submit or confirm your information. They may even include a malicious link.

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 top profit.

Prize Notifications - You may receive a letter or a call with the good news; you've won millions and a fancy car too! First, you just need to confirm your personal information and then cover a few fees before your winnings can be delivered. Remember: If you didn't enter, you can't win. 

Emergency - Is a supposed loved one reaching out to you because they need money now and you're the only one they trust to keep it a secret? Resist the urge to act immediately and verify the person's identity by asking those questions a stranger wouldn't know. 

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; especially under pressure.

Identity Theft - In all the hustle and bustle of the season. Keep your wallet on your person and cover your PIN. Do not share passwords or provide your personal information on impulse.

The Fraud Centre notes that anyone who suspects they have 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.

With files by CFRA's Connor Ray