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Look Out For These 3 Holiday Fraud Threats

Holiday shopping season is upon us, which means more spending and more fraud. It's no coincidence that the busiest season for shopping coincides with the highest period for fraud. Every day, fraudsters target consumers with an array of legitimate seeming propositions. But during the holidays fraudsters make extra efforts to trick and defraud consumers. 

Here are the top three fraud threats coming this holiday season...


Fake Retail Sites

Are you seeing a deal that's too good to be true? That might be because it is. Fake retail sites are websites set up to look like real merchants (including well-known brands), but actually leads to a fraudster-held account. Fake retail sites have become especially popular in the age of social media, where posts and accounts look legitimate but are not. 

What to watch out for:

Domain name and/or website copy contains misspellings, IP address is non-U.S., website doesn't have a HTTPS (secured) URL, or generally looks off. 

Mystery Shopping

Everyone is looking to pick up a little extra cash this time of year. Mystery shopping scams (or secret shopping scams) take advantage of that desire, by luring victims into job opportunities where they 'test' products and services but are first required to pay the employer for a fee or license. In reality, the job doesn't actually exist. 

What to watch out for:

Shopping or dining-related job opportunities that require you to pay the employer first, wiring money to your employer or depositing a check into your bank account on their behalf. 

Charity Scams

Scammers are always finding new lows. Charity scams take advantage of our generosity. Fraudsters pose as a legitimate charitable organization and steal donations before they're discovered. 

What to watch out for:

High pressure pitches through phone, email, or in-person; to donate, go to accredited charities.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!  

Believe you've become a victim of identity theft?

Notify your financial institution(s) and go to: or call 877.438.4338 or TDD 202.326.2502 to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).


Sources and enhanced by Credit Union of Denver 

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