Here are the top holiday scams in Canada you should be on the lookout for this season

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The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said over $400 million has been lost due to fraud this year.

As the holiday season approaches, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is warning of common scams that could dampen both people’s spirits and their wallets.

According to the agency, nearly $421 million has been lost to fraud this year, already surpassing last year’s total of $383.6 million.

Last year also saw a steep increase in the amount of money lost to fraud. The agency reported an increase of 130 per cent in the amount lost to fraud compared to 2020, a jump so high the RCMP called it “historic.”

Here are the scams the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says you should be on the lookout for:

Counterfeit merchandise

The agency is warning of online advertisements that appear to include “huge and flashy” discounts that lead to sites posing as legitimate businesses that are selling counterfeit products. They are also cautioning consumers of the potential health risks counterfeit merchandise may have.

Selling goods and services online

Sellers are being warned by the agency to always accept payment first before giving products away and to be wary of people who offer to pay more than the initial price.

Fake charities

Those who donate to charities during the holidays are being warned of fraudsters who use the names of real charities to scam people. The agency is asking people to first check that the charity they plan on donating to is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency before handing over money or personal information.

Crypto investment scams

The CAFC is warning of crypto scams promoted on social media. They are asking potential investors to first do their research into investments, companies and those behind them before investing. They are also asking everyone to first verify if the crypto company they are interest in is registered by using the national registration tool with the Canadian Securities Administrators.

Romance scams

The CAFC is asking people to ensure the identity of people they are looking to date. The agency is warning people not to give their personal information or money to those asking to pursue a relationship.

Online shopping

Consumers are being warned about deals that are “too good to be true.” The CAFC said fraudsters pose as legitimate sellers offering products that they don’t have. The agency is asking buyers to do their research before spending money and to make purchases in person or use a credit card if possible.

Phishing emails and texts

The CAFC is warning about emails that appear to be from trustworthy sources, such as a bank or shipping company, that ask for a link to be clicked on to provide or confirm personal information.

Secret Santa

Those looking to participate in online gift exchanges based on social media posts are being asked by the CAFC to reconsider. The agency said these exchanges are often pyramid schemes, where only a few at the top benefit. The CAFC also said that the scheme could result in people giving away their personal information.

Prize notifications

If you receive a call saying that you’ve won a prize but have to pay a fee, it’s usually a scam according to the CAFC. The agency is warning that people can lose their money and privacy by giving away personal information.


The CAFC is warning people not to immediately give financial resources if someone calls and alleges they are in an emergency and need money. The agency instead is asking people to first verify the identity of the caller and ask unique questions that cannot be answered by strangers.

Gift cards

Consumers are being asked never to use gift cards as payments. The CAFC is warning that gift cards, like cash, once given to someone is hard to recover.

Identity theft and fraud

Finally, the CAFC is asking consumers to always have their wallets on them and to cover their PIN when using it. The agency is also warning against sharing passwords or providing personal information on a whim.

This article was originally sourced from