Common Scams that Target Your Money and How to Protect Yourself | Scotiabank Canada (2024)

Holiday Scams

'Tis the season to be cautious! During holiday seasons, many of us turn to the internet to shop, travel, and plan festive activities while hackers use these occasions to target our money and personal information.

Here are some common holiday scams you should watch out for:

  • Gift card – These scams may include a fake agency/service requesting payment via gift cards or someone pretending to be your family member or friend in distress and in need of funds.
  • Shipping notification - Fraudsters send notices regarding delivery failure or additional fees, tricking you into providing sensitive information or clicking a malicious link that could infect your device.
  • Overdue invoice – You may receive fake invoices related to gifts, services or travel reservations demanding immediate payment to avoid penalties or cancellations.
  • Fake charities - Scammers will pose as charitable organizations during the holiday season to solicit donations that will never reach the intended cause.
  • Free WiFi - Cybercriminals set up unsecured public Wi-Fi networks in popular tourist spots or shopping centres to intercept your data, potentially leading to identity theft or financial loss.
  • Fake websites / retailers / apps - Scammers create convincing yet fake websites, online stores and apps, offering limited holiday deals that are often too good to be true.

When you receive an urgent request or an amazing deal on an item you couldn’t find anywhere else, don’t rush to respond, or make a purchase.

Look for the following warning signs during the holiday season:

  • Requests for payment via gift card.
  • Urgent calls from family or friends in trouble
  • Urgent delivery and invoice notifications with suspicious links or attachments.
  • Irregular company colours, logos, or formatting
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Requests from charities pressuring you to provide payment on the spot.
  • Charities that accept donation via gift card or wire transfer.
  • A free Wifi network name that is almost identical to another one.
  • Public Wifi network requiring you to install software to connect.
  • Public Wifi networks that do not ask you to opt-in / sign-on to use their connection.
  • Limited time / too good to be true deals.
  • Website with the URL “http” instead of “https” (the “s” means the connection is secured) and those that do not display a tiny padlock icon in the address bar.
  • Website/apps that:
    • Are missing company information like location, contact, privacy, or return/exchange information.
    • Have aggressive pop-ups
    • Ask for your credit card information anytime other than when you’re making a purchase
    • Have few and/or negative reviews and minimal downloads.

Here are some essential tips to protect yourself from falling for scams during the holiday season:

Be Skeptical
Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls, especially if they request personal or financial information. Verify the sender's identity and double-check the information provided.

Verify Authenticity

  • Before making any online or gift card purchases, ensure that the website, app and charity is secure and legitimate.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, social posts, and pop-up windows; instead, search for the company in a trusted search engine / app store.
  • Look for website that display a tiny padlock icon in the address bar and have “https” in the URL (the “s” means the connection is secured).

Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Transactions
Never conduct financial transactions or look at sensitive information over public Wi-Fi networks, especially those without passwords. Cybercriminals can intercept your data over these unsecured networks.

Check your privacy settings
Review and adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Be cautious about sharing personal information, travel plans, or holiday activities publicly, as scammers often use this information for targeted attacks.

Verify Requests for Money
If a friend or family member asks for money, especially through unconventional methods like gift cards or wire transfers, verify their request through a separate communication channel before taking any action.

Educate Yourself
Stay informed about common holiday scams and tactics used by scammers. Awareness of the latest scams can help you recognize suspicious behavior and avoid falling victim.

Trust Your Instincts
If an offer seems too good to be true or if something feels off, trust your instincts, and proceed with caution. Scammers often rely on your excitement and urgency to compromise your judgment.

  • If you’re a Scotiabank customer and believe you’ve been impacted by online fraud, call us immediately at1-866-625-0561.
  • Report all shopping scams to your local police department.
  • Report suspicious apps on the app store you’re using.

Call your local anti-fraud centre to report it. For Canadian citizens, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at1-888-495-8501or visit theCAFC reporting pagefor more information.

Common Scams that Target Your Money and How to Protect Yourself | Scotiabank Canada (1)

Recognize it

Look out for urgent requests for gift cards, wire transfers or personal information during the holidays and never rush to make a purchase on too good to be deal.

Common Scams that Target Your Money and How to Protect Yourself | Scotiabank Canada (2)

Reject it

Verify authenticity of websites, online retailers, and apps, as well as requests for charitable donations and urgent funds for family and friends in need. Never rush to click a link, open an attachment, or send money.

Common Scams that Target Your Money and How to Protect Yourself | Scotiabank Canada (3)

Report it

Call us immediately at 1-866-625-0561 and report it to your local government agency and/or service provider.

Common Scams that Target Your Money and How to Protect Yourself | Scotiabank Canada (2024)
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