FBI Cleveland
Public Affairs Officer Susan Licate
December 18, 2023

FBI Cleveland Warns of Holiday Scams During the Shopping Season

The FBI Cleveland Field Office is warning the public of common holiday scams during the 2023 shopping season.

With the holidays upon us and seasonal shopping in full gear, criminals are set to look for opportunities to take advantage of consumers. The FBI is encouraging shoppers to be vigilant for scams that are designed to steal their money and personal information.

The two most prevalent holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes. Through October 15, 2023, IC3 has received over 40,000 complaints related to non-payment/non-delivery crimes, with losses of approximately $250 million. In the 2022 annual report these numbers were 51,679 complaints with losses of $281 million.

The FBIs definition for this crime-type as per last years annual ic3 report is: Non-Payment/Non-Delivery: Goods or services are shipped, and payment is never rendered (nonpayment). Payment is sent, and goods or services are never received, or are of lesser quality (non-delivery).

“Criminals have adapted to the way we shop and continue to capitalize on our trust,” said Gregory Nelsen, FBI Cleveland special agent in charge. “They are becoming more creative and offering payment forms such as cash, wire transfer, gift cards, and cryptocurrency. Sadly, this makes buying—and scamming, easy.

Some of the common holiday scams the FBI warns of are:

  1. Online shopping scams – Scammers offer deals through phishing emails or advertisements.
  2. Social media scams – Scammers use social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards. These scams often lead consumers to complete online surveys designed to steal personal information.
  3. Smartphone app scams – Scammers design mobile apps disguised as free games that steal personal information.
  4. Work-from-home scams – Scammers use websites and social media posts that offer working from home. Convenience is the attention grabber, but there may be fraudulent intentions.
  5. Gift card scams – Victims receive a spoofed email, call, or text asking them to purchase multiple gift cards for person or business reasons.
  6. Charity scams – Criminals set up false charities and profit from individuals who believe they are donating to legitimate organizations.

If you believe you are victim of a scam, contact your financial institution immediately. You should also contact your local law enforcement agency. Finally, victims should file a complaint with IC3 by visiting www.IC3.gov.

For more information on holiday scams, visit www.fbi.gov/holidayscams.