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Fraud Warning as Scammers Target Over 65s This Holiday Season

  • In a survey of scam victims, Feedzai has found that purchase scams are the most popular scam type for over 65s in North America with 67% falling victim
  • Email is the top route for fraudsters to target unwitting consumers (27%), closely followed by Facebook and other social media (24%) and phone calls (18%)
  • Over a quarter of respondents (26%) have lost between $501 - $10,000 as a result of a scam
  • Taboo still remains, with victims feeling angry, ashamed, lonely, and afraid after falling for a scam

Shoppers are being warned to remain vigilant when shopping this holiday season as over two-thirds of scam victims over 65 in North America have fallen victim to a purchase scam, research from Feedzai, the financial crime and risk management solution, has found.

Purchase scams, where a person buys something they deem legitimate but doesn’t exist, are a popular tactic fraudsters use to trick unsuspecting shoppers. With the holiday season in full swing, bargain hunters must be cautious to ensure that they are buying from legitimate websites for themselves or loved ones.

Email is the top route for fraudsters to target victims, with a quarter (27%) stating their scammer reached out to them via email. The research revealed that men are more likely to fall for an email scam, with 32% of men falling for an email scam, compared to 22% of women.

Social media has also become a hotbed for fraud in recent years. A quarter (25%) of respondents have fallen for a scam on Facebook and other social media channels. Women are slightly more likely to have fallen for a social media scam, rising slightly to 29% for women and 21% for men. With fake adverts and accounts flooding social media platforms, shoppers must be wary of deals that seem too good to be true on the platform and head to a legitimate website instead.

Scams can be emotionally devastating for victims, and taboo remains high, especially for older people. After falling for a scam, 83% felt angry, 39% ashamed, 11% afraid, and 7% felt lonely. Even more stark, the research revealed that 44% didn’t get any help or guidance after being scammed.

Dan Holmes, Fraud SME at Feedzai said, “Fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in their approaches to scam consumers. With holiday season shopping in full swing, shoppers must be vigilant and careful when shopping for deals. Only shopping at legitimate websites, and checking deals that are publicized on social media and over email are from a trusted source, is the first golden rule. Don’t let a fraudster ruin your holiday season.”

Feedzai’s top five tips on how to spot a scam

#1 It seems too good to be true

Scammers often lure shoppers with offers that seem too good to be true, such as extremely low prices on high-demand items. If a deal looks like it's significantly better than what's offered elsewhere, it could be a red flag. Always verify the legitimacy of the offer by checking the retailer's official site or customer reviews.

# 2 Unusual payment methods

Scammers often ask for payment through unconventional methods, such as wire transfers or gift cards. These payment methods are difficult to trace and offer little to no protection for the buyer. Stick to secure payment options like credit cards or well-known payment processors that offer buyer protection.

# 3 Suspicious profile on social media

If you’re shopping on social media, make sure to do your due diligence on the person. Does the person selling to you have a full profile with photos and friends? If not, it could be a red flag. It’s also good to check the location of the seller, and if they’re not based in close proximity, it could be a sign you’re dealing with a fraudster.

# 4 Check the true sender

Scammers will often create fake emails or texts to impersonate different brands that claim to offer exclusive deals. Be cautious of messages that ask for personal information or prompt you to click on a link to get to the deal. These could be phishing attempts designed to steal your information. Always check the full email address or phone number, as it may reveal a different sender than you’d expect.

# 5 Pressure from the seller

Fraudsters will often pile on the pressure for you to make a purchase. They may tell you that the product is running out or the deal is only running for a limited time only. Take your time and think before making a purchase.

About Feedzai: Feedzai is the world’s first RiskOps platform, protecting people and payments with a comprehensive suite of AI-based solutions designed to stop fraud and financial crime. Feedzai is trusted by leading financial institutions to manage critical risk and compliance processes, safeguarding trillions of dollars of transactions while improving the customer experience and protecting the privacy of everyday users. For more information, visit


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