Scammers seem to come out in full force during the holiday season, looking for new ways to take advantage of the increase in shopping happening during this time of year. Even though people of all ages might be at risk for Holiday scams, seniors are especially vulnerable because they aren’t aware of some of the common scamming techniques.

Phishing is one way that scammers will steal money and personal information. They pretend to be a different person or company and gain just enough trust until the victim sends money or hands over sensitive information (like credit card numbers, social security details and more).

The best thing you can do is be aware of these common scams while also warning your loved ones. This conversation is critical if you have any senior family members. Here is an overview of the most common scams that pop up during the holidays:

Charity Fraud

Everyone is in a giving mindset during the holiday season, which opens a door for scammers to take advantage of charitable giving. In a charity fraud scam, the scammer pretends to raise funds for a charitable organization. The victim is contacted online, over the phone, or even in person. Unfortunately, the kind donation made by the victim never goes towards a good cause – instead, the scammer walks away with the money.

Secret Shoppers

Even though there are legitimate opportunities for secret shopping, not all of these seasonal jobs are real. Trusted companies will hire shoppers to rate different metrics relating to their in-store experience, customer service, product quality and more. Then, the shopper is reimbursed and compensated for their time. But scammers can sneak in with fake secret shopping jobs. Typically, people fall victim by paying a registration or application fee, only to find out that the job is fake.

Other Holiday Scams

There are a few other scams to watch out for:

  • Gift card scams, such as offering a free gift card, entice you to click on a malicious link.
  • Another type of gift card scam asks the victims to buy gift cards with their own money, anticipating a reimbursement (that they never receive).
  • Fake check scams involve the victim receiving a check with the request to send back a portion of the payment, but the check bounces a few days later.

Protecting Your Loved Ones

At Senior Safe and Sound, we want you to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. If you have any questions about avoiding scams during the holidays (and throughout the year), then feel free to contact us any time at or call 858-480-7551.

This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.