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Criminals Are Preparing for the Holidays Like the Rest of Us

2023 Holiday Shopping Scams and Fraud Survey

A new AARP Fraud Watch NetworkTM survey highlights the ways criminals may target U.S. consumers and underscores the importance of knowing how to spot a scam during the holiday season.

spinner image Pile of holiday gifts

A majority of consumers have experienced or been targeted by at least one form of fraud that can be tied to the holidays, including end-of-year charitable donation requests, purchasing an item through an online ad, and receiving fake notifications about shipping issues.

Key Findings

  • The percentage of respondents who have experienced at least one form of fraud is consistent by age and increased nearly 10 points compared to last year among adults 65 and over (69% in 2022 vs. 78% in 2023).
  • The percentage of consumers saying they received a false notification about a package shipment issue has nearly doubled since 2022 (29% in 2022 vs. 52% in 2023).
  • One-third (38%) of shoppers experienced fraud when purchasing through an online ad this year, up slightly from 2022 (35%).
  • Plans to shop with a credit card this holiday season decreased significantly from 72% in 2022 to 64% this year (increasing susceptibility to fraud).

Methodology

AARP engaged Alan Newman Research, Inc. (ANR) to conduct this study. The information was gathered from interviews of adults conducted October 6–25 via landline phone, cell phone, and online. All respondents were U.S. residents age 18 and older who use the internet at least occasionally and do holiday shopping.

The total sample of 1,880 includes 1,011 respondents in the base national sample as well as 404 African American/Black (AA/B) adults; 404 Hispanic/Latino (H/L) adults; and 410 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) adults.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Sauer at jsauer@aarp.org. For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at media@aarp.org.