Fraudsters take advantage of people during the holiday season. Here are some ways to protect you and your family.
5 minute read

How do you stay safe from holiday scams? Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are a few fraud scenarios to keep an eye out for during the festive season. 


E-card scams

Watch out for scam emails disguised as holiday e-cards from friends. Look for the name of the sender before opening an e-card, and be wary if you are required to enter personal information to open the card. Don’t click links, and beware of attachments that end in .exe, which indicates they may contain a virus.

Phony charities 

This phishing attack is more likely to be convincing around the holidays, when people are in a generous mood. Scammers make urgent, emotional appeals for help, using a name that resembles that of a legitimate charity. They’ll request payment in ways that make it difficult to recover the funds, whether it be by wire transfer, pre-loaded credit card or electronic currency. Use a tax-exempt-organization search engine to help you verify the legitimacy of a charity, like the one on the Internal Revenue Service website Opens in a new window..

Gift cards

Checking gift card balances

There are fake websites that claim to tell you the balance on your old gift card, but they’re actually stealing the money on the card once they have your card ID number and PIN. If you need to check a gift-card balance, go to the site listed on the back of the card itself. Before purchasing a gift card, be sure to give it a thorough look to make sure the PIN isn’t exposed. If available, register the gift card with the retailer.

Gift cards from third parties

If you buy a gift card on a third-party website, you may end up with one that has no balance, is expired or was fraudulently obtained. Alternatively, the seller could sell you a gift card that has a balance on it, but then spend the balance before you have a chance to use it.

Delivery scams

Missed delivery

Another ruse? A “missed delivery” tag on your door claiming that the delivery company is having difficulty delivering a package to you. The notice will request that you call a number to reschedule your delivery and collect your personal information. Contact the shipper to verify the status of the delivery by using the number from their legitimate website instead of the one provided on the form.

Track delivery status

This scam involves an email or text message with a fake tracking link for a package delivery. Clicking the link will either take you to a form that will ask you for personal information, or a site that downloads malware onto your device. Make sure to keep track of what you’ve ordered so you have a better idea of what is coming and when.

Other holiday scams

Pet scams

You might encounter a scammer who claims that they have a pet for sale and requires you to wire the money before receiving the pet. Make sure to see the animal in person before sending the money. Research the average cost for that kind of pet; if someone is offering an extremely reduced price, it could be fraud.

Hacking passwords

Keep your information protected by utilizing different passwords for all financial institutions where you have an account. When fraudsters obtain a user-name and password, they will attempt to use that information to gain access to additional bank accounts. You can help keep your sensitive information more secure by changing your password across different financial institutions. Never write your passwords down, and don’t share your passwords with anyone. And remember: CIBC will never ask you for your password information. Learn more from the FBI about protecting yourself and your passwords (PDF, 925 KB) Opens in a new window..

CIBC digital fraud controls

“At CIBC, we’re committed to keeping your account secure and protecting you against fraud. We have the tools and resources in place to help safeguard your finances so that you can bank with confidence,” said David Griffin, Chief Information Security Officer, Services Risk & Governance. “This holiday season, let us work on keeping your money safe so that you can focus on spending time with your family.”

Here are some of the ways CIBC protects your finances:

  • 24/7 fraud monitoring 
    We track out-of-state and international transactions, suspicious activity, changes in contact information and more.
  • Account alerts
    Choose from a variety of account alerts that can be sent right to your phone so you'll always be in the know. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date, or set up alerts via CIBC NetBanking Opens in a new window.®.
  • Trusteer Rapport 
    Trusteer Rapport is an online banking security software offered free to CIBC clients. It helps to safeguard your online banking identity, and stop malicious attempts against you. Download Trusteer Report.

For more information on how we're working to protect you, visit our Fraud Prevention page.