The 12 Days of Holiday Fraud – Day 4: Fake Holiday Marketplaces

The winter holidays are upon us and scams that leverage the holiday season to target you are in full effect right now. 

Today, we present Day 4 of The 12 Days of Holiday Fraud – our version of the holiday classic The 12 Days of ChristmasWe’re warning about the top 12 scams we see leading up to the holidays and how to avoid falling victim to fraudsters. 

“On the fourth day of the holidays, my scammer targeted me with  . . . 

DAY 4: Fake Holiday Marketplaces 

This scam is an example of how fraudsters are using the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. 

Many communities host an annual holiday market, which people can attend to buy various gifts and products. However, due to COVID-19, most of these events have been cancelled in 2020. 

Fraudsters see these cancellations and then get news out that due to COVID-19, this year’s event will be a virtual marketplace. They invite you to attend by paying an entrance fee of $10 or $20 that goes to supporting the community or a local charity. 

If you pay the entrance fee, which might be a small amount, the fraudsters then may solicit for add-ons such as raffle tickets or donations, which is where they can start to really rack up the bucks. 

Holiday Tips 

  • If you’re notified about a virtual holiday marketplace you normally attend in person, contact the organization that typically plans the event to see if they’re hosting it virtually. 
  • If the organization confirms they are having a virtual event, find out if they’re charging an entrance fee and for what amount. Ask how people are being notified and if by email, from what email address. If something seems off when receiving these types of emails, call the organization at the number you know it to be. 

Stay tuned for 12 Days of Holiday Fraud – Day 5. 

Check out Day 1: Secret Sister Gift Exchange. 

Check out Day 2: Requests for Charitable Gifts. 

Check out Day 3Secret Santa Shopper. 


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