Credit card in a trap
Source: unomat | Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving global e-commerce growth because of all the convenience that online shopping has to offer, but it has also given rise to online fraud. A recent TransUnion research found a 435 per cent rise in suspected 2020 holiday weekend e-commerce fraud coming from Canada compared to 2019 which mirrors the results of a recent TransUnion survey where 50 per cent of consumers expressed concern about being victimized by holiday fraud.

Nearly 85 per cent of Canadians, according to a BDC study, buy online and 8 out of 10 Canadians who made their first online purchase during the pandemic intend to continue shopping online after the crisis. However, keep in mind, online shopping can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.

The CCCS has outlined a few red flags shoppers should look out for when buying gifts online this holiday season.

Watch out for the following warning signs when deciding whether a website is trustworthy or not:

  • A poorly designed and unprofessional-looking website
  • Broken or disabled links or back button 
  • Absence of contact information
  • Unclear or unstated privacy/return policies
  • Unbelievable deals
  • Abnormal shipping or custom duty charges
  • Requests for your credit card details popping up onto the screen even when you are not making a purchase

Here’s what to do when you’re scammed online:

  • Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at
  • Contact your debit/credit card company
  • Report the incident to the security function management or tech support team at your organization
  • Reset your account credentials for any related accounts