Ho, Ho, Holiday Fraud

We’re not doing heaps of holiday spending, nor have we been traveling during November and December. And yet, we’ve been the target of not one, but two holiday fraud attempts. The need for holiday fraud awareness is certainly not restricted to those over 65. However, the grey hair of wisdom hasn’t made us any less vulnerable.

Monday morning we got a notice from Visa that an unusual purchase had been tagged causing my husband’s credit card to be locked until we confirmed or disputed the charge. $500 worth of holiday cheer at the Disney Store. Subsequent charges were made at the Lego Store. Ho, Ho, Ho. Holiday fraud!

Today at 10 am, Mike got a call from “our grandson” who was supposed to be on his way from Tokyo to Florida for vacation. I’ll bet you know already where this is headed.

“He’s in a police station. A car accident. Broken nose and four stitches on the inside of his mouth.” Two minutes later we get a call from the “public defender” who will help him. Sure, of course. Ho, ho, holiday fraud.

The Stats

The ACI Worldwide 2017 survey data, based on hundreds of millions of eCommerce retail transactions from global merchants, tells us fraud attempts in the period from Thanksgiving Day to December 31, 2017, increased by 22 percent. However, the number of overall transactions only increased by 19 percent. Holiday fraud outpaced holiday transactions. Ho, ho, ho.  

What’s more, fraud isn’t seasonal. And financial abuse isn’t always perpetrated by strangers. In a given year, 1 in 18 “cognitively intact” older adults is victim to financial scams, fraud or abuse. These results were based on an analysis of 12 studies involving roughly 41,700 individuals, reported in the American Journal of Public Health.

Learn How to Defend Yourself

AARP offers many tips on recognizing holiday fraud. So grab your hot chocolate and read for a few minutes. It’s a worthwhile break. I was surprised at how much I didn’t know. If you’re in too much of a hurry to get back to the mall or board a plane to see the grands, at least try this quiz to find out Can you Spot a Holiday Scam?